Is your organisation ready for Generation Z (Gen Z)? While Millennials have been the hot topic over the past few years, there’s a new group entering the workforce, and like every new generation of people, they have their own characteristics, expectations and outlooks.
Researchers classify Gen Z as young adults born between mid ‘90s and early 2000s, and it is expected that by 2021 they will amount to a fifth of the total workforce. Although at the moment the majority of them might still be teenagers, they are already influencing the way many businesses are functioning. Research shows that Gen Z’s wishes and goals are surprisingly different from those of their millennial predecessors, therefore it’s important to prepare for the next wave of workers in order to avoid any surprises during the hiring process. To start with, we identified 5 expectations Gen Z have when it comes to the workplace:
Gen Z is the first generation to grow up completely immersed in technology. According to David Stillman, a Gen Z expert, 90.5% of Gen Z said that a company’s technological sophistication would impact their decision to work there. Technological abilities are second nature to Gen Z, and if you want to attract a motivated candidate, you will need to focus more on what kind of technology is used in your workplace and continuously update it.
This might be a bit surprising, but even though Generation Z have not known a world without smartphones and social media, they prefer a more personal, face-to-face interaction over digital communication. Invite them to a meeting instead of messaging or emailing them, be honest and encourage a transparent work environment. Gen Z want to be involved, feel like they’re part of something important and that they’re making a difference. If they don’t feel that their work is valuable and it makes an impact in the organisation, they are likely to leave for a different company.
Gen Z tend to be less money-driven than millennials, and although a competitive salary is still valued, they would rather choose a company that offers them opportunities for advancements. Make sure to learn about their goals and show them how they can achieve those through working at your company. Gen Z are generally known to have an entrepreneurial mindset, they are very driven and place a big emphasis on their personal growth. It’s important for them to work in an environment where they are constantly learning and developing new skills.
Unlike millennials who prefer a collaborative workplace, Generation Z are much more independent and competitive. They prefer to be given individual tasks and work best when they problem-solve on their own. Technology has contributed for the most part in it, since it encouraged independent thinking and the need to take ownership. From a management perspective, you will need to take a step back, trust them to accomplish a task without constant supervision, but most importantly reinvent your team workflows.
Entering and navigating the workplace without some guidance can be challenging. Although Gen Z are more independent and self-reliant, they still desire feedback and open conversations. And contrary to popular belief, the new generation is not overly sensitive to criticism, as long as it’s constructive. They can be very efficient and result-oriented as long as they know what exactly is expected of them and how they are performing. You will need to give them freedom to make mistakes and learn on their own, but at the same time be sufficiently involved and offer the necessary guidance when they struggle.