Gen Z is starting to appear on the workplace scene, so how will the workplace change? Unlike the other recruitment blogs, this will be about working with Gen Z prior to their debut into the working world. How? Through career building and open dialogue. As always, let’s start with the background on the newest generation to enter the workforce.
Gen Z Background
- Also known as Post-Millennials and the iGeneration, the time frame among Gen Z is disputed among historians. However, Gen Z is widely accepted as those born in the late 90s to 2010.
- Post-Millennials are characterized by technology more than Millennials because it has been a part of their learning, social interaction and worldviews throughout their lives.
- Events that have affected American Gen Z members include the 2007-2009 recession and 9/11.
Now that we have got that out of the way, let’s start working with Gen Z! Some have just started their first job or are currently working on internships, so now is a great time to build their skills based on their characteristics to prepare them for the best opportunities the workforce has to offer.
Gen Z: A Duplicate of Millennials?
No two generations are the same. Gen Z shares many aspects of Gen Y’s behaviors. However, there are key differences in these generations that everyone needs to remember. Below are 9 considerations when approaching Gen Z:
- Personal Communication – Talking face-to-face is passe, right? Maybe for some, but not for Gen Z. Gen Z did grow up in an era of rapid tech advance, but many still desire the experience of having in-person discussions. Whether on or offline, building connections with others are important to Gen-Zers. How do you make this happen? By having a meeting! Allowing Post-Millennials the ability to have a space where they can actively express their ideas will help foster creativity and may lead to bigger projects for your company down the line. Growing up in an age of technology, Gen Z has always had a place to express themselves, and they feel that the workplace should be no different. They know every idea or plan won’t be implemented but value being heard by their peers and management.
- Reality TV – Gone are the days of faking reality. Gen Z grew up in a time where information was at their fingertips.But as we all know, the Internet is filled with fake news.
- Self-Managing – Despite what you will hear about Gen Z-ers attention span, they like to take ownership and responsibility for the tasks they are assigned. Gen Z-ers take pride in their ability to work on assigned projects or that have the ability to head, regardless of the size of the project. These newcomers know that nothing comes without hard work and dedication.
- Dear Anonymous – It’s true that Gen Z spends more time online and social media platforms compared to other generations. However, they have learned a thing or two from their generational predecessors when it comes to privacy. The repercussions they saw their Millennial relatives face for oversharing on social media made them change their strategy. Gen-Zers have moved away from social platforms like Facebook in lieu of platforms that tout anonymity, like Snapchat (although the popularity of these apps are up for debate).
- Targeted Content – They are decisive about the content they post on social media, and for good reason. This means getting the right content out at the right time. Many know their audience and what’s trending or relevant.
- Invest in the Future – This generation is willing to put in the time and effort to learn and appreciate hands-on learning with experienced professionals in their field of interest. Many have the same entrepreneurial ambitions as Gen Y, but know they need to build their skills in order to succeed. This means providing Gen Z the foundation to thrive and allotting time to teach them. Allowing them some independence and not holding their hand them through the process can make all the difference. Not only does it help them, but it will help your company progress and have top-talent in the future.
- Mo’ Money, Less Problems? – Similar to Millennials, Post-Millennials experienced the Great Recession, but in a different way. Not old enough to work, Post-Millennials experienced their nuclear family struggle through the Great Recession. This affected each person differently, however, many grew up in a time of economic upheaval. For this reason, Gen Z has a different perspective on their future careers, with many valuing job stability over career fulfillment. This is not to say they do not desire a satisfying job, but they understand the importance of financial consistency. During the recruitment process, clearly demonstrate the financial benefits the company has to offer, such as PTO. Having benefits like corporate outings are great. However, Gen Z are forward-thinkers and desire to know how their decisions now are going to affect their quality of life thirty years from now.
- World Peace – Mistakes of the past have made many generations, starting with Generation X, more socially responsible. This means that people understand it is important not only to lookout for their own wellbeing, but to think about the bigger picture and how collective actions affect underserved groups and the planet. Translating that to the workplace, Gen Z desires to make an impact on the world, with or without your company. Just like their generational predecessors, they have an altruistic spirit, and are not afraid to sacrifice other areas of their life in the pursuit of social well-being. Foster this sense of altruism by giving back to the community in creative and effective ways. Don’t default to the traditional canned food drive, but offer a space where they can talk about their ideas about giving back without judgement. This offers Gen Z-ers a creative outlet where they can feel like they are making a difference in the workplace and their community.
- Screening Now – Many people know that multitasking is a myth and that it is more time efficient to focus on one task at a time. However, Post-Millennials are used to working with multiple screens at once, compared to Millennials that have a two screen preference. Devoting time to teaching post-millennials how to effectively execute task through having a central focus can do wonders for workplace productivity in the long run. This can help them meet deadlines and work towards long-term goals, which helps your team’s collaboration and project management.
They quickly learned how to identify authentic information, and employees or recruiters falsely praising their company is no different. Their understanding of authenticity comes from their acute sense of the world around them. When conversing with Gen Z about your company, make sure you are giving them an accurate depiction of a typical workday.
How will Gen Z change the workplace and how will you help prepare them for the workforce? Will they create the same buzz as Gen Y did the past few years. Only time will tell, however, you can help mentor the best young talent now to get these Gen-Zers prepared for the workforce that lies ahead.