Generation Z is the newest generation entering the workforce, and like their Millennial predecessors, they bring with them a different set of values and behaviors that may mean adapting to a new style of work. Born between 1997 and 2010, this cohort of digital natives have grown up in the age of great technological advancements and the Great Recession, which gives them a unique outlook on their future careers. Here are six things you should consider while preparing for their arrival.
1. Gen Z is Highly Independent
This generation is more than comfortable working independently. They have grown up with less in-person social interaction and have no problem being given a task with minimal supervision. Also, always having technology at their fingertips has made them highly resourceful when it comes to educating themselves about things they don’t know. They prefer self-guided instruction, and it works even better if that learning is on an online platform.
2. Money and Career Growth are Top Motivators
Gen Z has experienced the difficult financial struggles of their parents before them during the Great Recession and therefore, put more value on financial stability and security. They would rather save their money and spend it on quality rather than spend it thoughtlessly. They value professional growth and development for their personal satisfaction, but also in the hopes that it leads to a promotion.
3. Face To Face Conversation is Preferred
About half of Generation Z may spend up to 10 hours a day online, but most of them prefer interaction at work to be face-to-face. This may seem at odds with the idea that Gen Z is very digitally dependent, but some researchers feel that Gen Z is trying to avoid the stigma of a lack of interpersonal skills associated with Millennials. They are also used to using more visual online communication like FaceTime and Skype, which may make it easier to transfer those interactions to an in-person meeting.
4. Gen Z Is One Of The Largest And Most Diverse Generations
25.9% of the U.S population are members of Gen Z with almost half of them identifying as non-white. This means the future of the workforce will reflect this diversity sooner rather than later. Increased diversity means that companies will have the opportunity to capitalize on a new pool of talent and experiences. It helps that Gen Z is ready and willing to be contributors to the conversation and bring new perspectives to make a difference in the workplace.
5. They Need Feedback and Structure… and Lots of it
Generation Z is not as confident in their abilities to be successful in the workplace, so constant feedback is seen as highly valuable. Performance reviews once or twice a year will not be nearly enough to satisfy their need to understand how well they are performing on the job. It is also important to provide more structure around tasks and job duties. Gen Z employees are less likely to stay in a work environment that feels ambiguous or uncertain. They want things laid out in a way that is easy to understand and acclimate to.
6. Companies That Share Their Values Will Retain Them Longer
Like Millennials, Gen Z does not see themselves staying at any particular company for a long time. They feel that once they have learned enough to move on, they will. However, Gen Z values the ability to make a positive impact on society, and companies who share in those values are more likely to keep those employees for a few more years. Providing work and activities that fulfill the need to give back can go a long way in appealing to this newest generation.
The influx of Generation Z employees into the workforce will bring new and dynamic changes to the multigenerational work environment. The willingness to learn and understand the unique qualities of these groups will make the difference between companies that thrive and those that fall behind. Ultimately, despite the differences between generations, one shared commonality is that everyone is a person that has the potential to add value to an organization. Keeping an open mind and creating a work culture that embraces similarities as well as differences will help to make a better working environment for all employees.