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Gen Z in the Workplace: Preparing for the New Generation of Workers

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It may seem like your company has just started to adjust to the needs of the millennial workforce, but don’t get comfortable just yet. Generation Z, those born within the years 1995 and 2012, are now beginning to enter the workforce and are bringing a whole new list of career expectations and skills with them.

 

The Digital Natives

 

Members of Gen Z were born into a technologically advanced world. They have never known life without the internet, social media or smartphones. This makes them the first generation to be true digital natives. They are accustomed to the instant access of information and communication. However, a study conducted by Millennial Branding and Randstad US said that 53% of Gen Zers prefer in-person communication over tools like instant messaging and video conferencing. This is likely because Gen Zers understand the value of face-to-face conversation as it provides a human connection that is more rare in a world so inundated with electronic communication.

 

While millennials may prefer using Slack or Skype to communicate, Gen Z has grown up with more complex communication tools like Snapchat and Instagram, which may steer them into a simpler form of workplace communication. The option to have digital messaging systems within the workplace is valuable  for quick notifications and communication, but if managers want to show they truly value their new employees from Gen Z they will make an effort to connect with them in person.

Driven & Diligent

Gen Z believes that success is a matter of hard work, not luck. Growing up with Gen X parents who tend to have a more cynical view of the world, during a recession, created a new mentality for Gen Z that values hard work and personal achievement. They expect to work hard for their success rather than having it handed to them.

Socially Aware

Because of the instant access to news and information that Gen Z has always had at their fingertips, they tend to be more realistic and socially conscious. They readily embrace diversity, racial & sexual differences, and are less likely to conform to traditional gender roles. Because of Gen Z’s growing social conscience, many are looking for careers that either help or bring no harm to others.

 

In a study done by Ernst & Young, 84% of respondents reported that their open-mindedness and ability to work well with people from different backgrounds and cultures positively sets them apart from older job candidates. By establishing charitable and philanthropic programs,  and incorporating a social responsibility mission into the workplace, you can attract Gen Z employees  to your company and boost work productivity as well.

 

What Gen Z is Looking for in a Career

 

Ernst & Young reported that 84% of 2,000 company interns said that career progression and growth is their most important priority when looking for potential employers. They are also looking for employers who value their ideas and recognize their contributions. Sending quick, personal messages acknowledging individual contributions will encourage them to continue to produce great work and submit innovative ideas moving forward.

 

Overall job satisfaction is also very important to Gen Z. 66% of Gen Z members say job satisfaction is just as important as financial stability. Surprisingly, salary is their lowest priority. That is not to say that they don’t expect fair and appropriate pay. Even though this generation does want to make a difference, they believe that surviving and thriving are more important.

 

How You Can Prepare for Gen Z

 

In order to attract dynamic Generation Z employees to your company and prepare for these young professionals to enter the workforce, here are a few key ideas to consider:

 

  1. Offer learning opportunities. Gen Z is eager to learn. They seek career focused perks and professional development opportunities, and prefer higher education benefits and training courses over flexible schedules and open environments.
  2. Become a more socially conscious business by implementing a social responsibility mission, charity rewards and attainable goals. Establishing these practices into your business will not only attract members of Gen Z, but will also help your business thrive.
  3. Gen Z members want to be involved in setting their own goals. Provide a platform to listen to their ideas by adding entrepreneurial opportunities to your operating models in order to meet the desires and understand the strengths of future employees.
  4. Naturally implement work-life balance. Employees are often hesitant to take advantage of work-life balance opportunities in fear of how they might be perceived by coworkers and management. Employers must recognize the importance of priorities outside of work. Create a culture that openly encourages balance between work and life. This will result in a more well-rounded and confident workforce.
  5. Get comfortable with creativity. Try using less traditional command-and-control tactics and learn  to understand individual motivation (i.e. desires for flexibility, recognition, meaning, etc.). Avoid micromanaging. Instead, build a work environment where creative individuals can reach goals while taking chances, and innovate without fear of recrimination.

 

Gen Z contains a competitive and hardworking group of people that not only want to succeed, but have a strong desire to improve the world around them. Their creativity can push those around them to change the way they think, work and interact with one another. Employers who seek to provide opportunities for these young professionals to flourish will be the first to attract this new generation into their workforce.