Jan 18, 2017

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How Gen Z is Changing Your Workspace

Just when you thought you finally had millennials figured out, Gen Z enters the workforce armed with unprecedented technical know-how and an “always on” mindset – a recipe sure to shake up the way you do business.

Since the end of 2016, approximately 10, 000 baby boomers retire every day.1 The millennial workforce now make up the largest group at 30%,2 and are steadily taking over senior leadership and management roles.

It’s time to start focusing on how the workplace needs to adapt (once again) for this new generation – the first to be raised in the era of smartphones and most likely to not remember a time without social media.

gen z vs millennials

So how do you recruit, retain and develop Gen Z employees?

First, you need to understand who they are and how they approach their careers.

Interestingly, research suggests the aspirations and characteristics of Gen Z differ significantly from those of millennials.

Millennials aspire to be financially stable, whereas 32% of Gen Z surveyed said their greatest aspiration is to be working in their dream job within the next ten years.3

Your organisation could be exactly the dream job they’re looking for, but what are they bringing to your team? This group of youngsters are able to make serious advancements in the way of technology and innovative thinking. But they also come with some hindrances – obstacles you’ll have to overcome with them to move your business into the future. Find out more about Gen Z characteristics to ensure you know who’s moving into your office space.

Gen Z Strengths
  • The most tech competent of any generation, members of Gen Z are able to pick up on developments quicker than other employees
  • Gen Z are natural entrepreneurs, with 72% wanting to start their own business and hire people4
  • Described as the “always on” generation, Gen Z are able to multi-task unlike any other generation using up to 5 screens at once
Gen Z Weaknesses
  • Gen Z are regarded as more cynical than their predecessors, favouring a realistic outlook over the idealism of Gen Y
  • This generation is not likely to show too much company loyalty, with 25% believing they should only stay in a job for a year or less
  • Gen Z don’t know much about a time before social media and easily accessible tech. This can make them very reliant on technology to solve problems for them

gen z definition

Impatient, talented, ambitious. Gen Z is on their way in. The question is: are you prepared to make the most of their skills and characteristics, or will a stagnant approach to people management signify your downfall. Here’s what you need to know about Gen Z trends if you want to meet them at the door:

What exactly is Gen Z looking for in a company?
  • Gen Z will choose opportunities for growth over salary5
  • 53% said they prefer in-person communication over email and instant messaging6
  • They are more entrepreneurial than any other generation so will be looking for leadership opportunities before work stability7
What do you need to know about your new Gen Z employee?
  • They’ve traded in the optimism of Millennials for realism, making them adaptable to change8
  • Raised on technology, they’re described as being tech innate rather than simply “savvy”9
  • 83% believe that 3 years or less is an appropriate amount of time to spend at a first job before moving on10
How do you keep Generation Z happy?
  • Gone are the days of a 9-5: Gen Z will demand a work environment that is flexible and designed to facilitate work-life integration. They are demanding new trends find a home in their professional life
  • Open spaces speak to their desire for collaboration. Ensure that every employee, even your CEO, spends time in a communication-conducive workspace. Combat this with “quiet zones” that help people who need to eliminate distractions
  • Gen Z is committed to personal and professional growth. Focus your attention on training and think of new ways to introduce development. Try internal job-shadowing where employees are given the opportunity to spend the day with someone in a different department

Remember, the introduction of a new generation isn’t cause for the abandonment of other’s. If you want a workforce that brings out the best in your business, you need to move past the hype of the newest addition, and do your best to engage with your multi-generational team.

gen z characteristics

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1 Investopedia
2 PewResearchCenter
3 Fortune
4 Growing Leaders
5 Millennial Branding and Randstad US
6 TalentCulture
7 Millennial Branding and Randstad US
8 Millennial Branding and Randstad US
9 Sprout Social
10 Adecco Staffing USA

Filed under: Career advice