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Generation Z is the first fully digital generation and is set to change the workplace with its unique set of priorities, values and needs.
This newest generation is aged around 5 years to 25 years. Those born in the mid to late 1990s are now starting their careers and employees must prepare themselves by understanding how this tech savvy generation differs from others.
These digital natives have many qualities that you need to know about to enable you to fully welcome them into your organisation. They are on track to be the most well-educated generation yet as they find no obstacles to keep learning more about the issues that are important to them.
Organisations who take the time to get to know their workforce on both a personal and professional level, learn about the multigenerational differences, embrace uniqueness and manage accordingly will be rewarded with high levels of employee engagement, productivity, motivation and loyalty. Ultimately, this time spent to really understand your individuals will benefit your bottom line!
Preference for face to face communications. This is one quality that may come as a surprise considering that this generation has been exposed to high levels of technology, but Gen Z’s have a strong preference for human interaction. In the workplace, they crave collaborations, strong relationships (and friendships) and appreciate video chats over phone calls and face to face meetings over emails.
Don’t fear failure. This generation are fearless innovators and accept that failure is part of the course. Having a set of employees who are comfortable with failure is a huge asset, and organisations should encourage this generation to bring their innovative ideas forward – learn from any failures – and grow.
Love to be curious. Gen Z’s are comfortable with fear, and willing to venture outside of their comfort zones more so than previous generations. Organisations will reap the rewards when presenting them with new challenges as they will be excited and honoured to take them on.
Receptive to continual feedback. This quality links in perfectly with their love to be curious and accepting challenges. Gen Z’s state that they wish to receive timely and measurable feedback to allow them to continually improve, learn new skills and remain highly productive.
Crave a good work-life balance. In fact, this desire for a healthy work-life balance ranks number 1 when it comes to choosing an employer. If your organisation does not currently send out surveys to check how your employees are feeling, we suggest you make this routine. We’d also recommend offering remote working as an option.
Look for stability. Do not confuse Millennials with Gen Z’s. Their views on stability in the workplace differs greatly. While Millennials will move from organisation to organisation and even change careers several times, this newest generation won’t. Don’t forget that this cohort were very young when they experienced 9/11 and the Great Recession – these events have had a lasting impression on them, and they look for financial stability and work security.
As Gen Z’s prefer to grow with one organisation for longer than the generation above them, organisations should have a structured career path in place and offer a variety of training and development opportunities.
Diversity matters to them. They are highly inclusive, not just of race and genders, but of the whole spectrum including orientation and identity. Organisations who embrace diversity and inclusion are likely to attract this generation above their competitors.
Appreciate frequent, bite sized communications. Gen Z’s are image and video led when it comes to receiving information and communicating. Organisations should communicate with a mix of visuals, videos, short-form messages and bullet points to match their familiar diet of “snack media” habits.
Short attention span. Not a quality as such, but a behaviour that employers need to know about. Research has proved that you have about 8 seconds to engage with them!
The evolving workplace
As Gen Z’s are entering the workplace it’s clear that they are demanding a more personalised career path, they are looking for robust training and leadership programmes which focus on diversity.
With a drive to learn, organisations should consider:
Digital demands in the workplace
This generation don’t know what it’s like to live without the internet. Technology is woven into the fabric of everything they do; tracking their fitness, communicating, gaming, social media, box set streaming and politics monitoring to name a few.
Being so used to this world of tech, they are not awe-struck by it – they expect bigger and better tech to be continually introduced. The one thing they really don’t like is when tech lets them down.
They demand Wi-Fi, good signal coverage and intuitive interfaces on all of their devices. Failure is not an option – nor is buffering - as they will get impatient when tech under performs.
This younger generation regards the morning commute and physical workspaces as out-dated practices. Organisations must up their game to satisfy their tech needs, it has to be omnipresent too; spanning across their own devices at home as well as those in the physical office and in meeting rooms – the tech must be available wherever they are.
Training and educating
Gen Z’s are resourceful when they want to find something out – they instinctively head to YouTube, Wikipedia, Buzzfeed and eHow to feed their curiosity. This ability to find things out for themselves from a very early age contributes to their collaborative and entrepreneurial spirit.
This generation shows signs of having a ‘as and when’ approach to learning and have a strong preference for self-development. They demand choice and the freedom to learn at their own pace meaning flexibility is key to encourage motivation and develop self-confidence.
We’re Here To Help
If your organisation would like to talk to a HR professional about any of the issues raised in this blog, please get in touch on 0161 941 2426.
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