Millennials have been a workplace buzz word for the last few years and for good reason. Millennials are now an influencing generation in the corporate world by virtue of the sheer numbers of them. (Their population numbers recently eclipsed Baby Boomers.) The oldest Millennials are 35 years old and are now leaders with decision-making power. While businesses were worried about this generation, they have yet to turn their attention towards the generation that was growing up behind the scenes, Generation Z (Gen Z). Their time has come.
Born in the mid-90s to the early 2000’s, they are the youngest generation and boast a population of about 20 million. They are young, vibrant, starting to come of age and subsequently beginning to have an impact on the labor force. Employers should begin to prepare for this generation of employees who share the following characteristics:
Gen Zs have grown up in a technical world. Tablets, lab tops, and smart phones have always been at this generation’s fingertips. Gen Z’s constant access to sophisticated media and the Web have enabled this generation to be the most Internet and media savvy to date.
However, unlike their predecessors, Gen Zers tend to prefer traditional and in-person methods of communication, as opposed to online mediums, like instant messaging, social media or email. As a consequence, it will be important for managers to conduct meetings or give feedback in person rather than through electronic mediums.
Gen Zers have grown up in a more economically stable climate than Millennials. Millennials experienced a recession and, as a result, are living at home and pinching their pennies. Conversely, Gen Zers have seen economic growth and are more optimistic and eager. This optimism has sparked an entrepreneurial spirit and a tolerance for risk-taking. For instance, entrepreneur.com indicated that 17 percent of Gen Zs, as opposed to 11 percent of Millennials, have aspirations to start their own business and employ others. As an employer, it is important to appeal to their entrepreneurial drive by emphasizing new and innovative projects instead of monotonous tasks.
Additionally, growing up financially comfortable has allowed the Gen Z generation to be intrinsically motivated by opportunities for advancement and not money. As a group, they possess an understanding that learning as much as possible will lead to higher positions, which will eventually lead to larger paychecks.
Entrepreneur.com found that about half of Gen Z considered an honest leader to be a leader worth following.
When it comes down to it, they want to be trusted, have a voice, and be taken seriously. They think that ideas sell, not age or experience. This will be important when assigning titles and duties to new Gen Z employees.
Get ahead of the game and prepare your organization now for the integration of Gen Z now. Learning about this vibrant group will allow you get the boost on other companies who may not be ready for this new generation of workers.