It may be crazy to think about, but Gen Z is slowly making their way into the workplace, and they are switching things up. Generation Z consists of people born between 1995-2010, which means the oldest ones are 23 and jumping into the working world. As Gen Z makes their way into the workplace, there are a few things that employers need to be aware of because they are starting to switch things up which means change is on the horizon. While Gen Z has a lot in common with millennials there are a few things that differ that should be discussed for employers to consider.
Remember that Recession?
One difference between Gen Z and millennials is their experiences with the recession were different. While both generations went through the recession, many Gen Zers saw their parents truly struggle financially, and because they were still young during this time, much of their lives were defined by those financial struggles. Millennials experienced the recession but most of them were already out of the house, or soon to be out of the house, when the recession hit hard which means they experienced it on their own versus seeing it through their parents’ struggles.
Millennials are known for their idealism in the work place, motivated by change or trends rather than financial security. It is the opposite with Gen Z, because they saw their parents struggle financially through the recession, job security and a steady paycheck are extremely important to this younger generation of people. What employers need to know when recruiting generation Z is that job security is the most enticing component in a job offer. Millennials work more for the experience and are less careful about saving money; Gen Z is motivated by financial security and any investment they make has to show a longterm value.
The Kings and Queens of Multitasking
Just when you thought millennials had it down pat, Gen Z is here to show us all up when it comes to multitasking. Where millennials and many generations preceding them are often easily distracted by technology, social media, switching from text to email to snapchat all in a 30 second period, Gen Z knows no other way of life. While millennials were able to experience the world before technology really took off, they know a life before, during, and after it all. Gen Z is quite the opposite, they really only know the world as we know it now with Google answering all of our questions and Iphones being the most important thing to leave the house with each morning. Gen Z can naturally navigate from one platform to the next without being “distracted.” Their work gets done almost seamlessly as they switch from one task to the next while answering texts, emails, and taking a selfie in the process.
Independence VS Team Collaboration
Team collaboration, you see it as a requirement on many job descriptions, and while it is crucial to be able to work in a team, Generation Z leans more towards working independently rather than with a group. This could be largely in part to the recession, where they saw their parents suffer from mistakes made by other people. Working independently means they are self sufficient and their success or downfall will rely solely on themselves. Millennials are all about making change and doing it as a team, Gen Z is competitive which means they prefer to work on their own and show that they are capable of completing full projects on their own. They want their skills to prevail and they don’t need a team of people to help them achieve it.
It may have been millennials who changed the digital game, but Generation Z IS digital. Millennials have helped shape the digital world over the last 10-20 years; generation Z knows nothing else besides the digital world. In your workspace, if it comes to figuring out a new software system, mastering the lasted apple update, finding the next best, quickest, and easiest platform to help your company succeed, Gen Z are going to be the employees to find it and teach the rest of you how to use it. Millennials will be quick to catch on to new platforms and technologies but don’t be surprised if it is your youngest employees that end up teaching the office everything new that pops up in the digital world.
Communication is Key
While millennials are great communicators when it comes to responding to anything that comes to them via digital form, Gen Z is going back in time and demanding face-to-face interactions. Millennials introduction to the digital world was text based, where Gen Z grew up with FaceTime, Skype, SnapChat, and video messaging via their smartphones. Because of this, Gen Z isn’t scared of the face-to-face interaction. While millennials still often prefer to communicate via text, email, or you workspace messaging platform, Gen Z will be the first one to walk straight into your office and discuss things in person. Neither form of communication is better than the other, it just seems as though things are constantly changing. Just as the baby boomers get used to millennials communicating digitally, Gen Z comes in and reverts them back.
The Ever Changing Workspace
With the digital world continuously changing, the workspace inadvertently will too. Each generation that makes their way into the workforce will come in with different goals, digital knowledge, and workspace expectations. Whether you are a an employer or an employee, it is important to acknowledge the changes that occur as each new generation enters into your organization. This will allow the workplace to be all encompassing of every individual.