September 13, 2018 | Uncategorized
Is your company ready for Generation Z? Demographers and generation-focused marketing experts have begun talking about some of the differences they see in Gen Z, the newest group to enter the job applicant pool.
There is no current consensus on the start of this generation—the dividing line between Millenials and Gen Z may be as early as 1993 or as late as 2000. This means the oldest members of Gen Z could be 25 or they could be 18. Either way, they are either entering or about to enter the American workforce.
With every generation, there is an aspect of rebelling against the previous generations attitudes, lifestyles, and tastes. But many of these differences are related to the world they were raised in. The two primary formative experiences for Generation Z have been dealing with the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and growing up as “digital natives.”
Here are some ways these and other factors have influenced younger members of the workforce:
As a consequence of growing up during a financial crisis, Gen Z has a more cautious, conservative attitude toward employment matters. Compared to Millenials, Gen Z may find a secure job with predictable growth in income to be more appealing. While you can’t guarantee anyone lifetime employment, a message that your goal is to maintain a stable workforce may be well received.
Gen Z employees may also be more focused on retirement benefit programs than Millennials. If you do sponsor a retirement plan, make sure to emphasize it when describing the advantages of working with your organization. Gen Z workers may be concerned about an impending funding crisis for Medicare and Social Security, giving them added interest in retirement savings opportunities.
Members of Gen Z tend to be more pragmatic about money matters than Millennials. Fewer Gen Zers are seeking graduate degrees before entering the workforce as they see the massive student debt incurred by Millennials. This will change your pool of applicants when hiring. If you have been setting a high educational bar for jobs that don’t require that level of education, you may want to reconsider whether it’s truly necessary.
In line with their pragmatism and financial focus, Gen Z workers are eager to obtain new skills at work. This may allow them to remain valuable members of your staff far into the future. Consider creating online training opportunities to attract and retain these workers.
Both Gen Zers and Millennials do have one common denominator: both groups tend to seek advancement opportunities. If they do not see the potential to grow in one job, they will not hesitate to move to a different one.
Growing Up Digital
Gen Zers are accustomed to multitasking. Marketing consultant Deep Patel says they’ve always “lived in a connected world” with dozens of apps that are constantly updated. “Switching between different tasks and paying simultaneous attention to a wide range of stimuli comes naturally to them.”
The flip side of that is that multitasking Gen Zers may not find it easy to focus deeply on one task for a long period of time. If you’re hiring for a job that requires a long attention span, you’ll want to make sure to evaluate that capacity.
Surprisingly, this generation does have a preference for face-to-face communication according to a survey by consulting firm Millennial Branding. Among Gen Z respondents, 53% would rather communicate with managers in person, while 18% would rather email and 11% preferred instant messaging. Face-to-face communication provides for a more dynamic exchange, including the exchange of nonverbal cues, despite being more time-consuming. This can be essential when dealing with substantive issues.
Another significant difference between Gen Zers and Millennials is how they prefer to work. Millennials tend to like collaboration and teamwork. Gen Zers, on the other hand, are marked by two complementary traits — competitiveness and individualism.
Gen Zers may prefer working on their own and receiving credit for individual efforts rather than working in teams. They simply don’t want to depend on others to get their work done.
This doesn’t mean that you should isolate younger workers. But consider flexible working arrangements rather than force-feeding teamwork when it isn’t vital. This may maximize productivity and minimize turnover.
You may already have Gen Z employees trickling into your workforce. As time marches on, you’ll encounter more Gen Z applicants.
There won’t be a signal that Gen Z has reached a critical mass at your organization. But staying attentive to changes in attitudes and priorities of the youngest members of your staff will make it easier for you to maintain a dynamic and productive workforce.