Following Millennials, generation Z is represented by today’s tweens and teens buzzing with novel ideas and holding great promise for tomorrow’s business. Tapping into their approach to work and how to handle them in the business environment is vital. They go by many names, ‘iGen’, ‘gamers’, the ‘App generation’, the ‘Selfie generation’, ‘post-Millennials’ and the list may continue. What sets them apart from previous generations, generation X, Y, Baby Boomers and Millennials is their unique approach to work.
Born between 1995 and 2012, generation Z comprise of 1% of today’s American working population and is estimated to grow to 7% by 2020. Making their first steps into the era of booming technology, it’s no surprise at all that they are digital natives, learning to use the tablet before they even talk.
Learning to use digital technology and social media from very young ages, gen Z-ers are extremely versatile when it comes to work. Growing up with successful online businesses like Booking.com, Airbnb, Uber, Facebook, and already old Google, Apple or Microsoft, not to mention digital marketing, they already have a very clear idea how to generate income online and how to run a successful online business.
According to Sean McDowell, Ph. D., professor of Christian apologetic from Biola University, iGens are entrepreneurial thinkers and individualistic by definition. Statistics indicate that 72% of them are more likely to reject the ‘shackles of employment’ and start their own business.
Inborn progressive thinkers, generation Z are constantly on the lookout for quick recognition and validation through social media, which is why they tend to be rather withdrawn from society. Does this mean they can’t work well in a team? No, not at all, they simply have a different approach to teamwork. Forward-minded as they are, they have an innate ability to multitasking. So, for them juggling between tasks comes naturally. After all, they’re gamers and as such they’re also strong team players, socio-psychologists suggest (learn more from getabstract.com).
Who says that generation Z only enjoy working with their peers and resent cooperation with authority figures? On the contrary, gamers are keen users of social media, which for them has a double purpose – networking and research tool. This means they are open to collaboration and above all, communication and feedback, which can be implemented in the business environment easily. Additionally, remember that they were born and educated in a world promoting diversity and equality regardless of race, religious beliefs or sexual orientation (some may have even been raised in same-sex families). Therefore, they value acceptance and togetherness despite the differences between individuals, expecting to find the same at the workplace. Here are a few tips how to handle generation Z employees.
How to Handle Generation Z in the Business Environment
Tapping into gen Z psyche is not easy. One thing is unquestionable about generation Z employees, and that’s CREATIVITY. They want to stand out through innovation. At the same time they are perfectly aware of the pitfall that ditched Millennials, therefore, they have a clear understanding that the key to success is hard work and perseverance offline. This is why they seize every opportunity they can to prove themselves.
Imaginative as they are, gen Z-ers would fit perfectly in a business environment where they are able to explore, experiment and nurture innovative ideas. At the same time they’re on a constant lookout for opportunities to develop their skills or acquire new ones, which is why mentor-ship will always come before financial reward for a generation Z employee. However, as gamers, they will always be looking for a challenging business environment and more gamified incentive systems. Having a sharp sense of criticism, these ‘new kids on the block’ just about to enter the workforce are constantly seeking ways to manage and improve their image both on- and offline.
Being constantly connected with the ‘outside world’, they know exactly what is trending at the moment. With a very short attention span (8 seconds), they have the ability to quickly discern what is worth their attention and effort and what not, and this is what stirs their imagination and how they can contribute revolutionary ideas to your business and push it to the top. They may not have decision power within the organization as yet, but they hold big promise.
Highly Individualistic and Independent
Highly individualistic and independent as they are, App generation employees will appreciate constant feedback from their superiors (which is where working with authority figures comes into play). As a good leader and manager, if you wish to retain a gen Z-er you should probably reconsider your employee evaluation system to accommodate (if not replace altogether) the formal, annual appraisal one-on-one sessions with ongoing, informal reviews.
Much as they favor the idea of being their own boss, sociological studies suggest that this digital generation’s ostensible tendency towards entrepreneurship is the manifestation of a survival mechanism rather than the desire to be rich and famous. What these youngsters need is actually something stable to rely on like a secure job that earns them a decent and steady income.
What Sets Millennials Apart
What clearly sets them apart from their Millennial predecessors notorious for their lack of focus, generation Z are planners. With a rich generational heritage from their sell-supporting generation X parents, gen Z-ers look for jobs in less-automatized areas like sales or education. With stability in mind, they seem to always have a very well developed plan B available to help them stay afloat in an ever-shifting economic environment. That is why more often than not, they will opt for a career that offers them financial stability. The ideal workplace for a gen Z-er is therefore one where he can enjoy autonomy, flexibility, support for personal development and initiative, and honesty.
Considering all the aspects revealed about this intriguing new generation, the take-away is this: a gen Z employee is a must-have asset for any business as they can bring a whole set of fresh ideas, hard work, ambition to succeed and eagerness to learn and grow with the company. To incentivize generation Z employees, nurture the differing values and traits that define them, help them succeed and integrate in your multi-generational workforce, and they will give you the best they have to make your business great.