In the next two years, Generation Z will make up one-fifth of the workforce. Who are they? And how will they affect the workplace? It’s a question most companies are focusing on now. HR recruiters are trying to understand how best they can incorporate this generation into the workplace. But—what if integration is the wrong option? Most analysts see Generation Z affecting the workplace in a positive manner. They are running to catch up to this generation, not the other way around. Whether you’re an HR recruiter, small business owner, or a Generation Z’er, you need a better understanding of what impact this generation will have on your workplace. Generation Z has a specific set of traits, work styles, and worldview that will affect the day-to-day running of your business. Fear not—this post offers a guide as to what they bring to the workplace and five essential tips businesses should implement when hiring or working with Gen Z’ers.
The Generation Z Gene
Who is Generation Z? The simple answer—those born between 1997 and the early 2010s. They make up roughly 26 percent of the U.S. population. Generation Z is fiercely independent, extremely competitive, and have a “do-it-yourself” mentality. They aren’t afraid to go head-to-head with their teammates and superiors to prove their mettle. What makes Generation Z so unique? Think about this for a second—96 percent of Generation Z have smartphones. They use five different technology screens (phone, tablet, laptop, etc.). And they spend 10 hours per day on them.
Long story short—they live and breath tech. They know the digital world has all the answers. No authority figure (manager, teacher, parent, etc.) has the final word on a subject matter. Sure, they’ll listen to authority figures and take their view into account, but it must be backed with actual data and state-of-the-art research for them to decide their opinions are authoritative. They are on track for being the most diverse and educated generation yet, and it’s expected they will work harder than past groups. It is opportunity companies and organizations can cash in on—provided they understand what this generation has to offer and accommodates for them.
What Does Generation Z Offer the Workplace?
An entire generation lives and breathes tech. When this happens, you’re bound to see its effect in the workplace in a drastic way. Generation Z will need a truly digital environment for the workplace. It’ll be a minimum requirement for them. And it also means they won’t spend their time doing a lot of busy work that they think could be automated. With the nature of work shifting due to technological advancements in today’s digital work, Generation Z will expedite the process. Think of workplace automation. Gen Z will be the ones leading the way. They’ll understand how to work with machines and know the basics of AI. And they’ll push for automated processes as opposed to mundane work tasks.
A second major way Gen Z will affect the workplace is expanding the importance of diversity and inclusion. Think of who Gen Z is as a whole. 49 percent identify as non-white. It’s more diverse, culturally, racially, and sexually. For them, it’s important to work with people who are diverse as well or at the very least encourages diversity. Workplaces cannot lag behind but should capitalize on this as an important element of a company’s culture. And this seems to be the trend happening in most companies today. There is a boost in diversity and cultural awareness training occurring in many different sectors. It’s why most companies are testing the emotional intelligence of potential candidates these days more so than ever before.
Aleksandra Włodarczyk, an HR Specialist and Recruiter at ResumeLab, confirms this trend: “When you have 300 applicants applying for one position, by the end of the call, you have roughly 20-30 who all have relevant technical skills. But it’s the soft skills portion – the emotional intelligence of a candidate – that can really boost the profile in a tremendous way. It’s certainly one of the most important aspects of the hiring process ”
That said, you need tips on how to deal with this influx of Gen Z in the workplace.
5 Tips for Businesses Hiring Generation Z
You know Gen Z is coming. You see the entrepreneurial and competitive spirit it brings. And you know your business has to adjust to this. Here are five simple tips to put in on the right track.
1. Embrace the co-working model of shared and communal space.
Gen Z overwhelmingly chooses this model. And it’s a perfect match for their tech-savviness. Here’s what to do. Make sure you are up-to-speed with constant digital connectivity at your fingertips. Have all your software choices dependent on whether it can be used on a smartphone. And don’t be surprised if a Gen Z writes to you later in the night or over the weekend when they’re out and about because they don’t disconnect from the digital world.
2. Train them with technological interactive elements.
What’s the best way to match Gen Z’ers competitive spirit with their tech-savviness? Training through interactive elements. They’ll need to have at their disposal the ability to constantly evolve, but it should most likely be done through technology, not through meetings and lectures by superiors. Adapt to this by preparing an on-boarding course that is fully interactive and other software you can use to help them increase their skills through games and so forth.
3. More frequent feedback.
Gen Z is constantly connected. This matters in the workplace. You’ll need to do a better job of giving them feedback as much as possible. It should be done on a daily basis, preferably through meetings. You can’t expect them to be fine with a simple weekly meeting, or letting them know your door is always open to them.
4. Be transparent.
Their entire lives are open to the public with all their social media accounts. You’ll have to be the same particularly when it comes to offering them goals, a career ladder, and room to grow.
5. Ensure their competitive spirit grows.
Give them goals. Have them shoot for these goals but offer extra goals that they can reach as well. They’ll strive for it, trust me, competition is part of their daily lives.
Don’t lag behind the technological advancements in the workplace, embrace transparency, ensure there is competition, and you’ll see Gen Z thrive in your organization. Just make sure you are ready for these advancements when the time comes and you’ll benefit from having Gen Z in your workforce.