Generation Z: How Do They Approach the Workplace?

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With a new generation—Generation Z—on the scene, it’s time for organizations to take a closer look.

Born between the late 1990s and the early 2010s, Generation Z currently makes up 25.9% of the US population. Though there is little to no consensus about the ending birth year, we do know the oldest among them are between 16 and 19 years old. So you can expect members of this generation to start trickling into your ranks more and more in the coming years. And they will impact the workplace for decades to come.

Never Lump Millennials and Generation Z Together

Generation Z

They may be tech savvy and diverse like Millennials, but there are key differences to consider. These differences start from the beginning—their parents. Most Millennails were raised by Baby Boomer parents, while Gen Zs are the children of Gen X parents. That means the parental influence and family culture was not the same.

And like all generations, their coming of age experience was and continues to be significantly different. The Millennial childhood was defined by the shock of September 11, 2001. 55% say that they were emotionally impacted that day. Demographers theorize that this experience made Millennials more cautious, closer to their parents, and more likely to shelter their own children.

Yet even the oldest members of Generation Z are too young to remember September 11th. This group has experienced their own tragedies, such as the Parkland High School shooting, amongst others. They are also coming of age during the #MeToo movement, mass protests and student walkouts. How this will impact them as they transition into adulthood, and possibly parenthood, remains to be seen. What we do know is that their social and political experiences vary from Millennials, meaning they should never be lumped together.

Millennials vs Generation Z: Technology

Both generations are comfortable with technology and using it to multitask, with some Millennials following the technology train all the way from dial-up Internet and landlines, to smart phones, WiFi and tablets. Gen Z was born into a world with mobile devices and constant access to the Internet. And from watching Millennials share their lives on social media platforms like Facebook, they’ve learned to seek more control over their social presence. With that as a priority, they trend toward using platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, where shared images literally disappear after a certain amount of time.

Generation Z at Work

Generation Z

So how does this new generation approach the workplace? For one, they are more interested in financial stability and job security than the Millennial generation. Why? Because they grew up during a recession. This generation also values mentorship, with 33% surveyed reporting that mentorship was the most important benefit a company can offer. A third (29%) reported that an empowering work culture is what would keep them in their job, while 28% would stay for career growth opportunities.

No matter what will keep them in their jobs, they are eager to succeed. A study by Berkley found 53% of Generation Z members believed success was the most important thing in life. Don’t other generations feel the same? 45% of Millennials, 35% of Generation X and 31% of Baby Boomers do. They take growth seriously—a whopping 88% of Generation Z respondents said they’d relocate for a career opportunity.

This generation is also very entrepreneurial. A 2017 Gallup poll found that 39% of students plan to start their own businesses. 9% said they already owned their own business!

If you’re paying attention, you can see that providing mentorship, career growth, recognition, and an entrepreneurial work culture is vital to attracting and retaining your next generation of workers. If you play your cards right, you’ll have a nimble workforce willing to move between locations if you invest in their success.

Ready to hit the ground and attract an ambitious generation who values security and growth? Here’s a tip: When you’re speaking to them—you’d be surprised to learn 72% prefer in-person conversation. So don’t hesitate to pick up the phone!

I’d love to hear your experiences with Generation Z and I’d be happy to share mine. Leave a comment below, send me an email, or find me on Twitter.

Infographics courtesy of Zero Cater. Check them out here.
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