While Generation X rockets towards their retirement years and millennials start to age into more advanced management roles, Generation Z has just graduated college and entered the workforce.
What do you know about these youngest of your coworkers? What they bring to the table might surprise you.
1. They Use Tech Everything
Unlike millennials, who remember some time before smartphones invaded every waking moment of our existence, members of Gen Z (born 1996-2016) have never known a time when they didn’t have the internet. They are the ones that your grandma is asking to fix her Google. They’re also going to judge employers harshly, if the company social media or website is stale.
Gen Z’s comfort with technology already influenced (and ultimately changed) how they were educated in primary and secondary school. They will bring that expectation for more robust tech in the workforce to a cube near you, too.
2. They Want a Stable Job
While millennials got tagged with being “lazy” and “entitled” in the workplace, Gen Z saw the Great Recession hit when they were in middle and high school, trying to figure out their career-day plans. They might have had home lives interrupted by the housing crisis and parental layoffs. What they want out of a job isn’t instant upward mobility, but instead, a stable environment that will lead to a steady paycheck with great benefits.
3. They Care About Corporate Responsibility
Gen Z-ers want to know their employer’s record on political issues of the day. More than just wondering if the head of the company (or even their direct boss) gives to such-and-such charity, they want to know how they feel about hot political questions of the day. Importantly, they care about gender and racial pay equality, according to a 2016 study by Ernst & Young.
Explore PayScale’s study on the gender pay gap to learn more about this topic.
4. They Expect Face-to-Face Training
Gen Z might be hyper-technological, but they still value getting in-person help from their work team or boss. This comes from a fear that they might need to work on their real-time communication skills.
A Deloitte study points to worry among Generation Z for all the issues they might encounter in a multi-generation office:
In a study of 4,000 Gen Z participants, 92 percent are concerned about the generational gap that technology is causing in their professional and personal lives. Another 37 percent expressed concern that technology is weakening their ability to maintain strong interpersonal relationships and develop people skills.
While Gen Z might need to work on working well with others, the rise of the modern apprenticeship in the U.S. might be perfectly timed. Like in the fields of medicine or law, where less-experienced workers rise up through ranks of skills-based mentored roles, modern corporate environments could also engage Gen Z workers while retaining an eager workforce.
5. They Need to Stay Connected
Some studies of Gen Z note they spend upwards of 10 hours a day connected online. They’ve grown up with the internet at their fingertips, and don’t easily disconnect. Workplace policies severely restricting social media use or shutting out online connectivity for the sake of strict “heads down” work time aren’t practical or productive for Gen Z.
Gen Z sees their online connections as an advantage (and some as an addiction they’re not keen to give up). Before you pooh-pooh it, keep in mind the benefits of this connectivity. They love to share information online (as much as 60 percent do so regularly), and it’s not just their latest Facebook poll results. They see their digital connections as a point of collaboration, not just friendship. Workplaces that use this extended information net will increase their own knowledge as well.
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK
Are you a member of Gen Z looking to enter the workforce? What are your biggest fears or strengths? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.