It seemed not too long ago that companies were concerned with how to manage millennials - the first generation to grow up alongside technology and infamously labelled as job hoppers. They don't look for money as a form of value like their predecessors Generation X, and know more about the internet and digital innovation than most in the office. Now that Generation Y have proved to be the forerunners in technology and pioneers of change within the workplace, a new generation has entered and with them comes a new set of skills and demands. Welcome Generation Z.
Who are Generation Z?
Generation Z are born between the years 1995-2010. They are also referred to as iGeneration, due to them being born when technology and the online world had started to become integrated into everyday life. They will not know the trials of internet dial up and the notorious tone it played!
Technology aside, Generation Z grew up seeing first-hand the impact of the recession, which has changed how they view work; looking for stable futures in the career they choose and entrepreneurially minded.
The digitally savvy cohort are also big on individuality and expressing oneself. A majority may not be old enough to vote, yet they possess strong opinions on political movements and the social, economic and ecological issues facing society.
This generation are forecast to shape up the workforce with unique skills, a fresh perspective and a new set of work expectations that managers need to take into consideration.
What they will bring to business
Generation Z grew up in a stable economic environment however, witnessing family members losing their jobs during the recession when young and seeing young businessmen such as Mark Zuckerberg make millions through pursuing their idea has turned them into entrepreneurs. Their individualist nature has seeped into their work mindset as they want to take control of their career and strive for independence within it. Giving Generation Z employees autonomy within their role and stepping up their responsibility will give them the independence they look for in employment.
It is a common assumption that the younger generation of today walk around with their heads down, hands glued to their phones, ignoring everyone around them. Studies have now revealed that Generation Z are the one generation who can actually multitask - so they do hear you when they are on their devices. Within a work environment this will prove invaluable as a generation of employees will be able to juggle a mix of tasks and it be second nature to them. Be sure to develop this skill further with them and praise their ability to do so. Do not take advantage though, as they can stop as quickly as they can start it.
Generation Z are always connected. From talking to friends to finding the latest news; all is done online through social media and other entertainment apps they received the iGeneration label for good reason. Do not be fooled though, they are not one to hide behind a keyboard when at work. Growing up in a world where discussions and open conversations are encouraged, Generation Z want managers to offer regular feedback and do so face to face. Be mindful not to let them feel undervalued at work by not scheduling regular catch ups and reviewing work together. They're not afraid to be told.
Individuality and change
This is a generation of acceptance of new ideas and practices. Growing up in a multicultural society where equality is being pushed more so than ever before, Generation Z thrive on being individuals and steer away from the status quo of culture. For businesses this means that to use the excuse 'we have always done it that way' on Generation Z employees will lead them to start looking elsewhere. They will be the drivers for change in your business and this characteristic of never being frightened of the unknown or to adapt should be utilised.
Are you ready for the next generation?
Do not be alarmed or apprehensive by the new generation of employees looking to be hired by you. With the oldest being around 21 to the youngest of the cohort an average age of 7, change within an organisation does not need to occur overnight. Businesses have adjusted and are seeing the many benefits of a millennial workplace, the same can be achieved with Generation Z workers too if organisations listen to and manage their wants.
How has business changed over the years?
If you are feeling nostalgic about the days of business that have past, or intrigued by how much organisations have modified over time, take a retrospective look at the job market over the past five years you never know, history might repeat itself!