It has taken years for companies to understand the impact of the millennial workforce on workplace structure and dynamics.
The debate of millennials is not even over and we have the next generation already entering the workforce in huge numbers. If you think millennials were challenging, Gen-Z has a whole new set of characteristics altogether. And the time to act is NOW.
Gen-Z refers to the generation born after 1996. This generation has already entered the workforce and is predicted to outnumber the millennials in 2019. Gen-Z is estimated to comprise 32 percent, which is about 2.4 billion of the global population of 7.7 billion this year. This is a huge number and an issue that required immediate consideration from employers.
So how can companies become more Gen-Z friendly? For starters, they need to understand this generation and their demands. Only by gauging what they really expect from the workplace can appropriate changes be made. Here are a few Gen-Z specific trends that employers should take note of.
Unlike millennials who have experienced both worlds with and without internet, Gen-Z has had the internet around for its entire lifetime. This changes a lot of things as this generation does not know of a world without tech. Be it texting, interacting with bots, or social media, this generation is very comfortable with using tech in all aspects of their lives.
They massively rely on tech for daily interactions and learning and have very high expectations from technology. So any technology that does not live up to their expectations will most likely get dumped by them real soon.
Gen-Z is most likely to turn to technology for solutions than to people. So employers must offer them the best tools to be it for collaboration, communication, feedback, or performance assessment. Gen-Z is likely to be less forgiving than their older counterparts when it comes to technology glitches. Technology that might seem new and not too much in use by older generations such as voice is very popular among Gen-Z.
Humans have been having a deteriorating level of attention span and the onset of mobile devices and the internet has reduced it to as little as 8 seconds. The ability to access any information at any time, order products at the click of a button, and get instant updates have impacted our concentration levels. This deficit is even higher among Gen-Z as they have always been around these innovations.
This deficit in attention needs to be taken into consideration by employers. Introducing new and exciting challenges at work has to become the norm with Gen-Z as they tend to get bored very easily. New tasks and approaches to work, along with flexible options need to be introduced to attract this generation that is used to doing what they are really passionate about.
With the millennial generation entering the workforce, discussions about finding purpose and meaning in jobs started gaining a lot of traction. For the first time in generations, we started talking about work-life balance and the importance of feeling fulfilled at work. Gen-Z is likely to be even more entrepreneurial and innovative than their millennial counterparts, seeking purpose and independence in their work.
Employers should brace such entrepreneurial spirit and introduce support systems where such minds can thrive, and also continuously grow. New hires need to be given roles that they believe in, even before they are hired. Job descriptions need to match their aspirations and goals. And jobs should offer them much more than a salary and designation, and help them find meaning and fulfillment in their roles.
For employers to take advantage of this new generation, they should start with the interaction as soon as possible. There is no more time to wait. If companies do not start experimenting now, they are likely to lose out to the competition.
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