Born between 1995 and 2010, the oldest Gen-Zers are around 24 now and just entering the workplace. Known to be a competitive, independent and entrepreneurial generation who grew up with technology at their fingertips, understanding Gen-Z employees is key for a successful workplace. Smart businesses will embrace the changes needed and make the most of the talents and skills that this generation can offer them.
Talk about it
Gen-Zers aren’t always as precise with their use of language as their Millennial predecessors. Having used Snapchat and Facetime as far back as they can recall, they are known to prefer face-to-face communications to e-mail or slack. If you need a quick answer, try using Google+ hangout, or a quick skype – if you rely on email, it’s highly likely they won’t even check their inbox!
Attention spans are getting shorter and Gen-Z take gold with a measly 8 seconds - the shortest attention span of a generation yet! (Millennials weigh in with 12 seconds). Don’t despair, work with them to boost their engagement. Try and keep meetings short (and more frequent) and address only one area at a time. Don’t expect them to sit and focus for hours on end, instead allow them to flit between tasks – they’ll get the most done this way. Try and view their attention span as a highly tuned content filter which they use to gain large amounts of relevant information at high speed.
Gen-Zers are known to be an independent generation, they appreciate autonomy in the workplace and are used to creating their own networks and opportunities. They have very entrepreneurial spirits and many say they’d rather work for themselves than for an organisation. To attract them (and keep them) try and build in some kind of project they can take control of, giving them the autonomy and independence they crave and playing to their inner entrepreneurs.
Bear in mind that this generation has never known a world without the Internet. They’re constantly online and connected and it’s not unusual to see them multi-tasking across several screens at once. Allow them the freedom to work in a manner that is comfortable to them. Flitting between screens and tasks may seem alien and unfocused to some, but is natural to them and will mean they’re able to do their best work.
What's the Point?
This is a generation who love a good mission! They’re not as motivated by money as the Millennials and many would choose a strong purpose in a role over higher pay. To keep them inspired, have a clear mission statement tied to a real purpose (we’re talking social change, working for a more sustainable future etc.).
In-line with this is their desire to be recognized for the work they do and feel that their ideas are valued. Make sure to give regular feedback and try to build an open and communicative environment where they can easily contribute ideas.
It’s all in the balance
This one’s a whopper! This generation expect to have flexi-time, hot-desking and remote working opportunities. Being chained to a desk from 9-5 just isn’t necessary to them – remember they grew up in the digital era, the world is a different place to them, and being connected can happen from anywhere. Attract and motivate them with purpose, culture and flexibility.
Gen Z will challenge businesses to rethink the way they operate. They demand more than just flexible working hours and casual dress policies. If businesses don’t allow for creativity, growth and balance Gen Z will simply switch off. Their high levels of self-confidence, curiosity and a positive work attitude, could offer great rewards, with the right infrastructure and support.
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Interested in better understanding and investing in the youth of today? Recruiters, managers, HR people, talent and early careers specialists.