They’re a fresh generation, a new breed. Generation Z (born 1995 or later) or also known as the Post-millennials or iGeneration are finally entering the workforce. Completely different from their previous cohorts, Generation Y (born in the early 80s to mid-90s) or stamped as the millennials, Gen Z individuals are early starters, determined and innovative. Some may argue by saying that they’re lazy, selfish and the digital whiz kids whose attention span is shorter than a goldfish; thanks to their digital proficiency but we beg to differ. We’ve unravelled some of the strengths Gen Zs can offer to the workforce. It will be discussed further in this article.
At present, millennials are known for their ability to do things differently. Inspiring startups and new office trends or policies, such as working remotely and open office plans, when they joined and excelled in the workforce. The birth of Facebook from famous millennial Mark Zuckerberg as well as Elite Daily from Gerard Adams, fondly known as ‘The Millennial Mentor’, set the tone for a generation that worked with grit, interest and passion. They were the pioneers of having ‘new rules for old rules’.
This brings us to our main topic, the introduction of Gen Z to the workforce. Understanding the entry of a new generation after the millennials is vital for organisations; big or small. Organisations need to know how to adjust to their work expectations, entice them to take up job opportunities, train them and retain them.
Strengths of Generation Z
Unlike the other generations, they are quick learners hence adaptability to new tasks and skills isn’t an issue for them. Thanks to apps like Snapchat, Instagram and Vine, they’re accustomed to absorbing information almost instantaneously. Working in a fast-paced environment will be a challenge they crave for.
They’ll do work more systematically too, with tools that enhance their work. For example, a Gen Z marketing executive who is active on his or her own social media accounts will be able to execute the company’s social media strategies with ease, without much hands-on training on the applications. Their knowledge on creating engaging posts will come almost second nature. Potential employers need only worry about guiding them through understanding the brand image and reputation.
Goal-Oriented and Realistic
Indecisiveness is not in their DNA. Often times, they already know what they aim for and they will work hard to get it. They’re interested to look for job stability and don’t want to job hop as much as their seniors. They don’t mind growing with a company and learning the tricks of the trade from their leaders. Surprisingly, a big salary isn’t on their main wish-list as an employee. They know times are hard and it’s good enough getting employed.
“I want to work in a company where they train you from day one. It shows that they care enough to teach the newbies so they can also contribute to the company.” – Kieran C., 21
Competitive and Independent
Their biggest competition is themselves. They usually put their goal-setting dreams against their own performance. Unlike the previous generations, they are comfortable doing things on their own or as a group. They are multi-taskers by nature.
They can be seen using more than one screen at work and on their headphones while replying to workgroup chats. You need not spoon-feed them with information because they will most likely find it beforehand. Albeit their independence, they also appreciate being coached and mentored. Through coaching and mentoring, Gen Zs feel more connected, confident and will perform better.
Innovative and Social
Born in the social era, they don’t mind standing out and creating a legacy that stands out. Part of their societal nature is to think outside the box and be unique. With their extensive networks and countless resources, they are exposed to various styles, ideas and inspirations. From there, they start to develop ideas which can elevate their personal branding. This makes them valuable assets to an organisation because they are able to see beyond the norm to fit the norm.
“Getting hired is a privilege, especially in this day and age. I think it’s important to find a stable job and cultivate your skills within the company before starting your own business. People my age are fast learners and are people-people. We like using new tools, new applications and being part of new ideas with interesting people.” – Jasmine Empiang, 20
How Will Companies Adapt to the Change?
With these core strengths of the Gen Z presented, how will organisations adapt to the new breed? Other than tweaking job scopes, enhancing work environment, and investing in newer technology – simple, address the fundamentals.
Give them an overview of the future. Gen Zs want to know what’s in it for them in the long run. They want to visualise their career paths and know that they’re in good hands. They care about career advancement and personal development as much as their seniors. Monthly meetings to discuss work and issues pertaining to work make a good start as team leaders will learn how to communicate better with the younger employees and vice versa. Managers should also conduct appraisals and give real-time feedback on a regular basis to keep employee performance in check.
At the same time, offer a platform where people can contribute to the society; no matter big or small. Gen Zs adore the community connections. HR departments or hiring managers can plan for company activities that give back to the community to raise this interest, for example, street feeding, charity sales or building houses under disaster relief programmes. Whatever it may be, it’s the shared happiness that matters.
In conclusion, the future is in the right hands of aspiring Gen Zs and established Gen Ys. To achieve balance in the workplace through the new wave is a collective responsibility. Organisations must understand new needs and existing senior employees must adapt to modern technology and the methodology; including their relationship with a generation potentially smarter than them. On top of that, hiring managers or HR departments need to be proactive in search of these new talents to elevate an organisation’s structure and growth.