Generation Z in the workplace

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Generation Z in the workplace gives a competitive edge for any organization as the future of their work depends on three factors including:

  1. How the nature of work will change: How much work will get automated or outsourced in the future? Will AI technologies play a role in this?
  2. Where will the work get done: The Covid-19 pandemic has proven that remote work can also replace office work. What’s important is finding the right balance of which technologies, processes, and practices are best for the organization.
  3. Who will do the work: Currently millennials share the major workload of the organizations, but the future of organizations is in the hands of Gen Z who will overtake the majority of the workforce in the next two decades.

Let’s start by understanding this generation. Generation Z refers to those people that were born in the late 1990s or later. This is currently the youngest generation of the planet, also called Gen-tech, I-generation, or post-Millenials. 

This means that this generation is newly joining or going to join organizations in large numbers within the next few years. Research also projected that generation Z is going to be the quarter of global income by 2030, only increasing from thereon. Furthermore, this generation has not seen a world without the internet and is intimately acclimatized to a social and highly interconnected world.

Therefore, organizations would not only need to understand the patterns of this generation but also need to focus on how this generation will change the future of the organization and its workforce based on their own worldviews.   

Recruitment and Generation Z in the workplace:

When it comes to the process of recruitment, Gen Z who has always been used to using their phones and laptops would prefer to go through the entire application process on their devices.

What’s worrisome for recruiters is the trend from recent research that 83 percent of today’s students agree that three years or less is the appropriate amount of time to spend at any first job and over 25 percent believe that amount to be even less than a year.

This is majorly due to the fact that Gen Z is far more entrepreneurial than any other previous generation and hence, they have the confidence to leave a traditional job to start their own venture. They also show more interest in smaller gigs and projects where they can enjoy their freedom. Even researchers suggest that freedom, career growth, learning, personal well-being, and flexibility are determining factors for today’s generation to work in an organization.

Therefore, managers need to rethink how to give this workforce sufficient freedom so that they will stay in the organization. 

Three efficient ways management can prepare organizations for this new generation are: 

  1. Prepare Millennials for managing Gen Z:  

As Gen Z will enter the workforce, they will be managed by Milleannials who enter their late 20s or early 30s, this will be an interesting dynamic for the growth of Gen Z as Millennials are the closest to them in terms of age, they can relate to them somewhat more than with other generations.

Both millennial and Gen Z have high levels of confidence and a “can-do” attitude at work. What differs is that Gen Z seems to be a little more realistic in terms of expectations and have a much stronger desire within them to make their ideas and opinions heard in the management and meetings. 

Hence, organizations have to coach millennial managers so that they can create opportunities for Gen Z employees to showcase their fresh perspective for helping them secure a bright future within the company. 

  1. Encouraging flexibility, remote work, and freedom:

As flexibility and autonomy are two of the five biggest attributes Gen Z seeks in an organization, Gen Z will put pressure on organizations to provide and facilitate a flexible work environment and conditions. 

Hence, organizations need to find creative ways to introduce a wide range of flexibility into their space. Building private spaces to think, open spaces to relax and connect with nature, and social spaces in technology-rich environments will be the key factors in building a work environment that is attractive to Gen Z.

Furthermore, providing enough flexibility to choose working hours and spaces where employees feel more comfortable working including remote work does work wonders for this new generation.

  1. Diversity and values:

Diversity matters to Gen Z through many dimensions, not just related to race and gender, but also related to their identity and orientation. 

It is also the most likely generation to have individuals that normalized mental health issues, respects diversity, and work on personal development. Hence, organizations need to work on policies that cater to these issues and build an environment that not only helps Gen Z but also Millennials.

Gen Z no longer forms their opinion about the organization on the basis of the quality of their product or services, but they focus on what ethics, practices, and social impact the organization has in the world. With nearly 77 percent of Gen Z suggesting that they prefer organizations whose values align with them, organizations will need to highlight their efforts to be good global citizens.

Gen Z will soon surpass millennials in the population as well as the workforce and they have different sets of technology skills, values, beliefs, priorities, and expectations from the organization. Therefore, understanding what matters to Gen Z will be crucial to an organization’s success, hence, they will need to prepare and make plans today to win tomorrow.  

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