While millennials still make up about 75% of the current workforce, Gen Z is slowly making its way in to transform the workplace, Laura Gayle, Business Woman Guide, discusses here
Born between a loose range of 1995 and 2010, Gen Z members now are between the ages of nine and 23. The focus of the workplace in recent years has been solely on millennials — how to attract these workers and keep them. Now, the focus has begun to shift, with that attention spreading to the incoming cohort of new talent. It’s true that Gen Zers and millennials are alike in many ways, but there are still ways in which they are different. This generation will change the workplace in several areas.
New strategies to attract top talent
To attract Gen Z employees, you’ll need to focus recruiting efforts on how your company stands out from the rest and what makes it fun and unique. Gen Z is focused less on a benefits package and more about their day-to-day experiences, so market your organisation as one where they won’t be just another number. Give them a reason to come in every day and show them they’re working for a great company. Gen Z employees want value immediately instead of a promise to climb the ranks.
Choosing different training methods
Gen Z employees need to work on many of the skills baby boomers and millennials to take for granted. While they are extremely tech-savvy and can boost your business with their speed in accessing new programs, these children of helicopter parents require training in critical thinking and face-to-face communication. These workers may be unprepared for jobs in sales or customer service, where interpersonal relationships and direct communication skills are a must, so be prepared to help them, for example, get over their anxiety when removed from social media.
Office layout and culture
Millennial-friendly office layouts have opened up spaces where workers are free to interact and collaborate on projects. Gen Z workers prefer a balance between group and individual work, both space-wise and company culture-wise. An open-office concept is great, but providing additional offices where younger employees can work in private will allow them to showcase their own individual talents. They want to be offered opportunities to advance within the company based on their own performance.
Focus on technology
Gen Z grew up with smartphones in their hands. They know that smart devices and automation are where it’s at. To accommodate this view, consider installing voice-enabled devices that make it easier to add items to a calendar, manage tasks, schedule conference calls, and order supplies — all with simple voice commands, saving both time and money.
Also, consider upgrading your work area into a smart office. Furnish offices with smart desks that adjust back and forth between sitting and standing — some even send out notices when you’ve sat too long or stood too long, and other desks let employees compete against one another for healthy work activities.
Gen Z workers believe there are technological solutions to most problems. From calculating taxes on their smartphones to ordering groceries online, they’re comfortable multitasking and are always looking for faster, cheaper, easier ways to complete tasks through automation. For the customer interaction side of your business, consider artificial intelligence to track customers’ interactions with your company.
Many Gen Z workers watched as their parents fell victims to the great recession. In addition, they watched their millennial older siblings burdened with student loans and credit cards debts, so Gen Z tends to have greater levels of anxiety in relation to salaries and stability.
For these reasons, this group of workers is more motivated by money and stability than millennials. Gen Z employees crave a predictable paycheck, so once they find a workplace they like, they are likely to stay for a while — especially if the company allows lateral mobility, or the ability to switch jobs within the same firm. To attract younger workers, offer a great company reputation, job fluidity, and financial security for the long term.
Providing a challenge
Another way Gen Z differs from millennials in the workplace is that Gen Z has always been a part of a connected world (unlike millennials, many of whom can still remember dial-up internet access). Gen Zers are hypermobile multitaskers, used to navigating status updates through a dozen or more apps at once. They can switch between tasks quickly or focus deeply on one task for long periods. Provide this group of workers with plenty of different responsibilities to keep them happily engaged.
Because Gen Z workers and millennials are alike in so many ways, converting your office to accommodate workers from the two generations should be relatively easy. Just take the time to get to know what both groups want and try to reach a compromise between the two. The resulting talent and connections to your Gen Z and millennial customers will make you glad you did.