When I say Millennials, what’s the first thing that crosses your mind? It’s probably young people in their 20s that have just graduated from college and starting their professional careers. Unfortunately, I’ll have to disappoint you. Millennials were born somewhere 1981-1996, meaning that most of them are today well into adulthood.
Yet, there is a new generational cohort taking over the workplace – 61 million individuals called Generation Z. They have already outnumbered Millennials and their number is projected to 84.7 million by 2020.
Born between 1996 and 2010s, this is a highly diverse demographic that has different values, goals, and priorities than Millennials.
Here is how Gen Z employees are transforming the workplace and a few reasons why you should hire them.
Millennials are often defined as a job-hopping generation.
According to Gallup, 21% of them have changed their jobs in the past year, while 60% of them are constantly hunting for better professional opportunities. The 2019 Millennial Manager Workplace Survey explains the reason behind such chronic job-hopping – 75% of Millennials emphasize that changing jobs helps them improve their careers. However, these rules don’t apply to Gen Z. Having grown up in times of economic and political unsteadiness, their perceptions of the workplace have changed a lot. Most of them were born post-9/11 and raised during the Great Recession. Given that, it’s not surprising at all that they’re looking for stable, future-proof jobs, mostly in the tech and health care sector. Their priorities are better growth opportunities, job security, flexible working hours, and healthcare benefits. For you, this is an opportunity to increase employee retention and, therefore, reduce the cost of losing top employees.
Millennials are tech-savvy employees. Generation Z members are, on the other hand, digital natives. Born and raised in the evolving digital era, they don’t know life without fast internet connections, AI, or smartphones. This, for sure, impacts their daily use of technology. Research says that 96% of Gen Z’ers own smartphones. They use roughly 5 devices daily, including smartphones, laptops, TVs, desktops, and tablets. Over 50% of them spend more than 10 hours daily on electronic devices and are connected almost constantly.
When working, Gen Z employees observe technology as a tool, not a toy. They emphasize the importance of an organization’s technological sophistication. According to some recent studies, 91% of Gen Z candidates expect a company to be digitized and that’s the factor that determines whether they would accept the job.
They’re adopting new technologies faster, so you can always expect them to pick up new tech trends and start contributing faster to your company. Provide them with the omnichannel work environment, where they can communicate and access files in real-time, irrespective of their location. Building a cloud-based and mobile-ready company will benefit you in multiple ways. In addition to making your Gen Z staff happier, you will also streamline many of your workplace activities and increase the overall workplace flexibility and productivity.
Establishing a solid rewards program is key to making employees happy and retaining them. And, that’s logical. Talented workers who pour their hearts into every project they get expect to be recognized and rewarded for their hard work.
And, this is where hiring Gen Z talent can help. Even though 70% of them say that a competitive salary and health insurance are their main motivators, this generational cohort is success-oriented. They are ready to spend more hours working if they’re going to be rewarded. They take responsibility for their careers and want to improve both personally and professionally all the time. More than 76% of them consider themselves responsible for their professional achievements.
This opens the doors to new opportunities for rewarding employees. For example, knowing that Gen Z workers are pragmatic and yet, they appreciate the direct and personalized approach, you should go beyond the traditional cash bonuses. Why not give away Visa gift cards or coupons they can use at their favorite stores?
They’re also motivated by the opportunities to grow. So, instead of cast, provide innovative learning and career advancement opportunities. For example, 75% of them want to have multiple roles in an organization, so show you value their motivation and make them a part of all major projects.
These are some core values that will work with the rest of your staff, too.
I’ve mentioned that Generation Z is the first fully digital generation of workers. But, does this impact their social skills? No. On the contrary, 37% of them are concerned about the impact on technology on their abilities to build and nurture stronger interpersonal relationships.
Most importantly, they crave real-live connections. They seek a collaborative environment, focused on face-to-face and transparent communications.
This applies to relationships between managers and employees, as well. They don’t expect you to manage them – they want you to be their mentor. Stats say that 40% of them expect daily interactions with their boss and, if this is not so, they believe they’ve done something wrong.
For any company, especially a young one, it’s a priority to strengthen employee relationships. Employing Generation Z staff that are yearning for human interaction in the workplace may be a good starting point. Get to know them and prove you appreciate them as individuals. Ask them for advice, communicate daily, and provide constructive feedback. Above all, be honest and transparent. Positive and team-friendly surroundings will not only boost your Gen Z employees’ satisfaction, but also improve the overall workplace communications.
I’ve already mentioned that Gen Z is less motivated by money. They’re highly socially conscious. They don’t accept traditional gender roles. Instead, they will eagerly fight for racial and sexual differences.
Statistics say that 63% of Gen Z employees believe that it’s important to work with people with different education and skill levels. A great majority of them also believes that creating culturally diverse teams is also a key element to a successful team.
These are all characteristics that will help you boost your company culture and position yourself as a socially conscious employer brand. Most importantly, a diverse team would also help you improve top talent retention. For example, did you know that 69% of Millennials claim that they would stay at a diverse company for more than 5 years?
Legions of Gen Z employees are entering the workplace. And, if not hiring them, you will soon lose a competitive advantage. When recruiting and managing Gen Z’ers, it’s important to get to know them. Understand what they want – what their needs and values are. This is the only way to approach them properly and use their fresh insights to give your company a boost.
And, I hope these insights may serve as a solid starting point.
Jacob Wilson is a business consultant, and an organizational psychologist, based in Brisbane. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for Bizzmark blog.
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