Gen Z is Coming to Your Workplace; Are You Ready?

There has been a lot of discussion in recent years about Millennials and Generation X in the workplace. Now we are entering a season that requires employers to understand what to expect as Generation Z enters the workforce. There’s a lot to consider as it relates to their preferences, expectations and behaviors in a technologically driven world that’s hyper-connected. Let’s delve into this topic further.

Technology and Human Interaction

Despite the fact that Generation Z is the first generation that’s considered fully digital, they still desire human interaction in the workplace. However, this doesn’t diminish the importance placed on technology. While they value and expect a high-tech environment, they also prefer teams that are collaborative. More than 70 percent of Generation Z employees want to have in-person, face-to-face communication at work. They also seek positive relationships and supportive leaders.

Work-Life Balance

An increasing number of young workers report feeling burned out at much greater levels than older generations. Subsequently, many Gen Z workers require a more concentrated focus on work-life balance. To put things into perspective, younger workers are about 60 percent more likely to call in sick, and they’re far more likely to quit. These statistics are attributed to them feeling overwhelmed and wanting a life that’s more harmonious.

As an employer, there are innovative ways to address this issue, such as offering flexible schedules, fostering a healthy work environment and creating a family-friendly workplace. You should also engage with the corporate culture frequently to understand what’s effective and what isn’t working.

Professional Development

Professional development in years past has often consisted of group training sessions onsite, offsite seminars and courses taken at colleges. While these are all resources that still work for training personnel, the way Gen Z professionals learn is different. They tend to approach learning, knowledge-sharing and problem-solving in a way that leverages new and emerging technologies.

It’s not uncommon for Generation Z to leverage online educational platforms to take a course in a self-directed capacity. They are more likely to prefer independent learning than group learning. This has evolved from a tendency to use search engines like Google to find just about any information needed. Employers will need to take advantage of learning and professional development tools that are easy to access anywhere, and at any time.

Talent Recruitment

Prior generations learned about available positions and the companies that offered them through job announcements on websites like Monster and Indeed. However, that’s changing with Generation Z. They’re more likely to learn about a company through YouTube and popular social media platforms. Some of the socials used by Generation Z to learn about a company when seeking employment is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Glassdoor and even Snapchat.

Companies that don’t take advantage of these platforms to build a presence might end up struggling to identify top talent in the coming years. Just as with other aspects of consumer engagement, employers will need to attract Generation Z through the development of a robust presence on multiple socials.

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion is important to Generation Z. In fact, more than 60 percent believe it’s important to have co-workers with diverse skills and education, while 20 percent value working with people from different cultures, origins and ethnic backgrounds. Professionals that fall into the Generation Z category understand that inclusion drives innovation and performance across industries. A company that demonstrates a commitment to diversity is more likely to attract and maintain quality candidates.

Nearly 80 percent of Generation Z has reported that a company’s diversity will affect their decision to apply for and accept a position. Additionally, nearly 70 percent of Millennials have indicated a willingness to remain employed with a company that values diversity.

Importance of Feedback

The evaluation process in most organizations is used to provide feedback on performance. It’s something that usually happens after the first 90 days, and then every six months or annually thereafter. While this is still an effective way to provide feedback to many employees, it’s a different story when it comes to Gen Z. Instead of waiting to provide feedback, they want to know right away. For instance, if a task is performed at a level that’s satisfactory, they want to know about it. In fact, a large percentage of Generation Z professionals want to know about their performance throughout the day.

Failure to provide ongoing feedback about the performance of a Generation Z professional can lead to dissatisfaction, which can result in them quitting. While it might be nearly impossible to provide feedback all day long, it’s wise for supervisors to check in every couple of weeks, at a minimum. It doesn’t have to be a complicated or drawn out process, it can be as simple as a short email or text message, depending on the culture of your business.