Move over Millennials – you are no longer the singular topic of conversation in the workplace. Gen Z is rapidly joining the workforce, with the oldest members of the generation being 23 years-old. (Demographers typically use birth years between 1995 and 2005.) By 2020, Gen Zers will comprise 36 percent of the global workforce, so it’s in your best interest as a leader to understand who they are and what makes them tick.
Gen Z 101
– They are Digital Natives who expect strategic use of software and technology in the workplace, as they are the first generation to grow up entirely in an internet-centric society.
– The flipside of their technological competence will likely be a decrease in soft skills, such as written and verbal communication. In addition, they can be impatient, as they desire instant results (thank you, Internet and instant messaging).
– Texting is their preferred communication mode, followed by social media interaction.
– They have little regard for personally meeting their friends and developing relationships. They are capable of making huge, diverse communities and have massive collaborations using the Internet without knowing anyone personally.
– Although they may not do very well in the area of public speaking, they want to have a voice in the workplace and be heard.
– Many are concerned about privacy and student debt, as this generation is faced with increased college costs and a shrinking middle-class.
– They self-identify as being loyal, compassionate, thoughtful, open-minded, responsible, determined, and risk-averse.
WHAT CAN I DO? Knowledge is power. Having a basic understanding of this generation should help you better deal with their needs, which in part include: more software and technology, workplace texting, an online forum to speak up, soft-skills training, and student debt assistance. You need to take care of and develop your future leaders, so get going!
Jill Christensen is an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She is a Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who?, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth. Jill can be reached at +1.303.999.9224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.