Gen Zs are sending in job applications. Are you ready for them?
The Millennials have been the centre of discussions for years. They are currently known as the most researched generation, and many conclusions have been made with the purpose of understanding how they are shaping the present.
Ironically, with a large pile of positive and negative findings, some honest parents and employers would still admit that they still can’t fully grasp the minds of this cohort yet. Nonetheless, time does not wait. The murmurs about the millennials are slowly fading as we welcome a whole new generation that would make us all confused again.
Ready or not, here comes Gen Z.
Generation Z (Gen Z) are generally categorized as those who are born from 1997 onwards; the youngest of the 5 generations that are active in today's economy. While Gen Y and Gen Z have a sizable set of similarities on the surface, studies have shown that their outlook and response to life situations are indeed different. This is no surprise, as both generations have experienced a different period of history. The impact of different historical events will cause the development of different culture, core beliefs, values and mindset.
Thus, although Gen Z comes right after the Millennials, there is a fine line of difference in the way they perceive the world around them.
At this point, the oldest Gen Z is 22 years old and they are starting to invade the workplace. So what does this mean for us as employers? It's time for us to understand their persona, motivations, behaviour and needs in order to create a progressive working environment for our organization as a whole.
Here are a few things you need to know to create value for your Gen Z employees.
They crave frequent feedback, ASAP.
Gen Z is very socially conscious and they have a strong desire to receive feedback and provide their opinions. In fact, 84 % of Gen Z has rated this with high importance when they’re choosing a job.
The keywords here are frequent and fast. Let’s be real, we are in the midst the age of anxiety, the need for speed is making Gen Z (ahem, everyone) more impatient, anxious and we can’t deny that our current virtual social environment has nurtured Gen Z’s need for instant gratification.
They get excited about a picture, they post it, and if they don’t get X number of likes by X time, they get emotionally affected.
Believe it or not, this matters in the workplace. Now that they are in your organization, they need you to assure them as frequently as possible, that they’re doing a good job.
Your commitment to come alongside them with constructive feedback makes them feel seen and recognized, which creates a sense of purpose and heightens engagement.
This calls for organizations to be more intentional in their mentorship to cultivate a workplace with learning and development opportunities for young working professionals.
They prefer you to talk with them, face to face.
You might be thinking “What? But their eyes and fingers are glued to their phones!”
You’re right! But that’s their habit. Human habit does not always reflect their core desire. In other words, the common belief that Gen Z doesn’t value face-to-face interaction is false. Research shows that 74% of employees would choose real-time conversations and collaborative brainstorm in meetings over emails and group text messages.
This is easier said than done, especially when you have a hectic schedule. But whenever it’s necessary, walk over to them to relay your message. Encourage your teams to have weekly meetings - short and sweet. So that each employee gets to voice out their thoughts and findings. In the long run, this will encourage Gen Z to take ownership of their work. Making your young workers feel heard will help them to understand that they are not just here to take instruction, but to contribute as well.
Good company culture as such will translate into authentic human connections.
Question: How hard do you fight to maintain your company’s culture, without letting your external appointments get in the way?
They have different working styles.
As the saying goes, you have to stay relevant to the generation. The other option you have is to be left behind. Are there practices you’re prohibiting that has actual potential to boost their productivity and eventually work performance?
We’ve heard of some companies that forbid the usage of headphones with the reason that Spotify is a distraction. That’s not true! In fact, research has shown that music is a source of motivation to be productive and a contributing solution to fight high-stress levels, which has been predicted to be the biggest obstacle to performance improvement in the future workplace. Currently, stress has been called “the health epidemic of the 21st Century; 37% of Gen Z feels hindered in their development due to stress and looming burn out.
Companies need to realize this - no matter how innovative you pride your company to be, outdated policies, strict roles and top-down management will be your downfall.
Learn to explore flexibility within your organizations! Exp: remote work, role customization and performance-boosting perks. Employers who recognize the distinct advantages of emerging mobile social and networking technologies will eventually thrive.
They want to be trained.
You assumed that they have the ‘know-it-all’ attitude? Think again.
94% of Gen Z admit to light up with motivation when they have learning opportunities, in comparison to previous generations. Continual learning and development (L&D) is a key to maintaining a progressive, productive workforce in every organization.
Since Gen Z are accustomed to digital learning, the best kind of training a company can offer is a mix of in-person and digital corporate training programme. But then the next question would be: what type of skill should your organization focus on developing?
No matter what industry you’re in, this is a tip for you to take away:
"The importance for people to be always learning throughout their career, the importance of collaborating, developing those higher-order cognitive skills, where you can interpret, analyse, make connections between seemingly different pieces of information, and persuade others of your argument, that you can provide good service and insight, that you can emphasise, and care, and be concerning of others. These are skills that are going to be in greater demand than ever."
- John Fallon, CEO, PEARSON
If you’re a digital marketing agency (like us), you’d understand that digital transformation is reshaping every aspect of a business organization by integrating digital technology into all processes, and our workforce needs to be equipped with future-ready skill sets. The perfect training will thus be a strong mix of hard and soft skills to embrace the upcoming industry trends.
Our solution is Certification Day. Let us explain more to you - watch the video below!
Trust us - your commitment to grooming your talent will translate into an upgrade of creativity in your deliverables to serve your clients’ needs.
Prioritize education and mentorship. After your Gen Z worker completes a course, sit them down to share their takeaways. This way, managers can solidify the young workers’ new theoretical knowledge with real-life experiences.
Your dedication to understand their challenges, and mentorship to help them reach their goals will lessen turnovers, and increase their zeal to serve your company (and clients) better.
Understanding everyone's journey is a key pillar of digital transformation.
One of the biggest stereotypes about Gen Z, is that they are “Millenials on steroids”. Carrying that mindset, many employers have tried to use back the strategies they’ve applied on Millenials with a ‘fresher appeal’ in hopes to relate and reach the younger cohort.
Nonetheless, as much as they may follow the footsteps of the Millenials, we need to accept the fact that Gen Z is a distinct cohort with their own set of preferences, concerns, priorities and goals.
Worry not! Strive to understand your new Gen Z employees. Here’s a FREE guide on practical ways that’ll help you to engage with them.
It’s all about building good relationships. Don’t see them as a code to crack, see them as a seed that will eventually grow and bear great fruits under your care and nurture!