How to Work with Gen Z
By TRISOFT team
The children of Generation X and predecessors of Generation Alpha, born between roughly 1995 and 2015, are now finishing school and about to come work for or with you. But what should you know about this new workforce that will soon become the majority in most offices, so that you may work well together?
They are the first completely digital generation — technology already existed when they were born and they grew up with a device in their hand, therefore most of their lives revolve around mobile phones and the Internet. They socialize via their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, watch YouTube for hours on end, make TikTok videos for fun, find love on dating apps and jobs on LinkedIn.
Generation Z literally does not remember a time when computers didn’t exist, so they expect the company that employs them to have a strong online and social media presence, otherwise they will feel alienated and consider the business obsolete or out of touch with reality.
The lessons of hardship
They also grew up during a time of recession, in a world affected by acts of terrorism, financial uncertainty and societal turmoil. Therefore, they tend to be more pragmatic and focused on saving money, searching for jobs that offer a high salary, stability, security and opportunities for growth.
Gen Z looks for benefits such as great health coverage, paid leave, promotions, a great retirement plan and learning opportunities that will serve them throughout their lives. They don’t just focus on the here-and-now, but tend to plan ahead as well, prioritizing things that offer constancy and dependability in the long run.
Generation Z is also very independent and this mindset is reflected in the way they work — they found out a lot of things on the Internet, learned how to do all sorts of odd tasks from DIY videos and took matters into their own hands from a young age.
But this independence comes at a cost: they also expect an advantageous work-personal life balance. They are flexible, hard-working and driven, but they expect freedom, flexibility and independent work from their employer as well. They long for flexible hours, remote work and the freedom to customize their responsibilities and duties.
Gen Z believes in handling issues and finding solutions themselves rather than being given the answer. They need a space that allows for exploration and to know where to go for support if they need it, such a coach or trainer, rather than a boss. Gen Z values independence so much that traditional top-down management will seem stifling and drive them out of the company in a heartbeat.
In fact, Generation Z is mostly entrepreneurial — they want to start and own their businesses, be self-employed and hire others to work for them. As a result, Gen Z-ers are less focused on traditional career milestones such as graduating from college, getting a diploma and going to work. They may start a few small businesses in high school, then get a job, and then get a degree online.
Nevertheless, you can get them into your office through copyright or collaboration contracts — thus, they have the best of both worlds: they are their own boss and have a reliable job at a company as well.
The Millennials turned into parents
Whereas their parents, the Millennials, were team-oriented, Gen Z members tend to be competitive, also a result of the fact that they grew up in times of uncertainty, when they had to prove they were best as something in order to pick up the rewards. They witnessed the downfall of the economy and saw their parents struggle with money issues, therefore they strive for promotion, raises and bonuses as much as they strive for appreciation, recognition and positive feedback.
Yet, although they are a preponderantly tech generation, they also value face-to-face, human connection. They need and try to make friends with colleagues and managers, but will successfully separate this personal connection from what happens when two of them compete for the same position within the company.
The most open-minded so far
Generation Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse yet, and growing up in such an environment has also made them more open-minded. Remember: during their lifetime, many countries legalized gay marriage, Barrack Obama became the first black president in the history of the USA, and various social movements demanded equal rights for women and people of color.
It’s no surprise, then, that they have adopted liberal attitudes and will stand up against inequality of any kind, whether directed at them or others. For Gen Z-ers, diversity is the norm, not a workforce goal or trend. They see the world from a much more global perspective and consider themselves to be members of a global community, so they expect businesses to reflect their experience and worldview.
Get ready for them
Generation Z knows what it wants and demands a lot from employers — but they also offer a great deal in return: hard work, long hours, innovation, tech-savviness, cooperation and drive. As they spend more time in the workforce, they will continue to change how companies function, as well as the labor market in general.
At TRISOFT, we think it’s time to prepare, because if you don’t already have one working in your office right now, you will soon enough, and in a matter of years, they will eventually become the majority.