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Gen Z in the workplace: what you need to know

Gen Z – the next generation of workers

Gen Z is the next generation of workers and leaders, and they are already making their mark on the workplace. Data shows that by 2025, Gen-Z workers will make up 27% of the workforce. Gen Z (also known as “iGen”) have grown up with technology and it has shaped their lives in many ways – from what they buy to how they communicate with people. Their use of computers, tablets, smartphones and other devices means that they expect everything to be fast, easy-to-use, visually appealing and social by nature. The same can be said for how they want to work. Let’s take a look at some key characteristics that set Gen Z apart from previous generations.

Generation Z are considered the most entrepreneurial generation yet

Gen Z (or those born between 1995 and 2010) are hailed as the most entrepreneurial generation yet. They’re also the most diverse and connected generation in history. Gen Z has been described as “digital natives,” meaning they never knew a world without technology (they were born into it). And because of that, Gen Z is the most digitally savvy generation to date.

This group grew up during a time of massive global change—a time when people around the world were becoming more connected than ever before thanks to technology like smartphones and social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. Thanks to these factors, Generation Z has a unique perspective on life: they know nothing but being connected 24/7; they believe that everyone deserves equal rights; they expect everything from their employers (and bosses).

“When it comes to certain values, attitudes and expectations, there may be some significant differences in how members of different generations approach their lives, especially in the space of work.” Forbes, 2021

They will bring strong digital skills to the workplace

You’ll notice that the landscape of Gen Z workers is already different from that of previous generations. Because they’ve grown up with digital skills, Gen Z will bring a certain level of digital fluency to their new jobs.  Gen Z is a highly savvy workforce.  When starting their first job, almost every Gen Zer will be skilled and knowledgeable in the digital space.  They will be accomplished at social media and easily able to learn sophisticated programs that they’ll need to do their job.

To illustrate how important digital skills are for today’s workplace, here are some examples:

Writing code for web applications or mobile apps

Designing websites and landing pages using HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript

Creating graphic design images using Adobe Photoshop or InDesign

Developing computer programs (web apps) by writing in C++/JavaScript/PHP

It is therefore vital for employers to have up to date workplace technology that supports this skillset or it’s likely they’ll be disappointed.

What does Gen Z want from work?

Gen Z want autonomy, project-based work and flexible hours

They’re more likely to work for themselves than previous generations. They’re more likely to take on freelance work. They’re more likely to be self-employed. They’re more likely to start their own businesses. They’re also more likely to work remotely. According to McCrindle Gen Z’s are expected to work 18 jobs across 6 careers and live in 15 homes in their lifetime. A study found that 58% of Gen Z workers were willing to work nights and weekends if it meant achieving a higher salary.

They expect their work to be purposeful and meaningful

While Gen Zers may have grown up in a digital age, they still want a real-world job that has meaning. A recent study by Gallup found that 70% of college students said they would rather work for a small business than a large corporation because of the opportunity to make an impact on society. It’s also important for them to see how their work impacts others—62% said being able to do so was important. They want it all: flexibility, creative license, purposeful careers with lots of opportunities for growth and fostering relationships with co-workers who feel like family members.

They need a strong employer brand

A strong employer brand is essential to Gen Z’s success. This means not only knowing what you are looking for and posting job openings, but also showing that you care about your employees and understand their needs and cater for these.

Gen Z employees want regular feedback and development opportunities

They need to know how they are doing, and what they need to do to improve. When it comes to feedback, 60% of Gen Z workers want direct, frequent communications and check-ins with their supervisors for performance evaluation.  They also want to know how their performance is measured, so that they can track their progress over time. This all adds up to a desire for regular conversations around career growth and development plans.

How employers can adapt for Gen Z

Companies need to provide a good experience for Gen Z or risk losing out on talent and innovation.  Whether you’re an employee or a company looking to hire new talent, there are key things you need to know in order to attract and retain Gen Z:

An experience worth sharing on social media

According to LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, “Gen Z needs to see their career as something worth sharing on social media.” Understand that this generation of workers grew up using social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram (two sites where employers can post jobs) so it’s imperative as an employer or employee that you create content that will resonate with them!

Flexibility

It’s important that your workplace offers flexible work environments so that employees can balance both personal time with work obligations whenever necessary (especially since half of all millennials have children).   According to recent research by Rainmaker Thinking, over 46% of Gen Z won’t take a job without flexibility.

Facilitate collaboration

Workplaces should also offer collaborative spaces where teams can meet online face-to-face instead of relying solely upon e-mail correspondence between colleagues who may live far apart geographically speaking; this helps promote team building activities by providing opportunities for one another outside of normal working hours which ultimately improves productivity levels within departments around campus too!  Being set up for hybrid working is a must.

In summary

Companies need to be prepared for the challenges and opportunities that Gen Z brings to the table. They will bring a fresh perspective and different expectations from previous generations, so it’s important that businesses are ready for them. The good news is that using means like Virtual and Hybrid Events, Virtual Meetings, Online Presentations and spaces for online collaborative working, there is still time for companies large and small to prepare for this generation takeover!  Through continuous education, training programs, collaborative online workspaces and career development opportunities, employees can evolve with the company as needs change over time.

Contact us today to discuss how our market leading collaborative workplace solutions can help your organisation engage with Gen Z and the future workforce.

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