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The Next Generation: Who are They and What do They Need?

The next generation: Generation Z. Classified as people who were born between 1995 to 2014, are quickly entering the workforce. Making up just ⅕ of the working population for now. However, don’t mistake them as being the same as Millennials. Although the two generations are closely associated to each other due to technology, Gen Z doesn’t know a world without internet. Also called digital natives, this group of young people are a bit different than their predecessors in what they expect from their employers. Let’s look into what makes Gen Z different from the others in order for employers to be able to successfully lead a multigenerational organization.

Tied to a screen or social butterflies?

We assume that being digital natives means that they would prefer to interact with each other via a screen, but think again. This generation prefers to have face-to-face conversations and also wants to receive feedback more regularly than any other group. 40% of Gen Z workers reported that they want to check-in with their boss everyday.

Not only do they want to be in constant contact with their boss, but they want to have good relationships with their coworkers. In a survey, Gen Z workers said that supportive leadership, and positive relationships at work are the two most important things for them. With the uprising in coworking spaces, and open offices, Gen Z people want to make sure they’re friends with those around them in order to collaborate.

Do they seem like social butterflies? Well, they sure do love social media. 79% of Gen Zers reported that they look at company social media accounts before making a purchasing decision. This is also true for where they work. In order to attract the most talented of this group, employers are going to have to step up their social media campaigns. Posting positions on social media is a given too. With community management, social media is a great recruiting tool.

Another thing that Gen Z expects in the workplace is flexible work hours. Working from home is a new norm for this generation, and although they crave collaboration and face-to-face conversations, they are looking for flexible work hours to make sure that they have a good work life balance. As a generation that’s always “connected” responding to emails from their phones are seen as a norm and are not seen as intrusive or a hassle, especially with work messaging apps like Slack. Employers should, however, be cognizant of work addiction and be able to recognize the signs of a at risk employee.

In conclusion

With every generation comes new expectations and opinions, but these should all be taken with a grain of salt. We need to remember that not everyone’s the same, and this is merely a generalization. With that being said, knowing the tendencies and the history behind how the generation was brought up, can help managers tremendously when trying to understand the employees’ perspective. With generation Z slowly trickling into the workforce, be prepared to welcome them with open arms!

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