5 Traits of Gen Z in the Workplace
The youngest generation in the workplace, Gen Z (born between 1995- 2012) are entering their prime career years and are poised to make up 30% of the workforce by 2030. Known for being tech-savvy, Gen Zs have some unique traits that you should be aware of when managing them within the workplace.
Who are Gen Z
To understand the characteristics of Gen Z, you first must know who they are. Generation Z is the demographic cohort following millennials and preceding generation Alpha (aka Gen A).
Gen Zs are the first generation to grow up with social media and technology at their fingertips, which has had a huge impact on their worldview. They were also the first generation to grow up in the post 9/11 era and with other social movements such as Black Lives Matter which has shaped their attitudes towards security, politics and social causes.
They are also one of the most diverse generations to date and are more likely to be bi-lingual than previous generations.
- Gen Zs are Digital Natives
Gen Zs are the most connected generation, with 98% of them own a smartphone and spend an average of nearly 5 hours on their phones each day. They are used to connecting with others online, and using social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat to stay connected with friends and family. They are also used to navigating the internet and are very tech-savvy.
They are accustomed to using technology as an educational tool and are more willing than other generations to embrace new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).
If you're looking to upskill your workforce, try different e-learning tools to keep Gen Z engaged and interested. Tools such as online courses allow employees to learn in their own time, from anywhere they choose. This is important for Gen Z because it allows them to get the training they need when they need it, rather than being forced into a class at an inconvenient time.
Another way for companies to upskill their workforce is through AI tools. These tools can be used to automate repetitive tasks such as answering emails which will free up employees' time so they can focus on more important work instead.
- Gen Zs are Socially Conscious
Gen Zs are more socially conscious than previous generations and more likely to donate to charity. In fact, 32% of Gen Zs donate their money and 26% of young people aged 16-19 year olds volunteer on a regular basis. To attract this cohort, organisations need to look at incorporating benefits such as volunteer days and social causes into their recruitment strategies to attract this generation.
Gen Z are the most ethically diverse generation in history and diversity and inclusion matter to them. When looking for work, 69% of Gen Zs are more likely to apply for a job that emphasised racially and ethnically diverse work practises and 88% of Gen Zs think that it's important a recruiter or an employer asks for their preferred pronouns.
- Gen Zs want Feedback and Professional Development
Gen Zs also want to know how they are doing. They want to be challenged and recognised for their achievements, but also feel like they’re making a difference in the world.
So how do you give your Gen Z employees the recognition and feedback they want? The best way is through one-on-one check-ins with your employees. By setting aside time each week or month to focus on professional development, you can help guide your Gen Zs toward career success while keeping them motivated at work.
- Gen Zs are Values Driven
Gen Zs are interested in the bigger purpose of their jobs. They want to know how their work matters and what it contributes to society.
According to a LinkedIn survey, 80% of Gen Zs want to work for an organisation that aligns with their beliefs and they're not afraid to leave a job that doesn't reflect their values. Companies that are able to align their values with Gen Zs will have an edge over other business who don't.
So how can you help your Gen Z employees find meaning at work? By connecting them with non-profits and community organisations that share similar values as yours, you can give your Gen Zs a chance to make an impact outside of the office while helping them grow professionally at the same time.
5. Gen Zs want Flexibility
Gen Zs want flexibility in the workplace. They want to work where they want, when they want and with whom they want.
According to a survey of 1,000 Gen Z employees conducted by Deloitte and The Millennial Branding consultancy, 42% of Gen Zs say flexible work arrangements are important to them.
This is up from 35% of Millennials who said the same thing in a similar survey conducted in 2016. This indicated that Gen Zs value flexibility over other employment perks like paid time off or bonuses more than previous generations.
The survey also found that only 5% of Gen Z respondents said they would prefer working in an office every day — compared with 11% of Millennials who said they'd prefer a traditional office environment.
This doesn't mean that Gen Zs don't like hanging out with their colleagues — just that they're not interested in doing so all day long at the office. When it comes time for socializing at work, 93% of them said they would prefer going out for lunch or drinks after hours rather than during work hours (88 percent of Millennials agree).
Knowing these traits can help you to better understand how Gen Z think and operate
It can be difficult to understand Gen Z, especially if you're not one, but if you want to connect with them and are working with them, it's worth taking the time to try. If employers can understand what makes these young people tick, they’ll be able to better manage their teams and create an environment where everyone can thrive!
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