February 20, 2014 1 Comment
Generation Z are born between 1994 and 2005 are beginning to enter the workforce. Are we ready for Generation Z or are we still trying to understand Millennials?
A quick Generation Z definition is that Generation Z are Ultra-Millennials. If you want to brush up on ‘What Is A Millennial’ I’ve discussed them often within this Blog, at conferences and on Television – so I’ll link a few resources at the end of this post.
Generation Z Are Ultra-Millennials
I jokingly call Generation Z Ultra-Millennials because they move at lightning speed and are even more comfortable with technology and social media than Millennials. Generation Z have seen more, want more and can produce more in less time. In addition, more than any generation before them, Generation Z do not feel limited by geography, proximity or time zones.
Diversity, choice and possibility are cultural norms for Generation Z. Every aspect of life – from inclusive family structures to multiculturalism, technology, entertainment, education and travel have opened their imagination to endless possibilities. They have learned that change and diversity is not only good – it is a way of life and should be expected.
Diversity and endless options have enabled Generation Z individuals to make choices for themselves about education, experience, career and lifestyle that were not possible not too long ago… and for these choices to be accepted.
Social media is even more of a catalyst to how Generation Z interact and build social networks. Access to free, immediate, real-time global communication has enabled them to build social networks and virtual communities beyond those which used to be possible. Unfortunately, there is a downside to this. Diversity may cause loneliness for Generation Z individuals.
Diversity May Cause Loneliness
Generation Z may have less in common with their peers than previous generations. Generation Z’s diversity in experiences, values, ambitions and strong sense of self may make it difficult for this generation to find others with similar experiences, values, ambitions… and therefor may make it difficult for them to find long-term meaningful relationships.
If we look back through time moving from Boomers to Generation Z, there is increasing variability in the overall attitudes, experiences, values, ambitions as we move from one generation to the next.
Generation Z’s diversity also makes this generation harder than ever for employers to manage and reward… and for marketers to satisfy. Treating each person as an individual and listening to what their individual needs are will be the most successful and direct route to success with Generation Z. Custom, targeted messages are a necessity if you want to get and keep their attention.
Generation Z Are Entering The Workforce
Many Generation Z work quickly and love working on ‘the big picture’. Unfortunately, they may be less focused on the smaller details. One of the important management challenges will be to keep your Generation Z employee interested and motivated while getting them to focus their attention to detail. Use corporate guidelines and email style guides as reference as you encourage them to focus on fine detail. To keep your Generation Z employee even more engaged, measure your Generation Z employee on both performance and accuracy – this way they will be able to also measure its importance… and hopefully be responsible for some self-management.
One of the key areas Generation Z need from their leaders is mentorship. They don’t need to be harnessed – they need to be guided on how they might be able to maximize their talents and frankly… help them with workplace etiquette and fine tuning how they present ideas / information.
As we mentor and support Generation Z’s we have to recognize how they learn and absorb information. For example, studies have shown that almost half of Generation Z prefer to acquire information using online resources only, while approximately 15% prefer using books and the remaining 35% use a combination of online resources and books.
One-on-one meetings are still the best way to share complex information, brainstorm and / or to negotiate, therefore there is still room for one-on-one meetings, it’s just that these meeting may happen online.
One-on-One does not mean Face-to-Face
Their bosses will be leaders who support the team and who pave the way, providing resources when necessary. When a leader respects their employees and proves their value, the Generation Z employee will respect them back and be more inclined to stay.
Generation Z may be less team oriented than we’ve seen with Millennials as well as a bit more self-motivated and aware of self interest.
Generation Z demonstrate a significant entrepreneurial spirit. Staying with one job for one company for many years let alone for their whole career is not part of the plan for Generation Z. They want flexibility, diversity, to learn something exciting and useful. They do however also like their share of stability. Examples in todays job market would include long-term contract work where the clients and work changes frequently. For example… they might work for a big organization as an interior designer, an event planner or a journalist. In addition to this variable work – they might accept freelance jobs on the side, or have a small ‘at-home’ company where they explore other interests.
Their ability to imagine is often their only limitation.
Generation Z Recap:
- Are Creative
- Expect flexibility from the companies they work for and purchase from
- Will mix and match everything from electronics to cloths brands to ambitions and carreers
- Are mobile and connected, any time, any where, any device
- Live in the present moment – plan less for their future
- Feel they will change the world and repair some of the damage from previous generations
- Are aware of many of the socioeconomic, human rights, environmental and energy challenges they inherited
- Generation Z have an unprecedented focus on social responsibility
- Are natural multitaskers; Generation Z can text, search, read, listen, watch and talk all at the same time
- Want their world to move quickly
- Generation Z are solutions focused – more than even Millennials
- Are comfortable with many forms of media and integrating technology to collaborate with people sitting at the desk beside them or around the world
- Strive for work/life balance and want to know their work is important
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If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:
- Video: On TV Speaking About Millennials
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- You’ve Just Hired A Millennial
- 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People: Habit 1
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