Introducing Generation Z to the Workforce

Generation Z recently surpassed millennials as the most populous age group in the world. While definitions vary, Pew Research Center categorizes this group as people born in 1997 or later—no consensus has been reached on the end date of the demographic. This puts the oldest people in ‘Gen Z’ at 23 years old, which means this new generation is beginning to enter the workforce. While the last few years has been spent worrying about millennial’s trends and interests, it’s now time to determine what Gen Z’ers look for in a workplace.

Prioritize face to face interactions

One of the many knocks on Generation Z is that they’re too attached to their smart phones. While it’s true that Gen Z grew up with smart phones and social media, 72% of Gen Z’ers prefers face to face conversations with their boss and colleagues, rather than communicating via e-mail or IM, according to ZeroCater. More importantly, according to medium, mentorship programs ranked as the second most important benefit among Gen Z’ers at 33% just behind healthcare at 37%.

As a boss or manager, it is important to actively interact with Gen Z employees in the workplace. It would also benefit you and the new generation of employees to embrace this mentorship role. Not only is it something Gen Z’ers are actively looking for and appreciate, but closely mentoring these employees will provide you with workers you know that you can trust with important tasks. If these employees work remotely, make sure to provide feedback and give updates via Skype or FaceTime rather than e-mail.

Emphasize job security & career growth

The majority of Generation Z grew up during the recession, which means many saw their parents lose their jobs or struggle to find a stable job. The survey from ZeroCater lists being financially stable as the highest aspiration of Gen Z after college, and potential for career growth ranks second in most important factors in a job behind an empowering work culture.

When promoting your company to potential employees make sure to highlight the opportunities for promotion within the company. Many Gen Z’ers just entering the workforce may view their first job as a jumping point to another job. While this bodes well for attracting employees, it means the opposite in terms of retaining them. To accomplish this, it is imperative these workers know that they will have opportunities to advance their career within your company.

Flexibility & work-life balance is essential

In a survey done by Ernst & Young, 50% of respondents listed flexibility as a key factor when looking for a job. In research done by Forbes, Gen Z’ers listed the two measures of success as being happy (88%) and having a good work-life balance (73%). While Generation Z values job security, they also prioritize having a stable personal life.

One way to provide flexibility to workers is to give them a timeline of their projects and the deadlines for them. This way they can better plan their work schedule, and plan their activities outside of work around it. Also providing generous compensation for working overtime hours in the office will give Gen Z’ers a reason to justify the additional hours. While Gen Z values face to face interactions, provide them the opportunity to work remotely certain days to give them an additional aspect of flexibility. Understanding the difference between millennials and Generation Z will provide insight on how to attract and retain the next generation of the workforce.

 

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Ryan Gildea

Ryan Gildea is entering his senior year at Pennsylvania State University. He is majoring in broadcast journalism. Ryan is an editorial intern at Meadowlands Media. You can contact him at rgildea@meadowlands.org

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