If you’ve worked with graduates in the last 5 years you may have noticed a shift in their behaviours and motivations. Whilst it’s important not to generalise, Gen Z often display very different workplace attributes to older colleagues.
Gen Z are those that have been born in 1995 or later, and are the cohort that follow from Millenials who were born between 1980 and 1995, thereby reaching young adulthood around the time of the new millennium.
In the media Gen Z can get a bad rap, branded the ‘snow flake generation’, but like it or not they will account for 1/3 of our population by 2020, so it’s important that organisations and specifically hiring managers understand how to engage them in a competitive job market.
1. Keep them interested – Gen Z have grown up in a world of Facebook updates, constantly updating Instragram feeds and replenishing Snap Chat content. They can process information faster, and are able to work well in a fast paced environment so leverage these strengths by shaping roles that keep them on their toes.
2. Working hours & non-traditional working patterns – don’t be surprised if you come across a mentality of work needing to to fit around life. In the US 47% of freelancers are under 34 which demonstrates the importance younger people are placing on flexible working.
3. Multi-tasking – this generation has learned to focus on TV, Ipad and phone all at once – leverage their ability to multitask and shift around competing priorities.
4. Careers versus jobs – more than ever Gen Z employees don’t expect to stay with a company for life. This cohort has grown up in a gig economy, where you might expect to have a number of jobs to fulfil different things.
5. Higher expectations –while millenials remember fax machines, landlines and dial up internet, Gen Z have been conditioned to expect immediacy. If your organisation appears to be slow moving and archaic e.g. with your hiring processes you may struggle to attract Gen Z employees.
6. Feedback – Gen Z are used to constant feedback/validation online – so feedback must be both balanced and regular – bi annual reviews will not cut it and where feedback is challenging it may be demotivating if it’s a big surprise. Some of the big tech companies encourage 360 feedback after each assignment. If you’re looking for a simple way to structure this conversation simply ask ‘what went well’ & ‘what didn’t go well’.