Every decade a phenomenon takes place in the workforce; a new generation enters the portals of workplaces bringing along their knowledge, experiences, and worldview.
The dawn of Gen Z in the workplace, a digitally native generation, is beginning to influence employers and their decisions about the future of the workplace.
A Tech-Savvy Cohort: Gen Z Workforce
Gen Z is more often called iGen because of its fluidity in using technology. While the millennials in the workplace learned to use the technology, the Gen Zers are born to it and well-versed in using it.
It isn't surprising that more than 45% of Gen Zers start using smartphones between the ages of 10-12, spending a minimum of 50 minutes online longer than an average internet user.
What Makes Our Youngest Coworkers Different From the Rest
Gen-Z is now a significant demographic in the workplace. So what is their contribution to a modern workplace?
Their unique perspective about careers and life goals makes them the best fit for the post-pandemic workforce. Called the 'change generation,' Gen-Z and the second half of millennials prioritize purpose over money.
There is nothing more than an empowering work culture that keeps their passion alive. When it comes to Generation Z's work ethics, it's just not enough to have a compelling purpose; they need to look into the ever-evolving 'work' itself.
Companies and businesses alike need to understand this new generation of tech fluid generation of workers as they will be forming the bulk of the workforce in the coming years.
Gen Z is comfortable with social media apps (92 percent of them have a digital footprint). Employers will have to balance this need to be digitally visible and leverage it effectively.
Social media apps are now the preferred medium of communication and sales where brands reach out to customers and vice versa. The augmented reality features on these apps and in-app purchasing provide a seamless user experience.
We can also see this shift in virtual work environments as more and more Gen Zers mature together with advanced technology. They are more progressive and likely to integrate AR, VR, and AI into their daily lives.
Generation Z Work Ethics For Changing Times
Expertise Before Any Degree
It's no longer 2008 when the great recession led to a full-fledged international banking crisis that affected everyone's view of money and stability.
Living in a digital era has given Gen Z a proactive approach to gaining the expertise they need, especially after seeing the effects of the recession.
They are indeed a generation of risk-takers and explorers who do not fear being jobless or shifting careers.
Pride in Their Work Culture
If this surprises you, you probably aren't Gen Z. If given a choice to pick either an organization with fantastic pay but zero ethics or a place with excellent work culture and a decent paycheck, a Gen-Z would more often prefer the latter.
They look for values and growth, and most importantly, a corporate culture that aligns with their ethics.
A Fearless WorkForce
Generation Z wants to be heard and expects open conversations regardless of the hierarchy; they prefer a balanced approach between individualism and teamwork.
A work environment that runs like clockwork or has a linear career trajectory is a Nuh-uh to every Gen Z.
If millennials are all about open and flatwork structure, teamwork, and collaboration, Gen Z approaches it a little differently; they prefer to tread the lonely path.
A Gallup study in America found that 42% of millennials switch to a job that lets them work independently on a project of their choice, and 63% of them prefer a job with flextime.
It's the dawn of a generation who would ask "why" if you told them to suck it up and work for money. With an increase in freelancers across industries in the 21st century, fulfilment in one's job and higher productivity are the driving force.
Gen Z can surprise you with their research and analytical skills while also being passionate about their career paths. They thrive off an organization that encourages them to excel in their areas of interest.
Since birth, growing up in a digital landscape, social media and its connective potential are embedded in Generation Z.
It is a generation of workers that looks beyond the mere business potential and tries to connect with the more socially relevant aspect of a product or service.
They make an effort to be good global citizens. They have positively impacted the networking side of business not by corporate training but by their sheer facility with the medium and ease of use.
How Can You Support Gen Z at Work?
Every new reality raises complex questions, and forces change in organizations. This could include long-term career planning, a greater use of machine learning, and constantly finding the best talents.
In fact, 37% of the workforce in the US is afraid that automation could put their jobs at risk. Hence to understand, engage and motivate these new Gen talents, companies must examine their needs closely.
It will require them to reshape their mindset to attract the best and the brightest of all generations. This is especially true in a post-pandemic workplace.
The Gen Zers have stepped into the workforce in times of upheaval. The 2008 recession earlier, and now the pandemic, both have changed the way companies and employees perceive their workplace.
People are no longer ready to work from their office desks after a soul-crushing commute. The pandemic has shown that physical presence in an office is not necessary to be productive and efficient.
Post-pandemic, the way people approach work and office is definitely going to undergo a fundamental change. Be it total work from home or hybrid work culture, change is inevitable.
According to a recent study, remote working saw an increase in productivity by 13% and fostered trust amongst employers and employees.
A creative work environment, remote-work options, and time-off benefits can all bring in a change for the better. As digital natives, Gen Zers are agile enough to adapt to this new reality.
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Passion-Driven Work Space
A global study by Deloitte showed that nearly 48% of workers were stressed all or most of the time.
The best way to combat dissatisfaction and stress is to provide employees enough work-from-home opportunities and let them rejuvenate to get the desired effect.
When people are driven by passion and inspired to work each day, you see better performance. It's as simple as that.
Gen Z has demonstrated greater empathy to societal challenges. Gen Zers expect organizations to be more socially responsible and have a cultural ethos that addresses these issues upfront. They expect the leadership to be more responsive and accountable.
Training for Professional Development
As employers adapt to the evolution of the workforce, developing robust training programs with a tangible focus on diversity becomes essential.
Being digital natives, Gen Zers yearn to upskill and reskill in their way as they see fit. For this, organizations should offer opportunities for skill development and establish internal training programs.
The recruitment policy needs to evolve to look for talent that is the desired mix of relevant technical and soft skills.
Inclusion and Diversity
Gen Zers are particular about equity and equality in a workspace. Organizations need to be more forward-thinking and representative of the spectrum of diverse genders, abilities, and races to attract the Gen Z talent.
For a more inclusive and equitable workforce, start mentorship programs. Leverage the expertise of Gen X and Y to help mentor Gen Z into influential leaders while cross-training older generations with the latest technology advancements. This dynamic in the workspace can be a win-win for any organization.
Digital Relationship and Consumerization
Tech-savvy employees require a tech-based relationship with their employers that govern every workflow, from onboarding to contracts and policies. Everything that Gen Z does needs to be under the digital umbrella.
Simply put, "if you want to retain me, treat me like one of your customers." Gen Z will be the largest group of consumers by 2026, with digital expectations higher than every marketing strategy. Hence, they require consumer-like experiences starting now.
The pandemic is an opportunity to throw away the perception that satisfaction at work is steered by good rendition instead of the other way round.
It's time to change how we work because the coming generation will not fall for monetary benefits if they aren't convinced about the company culture. Be prepared to foster a generation that wants to love what they do and do what they love.
The majority of today's graduates come from Generation Z, and they will form a significant part of the workforce for the next few decades. Not to mention, they have a competitive edge over the millennials in the workplace due to their digital fluidity.
From watching their parents lose jobs, seeing the world economic crash, and climate change, Gen Zers have seen the worst of it and been through it all. In fact, this generation is embarking on a career amidst a global pandemic.
And they are more aware than most of the global susceptibility to economic and environmental disruptions. However, they see technology as something that will make the world more sustainable.
Their unparalleled desire for cutting-edge technology, creativity, and a plain sailing approach makes them one of a kind.