How will the next Generation (the Sharing Generation / Gen Z) differ from Millennials and what employers can do to plan ahead.
The next Generation - Gen Z is beginning to enter the workplace. Generation Z are those born between 1995 and 2010. This means the oldest are in their late teens to early 20's and starting to enter the workforce. Even though they are mostly still young, there is a surprising amount of information about them and predictions about how they will "show up" in the workplace.
- How will their arrival impact your workplace culture?
- Is it fact or fiction that they have an 8-second attention span?
- What will organizations do to address the revival of an activist generation?
- How will a multi-generational workforce get along? What can companies do to prepare for multi-generational differences?
Gen X and a handful of Millennials have been quite busy ensuring the continuation of our species. Gen Z is larger than the Baby Boomers and the Millennials and according to Forbes, comprise approximately 25% of the U.S. population.
Baby Boomers, Gen X , Millennials, Gen Y, and now Gen Z in the workforce - a whirling dervish of unique talents and differences!
"As more boomers work past retirement age and tech-savvy MIllennials (and Gen Z) graduates enter the workforce, the stark differences in the values, communication styles and work habits of each generation are becoming increasingly pronounced." - Shannon Gausepohl, Business News Daily
Some of the challenges we see our clients facing include:
- How to cultivate a culture where the boomers are willing to play nicely with the younger generations and vice-versa
- The differences in values is an underlying cause of discord.
- How to meet the needs of each generation? Boomers value accomplishment and material success; Gen X values flexibility and family time; Millennials value recognition and meaning and Gen Z are expected to have similar values as Millennials (meaning and engagement at work) but also value independence and self-learning even more.
- Communication style differences go beyond texting vs. face-to-face preferences and into more serious organizational communication breakdowns. For example, the annual performance review was once an effective tool. However, for younger generations, real-time feedback is going to be the only way to keep many of them happy and in place.
As the first Digital Native generation (born into a world where internet technology is easier to access sometimes than fresh air or clean water), they have never experienced life without a personal assistant like Siri or Google. Many enroll in college only to discover everything their teacher is supposed to teach them is readily available for free on Youtube. 88% of Gen Z have a cell phone and many received their first smart phone in elementary school.
Cautious But Inclusive
Growing up during the September 11 attacks and aftermath, coupled with the Great Recession of 2008-2012, Gen Z knows the world to be a harsh and volatile place. According to a number of studies, they are showing up as more cautious and risk-adverse compared to previous generations. And, yet they are more open to diversity and inclusion. For example, in a 2017 Business Insider article, like the Millennials, the majority support same-sex marriage, believe the climate change scientists are telling the truth, are concerned about environmental issues and accept diversity as a way of life.
Want to Change the World
For example, according to journalist Harry Wallop in an article in The Daily Telegraph, Generation Z is, "Unlike the older Gen Y, they are smarter, safer, more mature and want to change the world."
The Most Highly Educated Generation in History
While research tells us they are very concerned about student debt and 1/3 are worried about being able to afford college at all, they are on course to be the most highly-educated generation in history. 81% believe graduating with a college degree is critical to life success and a good paying job. They are ambitious and Gen Z high-schoolers are more likely to work hard and aim for scholarships than relax and aim for just passing.
Protective & Ambitious
Have you heard the saying, "Telling a teenager the facts of life is like giving a fish a bath." (Contributed to Arhold H. Glasow, American author) For other generations - maybe, however, according to 2016 research from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Gen Z had lower teen pregnancy rates, less substance abuse and are more likely to graduate from high school on time compared to Millennials.
- Source: Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Z