They’ve started entering the workforce. They have a unique perspective on technology. They are not who you think they are. Who are “they?” They are Generation Z. And you are likely more prepared than you think to keep this group happy at the office.
Let’s Go to Work
Gen Z, born after 1995, is now old enough to hit voting booths and corporate offices, and its members are eager to find jobs that offer a fun work environment and flexible schedule. That’s not a surprise — who doesn’t want fun and flexibility? But what is surprising is that a “corporate office space” was the top-ranked work environment. That finding goes hand-in-hand with Gen Z’s strong preference (76%) for being hands-on with projects.
TIP: Even if your team is not physically in the same workspace, you can foster collaboration and community through telepresence, video conferencing and collaborative workspaces like Microsoft Teams or Slack.
Let’s Talk — With or Without Technology
Because Gen Z cannot remember a time without a tablet, phone, and desktop screens, it’s no surprise that 77% of them like to work with technology to help them accomplish their goals. But even though they seem tethered to their devices, 51% say they prefer in-person communication with managers, according to a Millennial Branding study. In fact, 61% of Gen Z wants managers to listen to their ideas and value their opinions.
TIP: To meet the Gen Z desire for one-on-one interaction with their leaders, consider a mentorship program or some formal program for career development.
Gen Z is willing to listen, too, craving regular feedback on how they’re doing. While this generation is still very young, early studies show that they are self-aware, self-reliant and goal-oriented.
TIP: Gamification is a great way to engage this young generation. Many companies are already using mobile apps to give real-time feedback to employees. Several of the apps also wrap in performance management, rewards/recognition programs, and employee surveys.
Let’s Learn Something New
Having “grown up” with technology, this group is accustomed to using it for everything, including education. They self-educate with sites like YouTube and Pinterest, learning everything from programming languages to gluten-free cooking. In fact, 85% watched at least one online video in the past week to learn a new skill. And this proclivity toward learning is apparent when you consider that 63% said training makes them more productive on a daily basis.
TIP: Internal learning management systems are a great way to keep this group engaged with required training and skill-building offerings such as public speaking and communication (two areas they wished they were better at) and problem-solving, which 49% agree is an essential skill for succeeding in the workforce.
This fresh pool of talent is already shaping up to be more diverse than the generations before, which researchers say will have a profound impact. But the good news is they are willing to listen and willing to learn as long as their employers are, too.
Your choice of collaboration technology could go a long way toward meeting the wants and needs of Generation Z — not to mention Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers. If you’d like to explore the collaboration preferences and habits of all of today’s workplace generations, check out our article, “Study: Generation Z Loves Chat and Text Apps.”