Updated: Apr 30, 2019
Just as we are getting a hang of understanding the Gen-Y at the workplace, here comes Gen-Z. According to the American Psychological Association, Generation Z starts for those born from 1997. Meaning those who are 22 years old and below. Gen Z is fast becoming a sizable population as according to Economic World Forum, Gen Z is 32% of the world’s population and closer to home, in Malaysia, Gen-Z is 29.7% of the total population. They are predicted to take over the millennial by the year 2020. Looking at these figures, organizations need to quickly understand Gen-Z and how to be able to bring out the best in them.
Gen-Z grew up in technology. They are familiar with the internet, social media, pcs, smartphones and etc. While millennial are known as being tech-savvy, tech comes naturally to gen-z. Gen-Z is curious, looks at individuality, competitive, driven, self-motivation and self-learning. Because of what they had seen in their parents, Gen X’s and also influenced by their grandparents (the baby boomers), they want security. As mentioned by Dr. James Emery White, author of Meet Generation Z, “Their goal is not simply economic security. They have a strong sense of wanting to make a difference and thinking that they can. They want to be social entrepreneurs.”
Now, here are what to expect from the Gen-Z’s and what are the tips to handle them at the workplace.
1. Better Multitaskers
Remember that Gen-Z grew up in technology and are always connected. Switching between different apps and doing few things at a time comes naturally to them. If you see them looking at their phones during work hours, don’t worry. They check on their updates and within a few seconds, they will get back to their work. They don’t have a segregated line for work and personal.
Tips:- Give them a few tasks at one time while outlining the specifics and expectations for the task. Don’t micromanage them or stop them from using their mobile phones at work.
2. Entrepreneur Spirit
Growing up seeing entrepreneurs leading the world, (eg. Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk). Gen-Z dreams big. According to HRinasia, 65% of Gen-Z wants to save the world, and 75% of them are confident in their decisions. They love to learn and you can see them soaking up all the information they can. However that said, they are more realistic than the millennial and they understand success takes a lot of work. They look at doing meaningful work.
Tips:- Let them run projects. Give them some challenges, and making them take ownership of the projects or tasks. Provide them jobs where it is meaningful to them.
3. Individualistic & Independent
Generally, they like to work alone. They believe in themselves and get things done without needing other people to depend on. Also, this generation is more likely to skip the traditional form of higher education the millennial. Even though they have ideas and the will to succeed, they may not have the soft skills needed in management roles as they grew up being more individualistic and may have less face to face communication.
Tips:- They need a lot of support and guidance in communication and interpersonal skills as they are not used to it. Also, don’t disregard a potential employee just because of the credentials, they might actually have all the skills that you need, just not from a traditional way of college or university certificate.
4. Prefer Face to Face Communication
Different from the millennial, they prefer one on one conversation. According to Ryan Jenkins, an expert in millennial and Gen-Z; 72 percent of Gen Z workers prefer face-to-face communication at work, while 11 percent prefer texts, and 9 percent prefer email. However, they struggle at this because social face to face communication takes practice, and they didn’t have that much of a practice.
Tips:- Leaders or their managers should have regular and routine feedback, at least once a week with this generation. They want feedback. Give them genuine feedback and ask them questions on what their ideas are. You might be pleasantly surprised and you will see them being much more engaged at work.
5. Career opportunities
Gen-Z loves to improve and learn. If they don’t get this in the organization, they will easily walk out the door to look for another employer. They don’t expect a promotion as soon as possible but they do want to see career advancement and, they prefer to be able to learn and have the flexibility to use their creativity.
Tips:- Have flexibility in the work culture, and have a structured career development plan to let them see what they are able to learn and improve.
This is a generation of big dreams and goals to make the world a better place. They are also willing to work hard for the right means to work in the right organization. If organizations are able to meet their needs and what they believe in, they will be very committed, and talented employees to move organizations towards the future.