They say the only constant in life is change, and this concept certainly applies to the composition of the workforce. Generation Z, also referred to as post-Millennials, is making its debut in the workplace, joining the ranks of Millennials and Generation X’ers as the Baby Boomers move into retirement. Organizations must prepare for the changes to workforce composition, including the influx of a new cohort of young talent, and understand what motivates Generation Z.
Encompassing individuals born from 1996 to the present, Generation Z presents a unique talent pool in comparison to older generations. As these employees begin their careers, business leaders should avoid any assumptions that may foster negative perceptions about their work ethic.
Understanding the values of post-Millennials in your organization
Some of the myths about Generation Z are debunked in AMA’s Communicating Across Generations seminar. The members of this generation value the following:
Making contributions. The stereotype that post-Millennials are self-centered rookies couldn’t be further from the truth. They may be new, but they have a lot going for them. For starters, they’re tech-savvy and well-educated. Despite their lack of experience, these new professionals are eager to commit to impactful work, and they’re equipped with the skills to do so.
Feedback. A popular prejudice would have people believe they must be cautious when managing younger employees because of their delicate sensitivities. False. While they are characterized by a dislike for conflict, post-Millennials value feedback highly and recognition for their work. Offering the right amount of direction when managing post-Millennials is bound to make a significant difference in their job performance.
Work/life balance. Too often, getting ahead in one’s career is associated with making sacrifices in one’s personal life. The times are changing, however, and organizations are beginning to operate in a way that can alleviate this role conflict. By offering greater flexibility to employees, companies can help both younger and older generations meet the demands of their professional and personal lives.
The world around them. A popular myth about Generation Z suggests that they are narcissistic. But consider, for a moment, this group’s social context. Generation Z has grown up during the information revolution, the rise of mobile technology, and the decline of the environment. They care not only for their own future but also for the people they’re connected with and their community. They’re striving to make the world a better place. Organizations with progressive values are bound to attract mindful and goal-oriented young professionals.
Rapid information. The members of Generation Z may seem impatient and aloof when it comes to holding their attention. Thanks, social media. The truth is, they’ve become accustomed to obtaining small-but-rich chunks of information swiftly. This is a key consideration when managing post-Millennials or involving them in meetings.
Understanding how to manage Generation Z in the workplace is a key component of preparing for the changing workforce. There’s no denying that age can be a primary source of diversity. But it is, after all, just a number. The leaders of tomorrow are getting started today, and by recognizing Generation Z’s values and passions, organizations can help new employees develop productive careers.
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