They grew up fast, didn’t they? When the September 11, 2001 attacks happened, the oldest among “Generation Z” was 6. They’ve known severe economic recession, the War on Terror, and climate change. Is it any wonder they don’t believe in The American Dream?
They’re aged 15 to 21, and they’re entering the workforce. If you’ve hired or work alongside Gen Z employees, or if your children were born between 1995 and 2001, here’s what you need to know about Gen Z employees and co-workers—as opposed to their immediate predecessors, Gen Y/millennials and Gen X.
In the workplace, Generation Z operates differently from Gens X and Y. Gen Z-ers grew up with Gen X—not Baby Boomer—parents. They watched many of their Gen Y siblings return to live with their parents because they couldn’t afford to make it on their own. Gen Z doesn’t want this fate. Unlike some Gen Y employees who feel “entitled,” Gen Z-ers haven’t been given everything they needed or wanted when growing up, and know they need to work in order to be successful. As a generation, they’re independent, realistic, adaptable, entrepreneurial and flexible.
In other words, you may consider Generation Z employees or co-workers a breath of fresh air.
Here’s how to make them happy, with a few warnings.
Gen Z-ers crave constant and immediate feedback. They want information now, and at the touch of a keystroke. They grew up with the Internet and can process massive amounts of information quickly. They prefer texting, because it’s faster than email or voicemail.
They live online, and share details of their personal and work lives across dozens of platforms. They tend to trust what they see on the Internet, and don’t necessarily see the need to safeguard intellectual property.
According to surveys, Gen Z employees are motivated by opportunities for advancement, money and meaningful work. They expect their managers to listen to their opinions and include them in meetings – and at the table, not on the sidelines. They don’t intend to wait years for their chance, and view their opinions to be just as worthy of those of their managers. While they don’t look for the freely given hand holding that many millennials expect, they do expect quick results.
Is your workplace set up for Generation Z? Are you ready?
Many generations share the workplace these days. Learn how to manage and work alongside people of all ages with AMA's resources and seminars.