Move over Millenials: Here Comes Generation Z

Generation Z and the workforce

If 2014 and the previous years was about the Millennials, then make no mistake because from 2015 Generation Z have virtually over all the headline spaces.

Employers all over the world, and especially in the marketing sphere have already begun shifting their strategies to capture the hearts and minds of the “digital generation.”

The generation Z is a crop of people who were born from the mid 1990s to mid 2000s, generally comprising of those below the age of 20.

The most distinctive characteristic of generation Z is the inability to capture their attention as they are defined as a “complicated lot.”

Experts argue that they are completely different from the Millenials because old techniques do not work for them.

Gen Z at a Glance

Did you know that by 2019, over 30 million Gen Z employees will be commanding the workforce?

Does this raise an alarm for HR managers? Oh yes! Especially in terms of compensation, managing, and retaining the workforce.

While writing for CBC News, Pierre Battah, a human resource consultant contends that, Gen Z are independent, obstinate, pragmatic and always in a rush. Furthermore, they score explicitly high on time spent on Facebook, Video games and watching movies.

On the contrary, they score below average in reading books, poor social skills, face to face interaction and lack of patience.

Did you know that by 2019, over 30 million Gen Z employees will be commanding the workforce?

At the workplace, Gen Z workers are overly and obsessively ambitious.

An independent report by Alexander Forbes; a U.S Consultancy showed that about 75% of young people want to set up their own companies before they reach 25 years of age.

Gen Z employees do not believe in hard work for success; instead they embrace working “smart” as their way to success.

In addition, virtual networking works best for them (Allen, 2005).

Gen Z employees do not believe in hard work for success

Sparks and Honey; a U.S media consultancy firm has found that Gen Z wants to make their presence felt in over 80% of the digital space.

You will find them on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Snapchat, Meerkat and Vlogging.

As if that is not enough, they have abandoned the motto “YOLO” (you live only once) to the Millennials, and coined a new concept “FOMO” (fear of missing out).

Tips for Managing Gen Z employees

In order to nurture the potential value of Gen Z employees, managers must understand that, they are quick and entrepreneurial.

Besides, they love working in challenging and complex environments.

As opposed to the other category of the Millennials, Gen Z workers lack the social skills and patience to wait for information.

Since, they typically connect via numerous portable devices and social media, the love to have information at their fingertips.

First, the management should create high intensity relationships because Gen Z workers respond best to managers who lead and show them the way. Therefore, they easily identify to a strong peer leader, and fit exceptionally well to organizations with clear chains of command. This way, they are able to adapt and identify with the organization’s culture.

Second, managers can tame the habits of Gen Z works by investing in training, especially in the areas of interpersonal communication. In 2009, a research conducted by Australia’s Pine Brook Communication Agency found that, most Gen Z employees lack the social skills associated with customer service and communication techniques. The survey included 100 Gen Z employees in 15 different airports. 75% of the respondents felt that there is a need for a training program that focuses on behavior change, while 25% opposed the training because they felt comfortable in their jobs (Kristoph 2009).

Finally, managers can get the best out of Gen Z employees by offering dream job positions and providing lots of rewards. It is essential to understand that Gen Z employees thrive on opportunity; hence there is need to motivate, encourage and promise them of their dream positions. They should be rewarded at any given accomplishment, recognized for their efforts and nurtured to take up leadership roles.

Dangers of Gen Z

The culture of reading books and making use of the library does not make any sense to them.

For example, some of them ask “why should I burn the midnight oil reading voluminous books when I can access information with the touch of a button?”

On the flip side, many parents are worried because Gen Z is too technologically advanced for them.

They are left with no choice because they cannot control their access to the media space.

For instance, Stacy Gary; a single mother in California commented during a recent talk show on the media and teenagers “my children know the website inside out, violence, porn and drugs! They have seen it all” (New York Times).

“Whenever I’m bored, I can always find something to do on my phone.”—Male, 17

The cost of education has become too prohibitive; thus forcing many Gen Z-ers to enroll in online courses.

Unfortunately, they become too dependent on technology; thus leading to brain drain and becoming “couch potatoes.”

Since most of them spend close to 18 hours in front of computers, mobile phones and other portable devices, they end up engaging in cybercrime, abuse of drugs and engaging in pornography.

Dan Schawbel, the founder of Millennial branding contends that with the right training and mentorship, there is hope for Gen Z.

They have the potential to change the world since; their individualistic nature or working smart propels innovation, technology and a positive work ethic.

My parting Shot

I love all that comes with Gen Z because their attributes thrive and drive the world.

Today, the world thrives on technology for innovation and economic development.

Though, they are yet to carve their niche, especially in the workplace, I would prefer to hire them because they have the “x-factor” for competitive advantage.

All they require is the right training in communication and social skills to ensure that they know what is right and wrong in terms of media and consumption of the digital content.


Written By

Aniket Saksena

I'm a business/academic/creative/HR writer, interested in pursuing and researching as many fields as possible in an effort to become a cross-domain business expert and opinion leader.