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Generation Z and Management: Meet in the Middle

Workplaces are constantly in flux, adjusting to new team members, new skillsets, and differing habits with each new hiring. With huge advancements in technology in the last 40 years, it was only a matter of time until a generation of graduates raised on technology hit the workforce, and the wait is over – Generation Z is here. As the population born between the mid-'90s and 2010, they've surpassed Millennials as the largest generation in the U.S. labor force. Gen Z is creeping its way into office spaces everywhere, and it's time we all prepared.

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Forget what you've heard about Millennials, Gen Z has traits of their own. Once you get past the easy stereotype that this generation could swipe a screen before they could crawl, you realize: they really have grown up in a world that has always had the internet. Digital devices have trained an entire age group to expect frequent updates and instant responses. It's no surprise that the attention span of a Gen Z-er is a mere 8 seconds. Their willingness to look elsewhere could easily translate to frequent job hopping if they aren't finding an employer that fits the bill.

Older colleagues will need to adjust to the trends of this new workforce, tweaking the tactics adapted for working with Millennials, while Generation Z should realize that a workplace can't always conform to their ideals. Recalibration on both sides of the hiring desk will ensure success for the company as a whole. We're here to help.

Tips for Companies

Meet in person.

Say goodbye to Millennials' obsession with emails; Generation Z is more into face time than FaceTime. Yes, they grew up in a digital world, but all of their instant communication's slang, "brb"s, and shorthand leave Generation Z excelling in in-person meetings rather than in writing. In fact, 3 out of 4 Generation Z-ers (74%) would prefer to communicate with their colleagues face-to-face.

Be straightforward.

Perhaps related to their preference for in-person interactions, where integrity can be easily determined, Generation Z places huge value on transparency and honesty in a workplace. They lack a blind trust in authority and have been raised to demand clarity and authenticity from the brands and companies they care about, so why would their employer be any different? A manager who fails to be direct and "real" with these employees will find themselves with a lot of open positions.

Create some healthy competition.

Much of Gen Z follows the saying "If I want it done right, I'll just do it myself." They embrace a challenge and like proving themselves, earning respect and authority in a genuine way. Introducing some healthy competition among your staff and you'll keep your Gen Z employees stimulated while developing some great work in the process!


Tips for Generation Z

Ask for what you want.

According to a Robert Half research report, the top job search priority for Generation Z is growth opportunities. Behind professional development, upward mobility is the second most important factor when looking for a job. Throw out the ping pong tables: you're looking for stability, professional advancement, and compensation. Make sure your millennial or Generation X managers are aware.

Embrace the inbox.

Email isn't going anywhere, at least not in the immediate future. If your manager prefers it, there's a chance you'll have to be open to emailing. Think of it this way: if accountability is something you value, written words are the ultimate proof of commitment.

With a population of over 60 million, Generation Z's presence in the workforce is undeniable. Their differences may seem stark in a sea of Millennials and Generation X-ers, but a recalibration of expectations for both managers and Gen Z-ers will keep things in your workplace as business as usual.