Millennials and Generation Z

Preparing for Gen Z

By

Lauren Owens

| May 16, 2014

A new generation will soon be entering the workforce, specifically referred to as, Gen Z (those born between 1995-2009) or the connected generation; whatever you call them. This group of digital wiz kids is a new breed of employee, never knowing life without high-speed internet, smartphones and unlimited access to media technologies. If you’re down and out trying to manage millennial workers, just wait until Gen Z starts knocking on your door.

Each new generation brings a set of new skills, expectations, etc. This article is aimed at helping you hone in on those Gen Z competencies, but first, let me take a selfie.

A New Generation

Ah the infamous selfie; it’s become a worldwide phenomenon. I mean, even Ellen DeGeneres got in on the action while hosting the 2014 Oscars and that all-star selfie became an immediate internet sensation. If you’re over the #selfie craze, you’re not alone, but in the grand scheme of things Gen Z may be on to something. While the selfie seems like a ridiculous fad, its future could breed new business ventures. Check out this video showing how industries today are using the selfie to better our health, security and even fashion.

This generation has an innate knowledge of technology that will be a valuable asset to businesses; however could be a hindrance when it comes to communication. Quick, instant, simple all describe the type of communication expectations Generation Z holds. Businesses could experience some tension as they expect immediate responses and the lag in technology at some organizations could cause frustration.

Gen Z are complete digital natives and rely heavily on communicating through social media. What does this look like in business? Well, according to Yvonne Sell, Hay Group’s director of leadership and talent in the UK, Generation Z will have a desire for change, stimulation, learning and promotion that will conflict with traditional organizational hierarchies. Consequently, their need for immediacy and variation is cause for concern when it comes to responsibility, accountability and loyalty.

Managing Gen Z

A major trend among Gen Z leaders is that of individualism; as future managers of this group, understand that they are aware of their individuality and expect individual acceptance and acknowledgement from their manager. They will need to learn to better manage their short attention spans when business calls for year-long projects to offer big results. Setting smaller more attainable goals in addition to the bigger goal at hand would afford better results. In addition, consistent interaction and feedback is necessary to keep Gen Z employees feeling satisfied in their role.

The extra work put in will reap great benefits in innovation. With a need for variation they adapt well to change and offer creative insights for how technology can be used in the workplace. The lack of physical activity experienced in childhood gives way for their imaginations to run. This group happens to be very solutions-focused and many have aspirations to become business owners, so their entrepreneurial spirit will be favorable.

Managing any new group comes with its set of challenges, but if you prepare now, when Gen Z enters the corporate realm, the sky’s the limit. Rather than working against each other, meld every skill set together to create maximum results. That’s the mindset of a true leader.

About the Author

Lauren Owens

Lauren is an enthusiastic writer who is passionate about numerous topics surrounding the HCM industry including talent management and acquisition, technology, document management and leadership. Lauren is a former Paycom blogger, social strategist and community relations coordinator.

See more posts by Lauren Owens