Generation Z

Forget About Millennials-What You Need to Know About Gen Z

Lately, millennials (those born between 1980 and 1994) have been a hot topic, with conversations ranging from their impact on consumer trends to their work habits. However, those born in Generation Z—typically described as those born after 1995, who can’t remember life before the internet—are reaching maturity. The oldest of the generation are starting to enter their 20’s and the workforce. An enormous amount of research has been done on generational traits, and below we’ll highlight five of those traits, as well as what they mean for the workplace.

1. Communicative

Gen Z has grown up with mobile phones (with the true beginning of the smartphone—the release of the iphone in 2007—coinciding with the age (12-11) that much of the generation started using phones), showing an almost addictive desire to stay connected with their peers. Social media has defined their interactions, and 60% say they like to share information online. What does this mean?

  • Their communication skills lend themselves to collaborative work. They will likely be more successful working in groups than working as individuals.

  • Being less individualistic than other generations means they’re less likely to be self-directed. Being in constant communication about goals, directives, and instructions will help them succeed in the workforce.

  • For recruitment, outreach that focuses on direct communication with a conversational tone will be more successful.

2. Wired In

The defining trait that separates millennials and Gen Z is that those in Gen Z don’t remember life before the internet. Their life has been shaped by instant accessibility of information and technology. Time Magazine reports that 76% say that their online experiences significantly help them achieve their goals. Some takeaways from this:

  • Most of their work will be done on computers and online. In fact, if asked to do work without the aid of technology, they will most likely flounder.

  • Training and new learning will be more effective when done online or with technology as an aid.

  • Recruiting will be more effective online. Most members of Gen Z are used to searching for jobs online and are unfamiliar with traditional methods like newspaper ads or unemployment offices.

3. Used to Constant Feedback

Because of the rapid nature of the internet, Gen Z is used to constant feedback. Whether it’s instant answers via Google or receiving feedback on their ideas in real time through likes, retweets, shares, and comments, they’re used to near-instantaneous results. What does this mean for the workplace?

  • As the Association for Talent Development says, Gen Z will be much more successful at ad hoc learning instead of pre-planned training.

  • The internet has enabled the quick accumulation of facts and figures. Metrics based feedback will likely be the most valuable method of evaluation.

  • Smaller evaluations performed more frequently will be more effective and rewarding to Gen Z than larger, infrequent ones.

4. Socially Responsible

One interesting takeaway from several studies is that a key feature of Gen Z is their social responsibility. In other words, due to the vast amount of information available about modern problems (climate change, gun violence, etc.), they feel more compelled to help change than world than other generations. Some effects of this:

5. Mobile

Finally, if there’s one thing that defines the average member of Gen Z, it’s the fact that they are overwhelmingly mobile. 25% check their phones within five minutes of getting up. More than 4 in 10 have a mobile phone, and these numbers are steadily increasing. That number might seem low, but considering that more than half of Gen Z is younger than 12, that’s an incredibly large percentage. They’re used to accessing information anywhere at any time. What does this mean?

  • They’ll be more comfortable with working from home. The number of people working remotely has increased 41% in the last decade, and that will only increase with the introduction of Gen Z into the workplace.

  • They’ll be able to conduct business in any environment, with sophisticated email, messaging, and data apps available on their phones.

The business world is increasingly thinking about strategies revolving around millennials. With the next generation ready to join the workforce, getting a head start on recruiting and training programs developed for Gen Z can be incredibly helpful to your business. Moreover, understanding the next generation of workers will make them more successful, productive, and satisfied in the work environment.