Generation Z (those who were born between 1997 and early 2010s) has stormed the workplace and disrupted it completely! By 2021, almost one fifth of the workforce will comprise of generation Z. Each generation is a product of their times and different from the previous one. Organizations need to spend time and effort to understand this very young workforce. Understanding the new workforce will help managers to make the workplace ready for the new entrants.
Generation Z has seen uncertain economic environment faced by the previous generation, the millennials (generation Y). Social upheavals like #metoo and powerful effects of social media among other influences have shaped their attitudes towards work. Unlike millenials who were driven to find work with a purpose, this generation values stability of a regular paycheck more. This is not to say that they lack ambition, they are fiercely competitive. Generation Z also prefers more transparency in the organizations they work in. They have seen the previous generation burnout at work, hence prefer a better work-life balance. Although this young workforce is a fully tech savvy generation, they prefer a human presence in workplaces to coexist with technology. They are totally in sync with diversity and inclusion at workplaces. Their attitudes towards learning and development are more evolved.
Management must keep all of the above in mind to make their workplaces ready and more attractive for the generation Z. Some of the ways in which it can be achieved are:
- Your workplace has to offer the very best of digital environment. Generation Z is a completely digital generation so anything less than the best is not good enough. The devices that they bring need be connected. A complete technology upgrade is a must. In fact organizations are hiring chiefs specifically for digital fitness and upgrades. Constant vigil is required to keep track of advances in technology .
- The millennials thrived on teamwork and open , no walls office culture. Generation Z on the other hand are solo workers. They need a light touch. Excessive control will be counter productive. They respond well to mentoring. They also like to work independently. Gen Z are fiercely competitive even at the cost of team spirit at times. This competitive streak should be exploited by management. Gamification software can be very effectively used for training purposes as it encourages competition and turns training into a fun thing.
- Generation Z has a competitive streak yes but they like to be a part of a team too. They need their space yet yearn for human company at work. It is a tight rope that the management must walk in order to provide the social-solitary balance to create a conducive atmosphere at work for the generation Z. Physical office space design should reflect this balance of collaborative and solitary work. Generation Z prefers workplaces that are open, colourful, filled with natural light and plants. Stress busting soft music will also be an added advantage.
Generation Z is going to change the workplaces in more ways than we can imagine. We can however take steps to make the workplaces ready and welcoming for them to let them work their magic. After all, their expectations of having a meaningful job in a learning environment is no different than their preceding generations.
References: www.forbes.com . article by William Amarruda.