Getting ready for Gen Z in the Workplace

By Marcia O’Connor

Here they come, Gen Z. These young adults are the newest wave moving into the workforce.

But what sets them apart from millennials or Gen Xers?

Born between 1995 and 2015, Gen Z is the first generation to be completely literate with social media platforms and technology. They grew up with computers and have had a cell (or smartphone) since the age of 10.

Gen Zers are aware of environmental issues, are socially conscious, and understand cooperation is necessary to achieve change. And they want to be part of the solution.

Many have accumulated post-secondary education debt they’re eager to settle. They’re looking for financial security through a steady job, but also want good pay and the ability to advance through the ranks. Otherwise, they will move on to another place of employment.

To keep Gen Zers around (and motivated), it’s important to:

  • work in collaborative teams to create deliverables;
  • encourage participation and try out their ideas to instill pride in their work;
  • treat them as equal members of the team to increase a sense of belonging;
  • effectively communicate and provide constructive feedback that leads to improvements and overall growth;
  • implement flexible hours and support remote work to ensure work-life balance;
  • allow the use of smartphones in meetings to conduct research on the fly and generally stay connected with those ‘outside;’
  • recognize a job well-done and afford opportunities for advancement; and
  • offer benefits geared specifically to this generation.

Unlike millennials who pushed for technological updates and innovation, gym memberships, and co-working conference rooms or virtual work arrangements, Gen Zers are interested in monetary incentives, such as partial payment of a master’s degree, paid childcare services, and financial support for training certification programs.

Mentoring is also key to boost Gen Zer satisfaction and retention and help this generation flourish.

Above all else, nurture Gen Zers that join the team. They’ll bring exceptional value and help make the company the employer of choice for the upcoming next group entering the workforce — Gen Alpha.

Marcia O’Connor is president of AM FM Consulting Group.


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