From Gen Z to Millennials and Baby Boomers, each demographic cohort has a diverse set of expectations from the workplace. We've had more time to develop the latter two, but what about the newest generation? How are we engaging and facilitating collaboration between Gen Zs, their colleagues, and the future of work?
I’ve been told this week that I am a ‘Geriatric Millennial’, as it’s now been coined.
This got me thinking: How many generations are in the office and how are they all communicating?
As boomers, Xs and Ys (Millennials), we might think that our knowledge and experience is the backbone of our business - but it won't always be in the future. By 2030, Gen Zers are set to make up 1/3 of the workforce. As the most diverse generation to date, employers have to be prepared for the different mindsets and expectations this group will have and how we can learn from them.
Who are Gen Z?
Gen Z refers to those born between 1997 and 2015 and currently make up almost a quarter of the workplace.
They are ambitious, entrepreneurial, wildly independent and eager to learn.
They might think that we are a little cheugy with our side partings, skinny jeans and lasagne, but they are the future of the workplace and hold a wealth of information.
So how do we make the most of this pragmatic group, who came into this world at the peak of technological innovation?
As communicators, you’ll know that authentic communication is in demand whether that be from brands, governments, colleagues or employers.
Although Gen Z are extremely finance-focused in their pursuit of independence, considering career options is no longer based on salary and benefits alone. This demographic, more than the generations before them, expect honest and authentic communications from the top down.
Keeping everyone on the same page, with absolute transparency, can be a game changer when hiring and retaining Gen Zs.
Disguising business issues or even sugar coating them could leave you vulnerable to exposure by this very vocal group, who tend to take to social media to share their experiences.
You will, however, be pleased to hear that this group embraces challenges and failures as part of the learning process, enabling them to innovate and grow.
Give them a platform to communicate
Gen Zs are a very vocal group so it’s important to always reiterate availability for a conversation.
Offering anonymous avenues of communication like employee engagement surveys and Ask Me Anythings (AMAs) are not a new method of feedback for businesses. This is a method favoured by employees across all generations and it’s certainly welcomed by the younger workforce.
Slack, Teams, Facebook workplace or even WhatsApp are great ways of keeping a steady flow of communication; to encourage collaboration and celebrate the big (and small) wins. It enables them to share their opinions and feel that they are part of the company journey.
And share your feedback too
These employees are invested in learning, proving their worth and growing – and they expect their managers to help them do so.
Gen Zers look for regular feedback and prefer multiple touch points with their managers on a weekly or even daily basis.
Capitalise on their wealth of knowledge
Although millennials can take the crown of the technological pioneers, Gen Z are digital natives with an innovative and pragmatic approach.
As global connectivity soars, this technologically savvy cohort has a crucial part to play in the development of workplace processes.
Shaped by a drastically different world, exposure to the Internet and social networks from early years, gives them a totally new perspective on how we can succeed as a business.
They are entrepreneurial in nature and driven by a desire to learn and grow in their careers. No longer must we fall into the top down approach any more. We must learn from them and let them teach us new ways of working.
Give them a platform to get their next job
The days of working for the same company for your whole career are long gone, in fact Gen Z are expected to have up to 10 jobs between the ages of 18 to 25, with most viewing a one to two year stint at a business as the norm.
Rather than resisting this new norm, why not set them up for success and send them out into the world as brand ambassadors for your business. After all, this hard working and passionate force are likely to make their mark on the world, why not have them out there championing your brand.