Generation Z has been entering the workforce over the past couple of years. Just when you feel you have a handle on Millennials (born between 1981-1995) in the workforce, here comes Generation Z (born between 1995-2010). Work environments have changed over the past decade to help create cultures where Millennials thrive. However, Gen Z’s needs can be quite different, which may cause your company to re-think things, as Generation Z takes up a greater percentage of your employee base and will have different workplace expectations.
Approximately 73 million people make up Generation Z in the United States. This means Gen Z accounts for about 25 percent of the U.S. population. They are a larger group than Millennials and Gen Xers. Although Gen Z’s demographic profile is still being defined, they will have a big impact on the workforce because of the number of their generation alone. Learning more about Gen Z and their workplace expectations will help your company adapt and change more strategically as you continue to hire more from this new generation.
A similarity Gen Z has with Millennials is that they are very comfortable with technology, primarily because it has always been a part of their lives. They are used to immediate gratification through smartphones, Google searches and Amazon purchases. However, most of them have experienced their parents’ job loss and insecurity one or more times, which causes them to view work differently and have different expectations than Millennials.
Here are some key workplace expectations for Generation Z:
• Job Security: Like Millennials, they wish to make a difference. However, they are more concerned with job security and money. They seek jobs that provide secure long-term employment with commitments of consistent raises, securing their financial future. Your company will need to ensure it provides continual learning and advancement opportunities to this generation or they will look elsewhere.
• Job Independence: Gen Z is competitive, and they also seek independence. They are accustomed to working in teams, but really prefer to work alone. Also, they prefer individual work areas vs open, collaborative work spaces. They want to manage their own projects in order for their own personal skills and talents to shine.
• Respect and Inclusivity: In the minds of Gen Z, respecting and accepting differences is a given. They expect that everyone has a voice regardless of opinion, socio-economic background or race/ethnicity. Whether or not your company espouses respect and inclusivity through its hiring practices and treatment of employees will be noticed by Gen Z.
• Face-to-Face Communication: Despite being known for their heavy use of texting, Gen Z is also highly accustomed to face-to-face communication due to their consistent use of FaceTime, Skype and other similar platforms that offer video. They seek constant feedback on their work and prefer the constructive feedback to be in person. Your company’s managers will find that Gen Z employees will expect more frequent coaching that provides feedback that they can utilize to improve their job performance, skills and knowledge.
• Training: Gen Z wants to build their careers quickly by increasing their skills and knowledge through training. They expect frequent opportunities to attend trainings and opportunities that will enhance their professional value as they expect the training will eventually lead to a promotion or pay raise. These learning opportunities are preferred to be 1-on-1. However, they are accustomed to video/online trainings, particularly if they are short time-based experiences similar to YouTube. Your company would benefit by reviewing its training and skill-building experiences for all employees, not just those for Gen Z, to ensure they are engaging and effective.
A company cannot transform entirely for a generation, but your company needs to ready for Generation Z. They will bring energy as well as new ideas and innovation to your organization. By learning more about Gen Z and their workplace expectations, you can help guide your company’s ability in hiring, training and retaining this large new group of employees.
This article was written by Matt Brillhart, Agriculture Future of America Director of Programs. AgCareers.com is the Strategic Career Success Partner of AFA.