Gen Z . . . The Generation That Will Change the World One Business at a Time

Gen Z . . . The Generation That Will Change the World One Business at a Time

By Greg A. Pestinger

Over the past couple of months, we have talked about the benefits that 50+ employees bring to the workplace. This month we are headed to those that boomers will soon, if not already find occupying the office down the hall, the cubicle next door or for the really progressive companies, on a weekly WebEx from home. The good news is, that both generations, and all in between, can benefit from their new work environment.

Today we are going to talk about the group of young people entering the workforce for the first time, Gen Z, aka “Centennials” or “iGen”. This generation, born between the mid-1990s and the mid-2000s, is significant. They outnumber Millennials, Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers and represent over 25% of the U.S. population.

Generation Z practically came out of the womb texting on an iPhone and posting on Twitter and Snapchat. They represent the future of corporate America and learning what makes them tick and how to adapt the workplace for these tech-savvy young people is a priority to compete. Employers who learn how to motivate Gen Z will have a distinct advantage as this generation continues to join the workforce.

So, what exactly makes Gen Z tick and how do we motivate them.

First, Gen Zers are motivated by financial stability and a feeling of belonging. They need to contribute positively in the world. According to a study by marketing agency Sparks & Honey, 60 percent of Z’ers want to make an impact.

Second, Gen Z seeks job security. Their sense of insecurity results from growing up with 9-11, terrorist attacks and the Great Recession. That insecurity translates into Z’ers wanting fewer jobs during their careers than their Millennials co-workers. They work hard and crave honesty, transparency, fairness and equality in the workplace.

Third, Gen Z’s want to make a difference. They are concerned and informed about world events. Volunteer opportunities are essential to their civic-mindedness. They won’t be happy in an organization that stands in the way of their social priorities.

Fourth, Gen Z’s want control over their futures. College debt is a major concern. Half of Gen Z high-school students serve internships or volunteer in their interest areas to get scholarships and to be competitive once they enter the job market. They are non-traditional learners. They look to You-Tube how-to videos to expand their knowledge and skills. But they need an environment where they can be independent, competitive and even territorial. Of Z’ers surveyed, 72 percent want to start a business someday. And when they work for someone else, they want to own their projects.

Tips for Engaging Gen Z at Work

Talk to Gen Z about value: They understand what things are worth after they watched parents deal with layoffs and financial uncertainty during the Great Recession.

Communicate through storytelling and visual images: They communicate quickly and use emoji’s. pictures, symbols or video to present information. Tell a story. Communicate a little at a time – carve content into digestible bites.

Provide an environment that encourages quick decisions: Z’ers want to make quick decisions at work and are impatient with long processes that they see as unnecessary. Check their logic to make sure they are moving in the right direction, help them navigate the system, then be there to coach them along the way.

Be a mentor: Guide them, respect them and listen to them–they may have valid critiques and suggestions that you can benefit from as well. Collaborate and help Z’ers connect with others and build expertise and a sense of contribution. Feed their curiosity.

Be up to date with technology and today's work environments: They have been on the web since birth. 91 percent will pass on a job if the employer is not technically mature and experienced. They also want the choice to work remotely.

This quite possibly could be the most educated, most passionate and most talented generation yet. Next month I will introduce you to an incredible experience I was fortunate to be a part of and know in advance that Gen Z was at the heart of it. Rest assured, we are all in very good hands.

When jobs sit vacant, this generation quite possible could be the key to your company’s future, that secret ingredient to take it where you always knew it could go.




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