Just when businesses are getting a solid grasp on how to work with millennials, there's a newer and younger crop of employees you need to understand: Generation Z. And their workplace wants and needs are very different from their millennial counterparts.
Here's what you need to know about these talents born between 1996 and 2010.
In contrast to the millennial generation, Gen Z workers value authenticity over aesthetics. They respect companies that steer clear of gimmicks. Instead, they appreciate those that provide unpretentious and thoughtfully designed physical spaces.
And it’s important to understand that Gen Zers genuinely care about making a difference in the world. These no-nonsense tech natives want to move and shake industries for the better, and they want to avoid anything that might get in their way.
Disruptive Tech Competency
Gen Zers are the first generation that doesn’t know life without the internet. Born into a world filled with emerging technologies, almost anything tech-related is second nature to them. A survey conducted by InFocus found that 97% of Gen Z workers value technological literacy in the workforce. They like organizations that are on the cutting edge -- they desire a workplace that can ride the digital waves of AI, IoT, blockchain, and Industry 4.0 just as well, if not better than they can. No matter what your industry, expect Gen Zers to understand the impact of disruptive technologies you face.
Just like any generation, Gen Zers seek stability when it comes to their finances. CNBC reports that the top priority of Gen Zers is to make money and have a successful career. What makes them stand out from other age groups is how their high regard for individualism makes them determined to be self-reliant.
So, salary will be important in attracting Gen Zers. But to really catch their eye (and avoid overcompensation) spotlight the bigger picture of their compensation by highlighting your company's retirement match, and the various benefits and perks they'll receive.
As a generation that grew up with abundant digital resources, Gen Zers thrive in environments that encourage versatility and flexibility. To get them on board, try to limit rigid rules and procedures. Avoid boxing them in and you’ll set their creativity free -- and that can lead to big rewards.
By offering flexibility for Gen Zers to grow in a rapidly changing digital age, companies can get a headstart on shaping tomorrow's leaders. Options like flexitime, extended vacation leaves and remote work maximize opportunities for Gen Zers. Give them choices and they will reward you with higher productivity and deeper loyalty.
A Kronos report reveals Gen Zers value trust above all else in a manager. This is a generation that values their independence and self-sufficiency. They do not want to be babied or managed too closely. Still, being supportive is the management trait they say is the next most valued management trait. And caring is number three, so you can see you have to walk a fairly fine line between giving them independence while being there for them.
So, consider practicing supportive leadership instead of micromanaging. Help Gen Zers feel trusted and respected as employees. You can do this by having one-on-one feedback sessions, fostering a physical workspace that gives them privacy, and caring about their life outside work while still respecting their boundaries.
Gen Z is worth the effort
As with any generation, understanding and supporting Gen Zers takes some effort. Organizations that don’t make that effort are missing a vital opportunity. We can tell you that the sizable cohort of Gen Zers here at Kudos bring high levels of energy, enthusiasm, idealism and creativity. That means they are a big plus for our culture, productivity, the quality of our product, how well we deal with clients, and ultimately, our bottom line. Gen Z is worth it.