Managing Gen Z at the workplace

Team environments are not a problem for Gen Z, but many young employees prefer to work on individual projects as much as possible. [iStockphoto]

They make up to 24 per cent of the total global workforce. Born roughly between 1996 to 2015, they have witnessed the Great Recession.

They are living in a season that has experienced great unemployment, environmental crisis, political and civil unrest.

Gen Zers want to work with organisations that offer them security and stability. Living in a world of chaos, they Want a peaceful work experience. Gen Zers care about changing the world, just like millennials do. They contribute greatly to their communities.

Some of their characteristics are

  • Preference for traditional communication
  • Even though Generation Z grew up with texting and instant messages, they prefer to speak face-to-face in the workplace. This could be because they find written communication difficult to interpret so they prefer personal interaction.

  • Desire to work individually
  • Team environments are not a problem for Gen Z, but many young employees prefer to work on individual projects as much as possible. By working independently, Gen Zers are able to showcase their skills and abilities as a way to prove themselves to employers.

  • Mobile-first habits
  • Generation Z is used to smartphones and relies heavily on productivity apps in the workplace. Not only that, but the development of voice command technologies has made the smartphone an indispensable work aid for Gen Z. Employers who are aware of this should use apps that work best on mobile devices.

  • Motivated by stability
  • Because Gen Z grew up in a time of serious economic recession, they are more risk-averse than Millennials. Thus, they value the stability that comes from having a predictable job with a clearly defined compensation package.

  • Naturally competitive
  • Generation Z is used to competition and enjoys the challenge of putting themselves to the test against someone else. If you can encourage a healthy sense of competition in your workplace, particularly during the training stage, you can keep young employees motivated and help them to do their best work.

    Differences with millennials

    • Gen Z focuses on money and security while millennials focus on purpose and legacy
    • Gen Z prefer frequent feedback on performance but millennials rely on ongoing conversations and make judgements of the future in the workplace
    • Gen Z are motivated by competition and individual performance while millennials are interested in teamwork
    • Gen Z strikes a healthy work-life balance while millennials treat work as a very important life priority.
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