By Anja van den Berg
Entire industries and businesses will rise and fall in the wake of Generation Z. And, according to Deloitte’s report on the subject, only a handful of companies seem to be ready for them.
Generation Z will soon surpass Millennials as the most populous generation globally, with more than one-third of the world’s population counting themselves as Gen Zers.
Born between 1995 and 2012, Generation Z is on track to be the most diverse generation in history. Gen Z is making its presence known in the workplace in a significant way – and it’s essential to understand the differences that set them apart.
What types of behaviour do they display? And what sort of impact will they have on the workplace, business and the economy? Expert advisors give us a few central pointers:
- Work-life balance is more important than salary
While salary might have been the most crucial factor in deciding on a job, Generation Z values salary less than every other generation, says Deloitte. Work-life balance is significantly more important than salary for the Gen Z workforce. Research shows that 38% of Gen Zers considers work-life balance as their number one factor in choosing an employer.
- They want clear purpose and transparency
Most Gen Zers are sceptical and cynical, says Rea Regan, Marketing Communications Manager at Connecteam. They grew up as digital natives and have had access to unfiltered information since their earliest memories. Thus, traditional media gatekeepers did not shelter them from the harsh realities of the world. And they are sceptical. They expect their employer to be authentic and transparent about expectations and motives. They want to be kept in the loop and included in decisions. Don’t merely hand a Gen Zer a list of outputs. Leaders need their buy-in to achieve success. But, once they have bought in, they will see the project through – and probably make it even better than anticipated. That is, if management offers them room to experiment.
- They want permission to try – and possibly fail
Usually, if a project or task doesn’t work out as planned, it is declared a failure. However, the Gen Z workforce doesn’t foster that kind of mindset. Instead, they view failure as an opportunity to grow. According to a recent survey, 80% of Gen Zers think that embracing failure on a project will help them be more innovative. In that same survey, 17% said that embracing failure will make them more comfortable to take on new risks. By understanding that Gen Zers in the workplace are more fearless and crave opportunities to learn and grow, leaders can create an environment that helps them thrive.
Gen Zers demand greater personalisation in how they move along their career journey. Organisations will need a different mindset to attract and retain the best and brightest of the generation. Employers must be ready to adopt a speed of evolution that matches the external environment. That means developing robust training and leadership programmes with an objective and tangible focus on diversity. Leaders need to understand the essence of Gen Zers and build an onboarding programme that speaks to their core. A company must set the tone on the first day a new employee sets foot in the company door. Leaders must ensure employee engagement from day one.