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Enough About Millennials – Generation Z is Entering the Workforce

September 21, 2017

Just when we think we have Millennials figured out and have designed engagement and retention programs around them, in comes Generation Z.  Is Generation Z really that different than Millennials?

Generation Z makes up a quarter of the U.S. population and by 2020 will account for 40% of all consumers. Understanding them will be critical to companies wanting to succeed in the next decade and beyond – from both a consumer and employee perspective.  Also known as the Homeland Generation, Z’s were born between 1996 and 2010.   It’s estimated that by 2020, Generation Z will make up over 35% of the workforce.
So how does Generation Z compare with Millennials in the workplace?  Here are some similarities and differences:

As you can see, there are some similarities, but also some major differences.  It’s important to view each employee as an individual.  Leaders need will need to engage with employees regularly as the mix of Millennials and Generation Z grows.  Millennials need to know they matter and are making a difference; Generation Z needs to know they can advance through hard work and continue to grow financially in a stable organization.  Leaders will need to:

  • Plan for more face-to-face communication.  In order to truly connect with this generation, managers will need to take the time to talk with them regularly and in person.
  • Recognize employee loyalty.  Employers will need to offer avenues for Generation Z employees to excel in the workplace.  These will not be job hoppers as Millennials have been known to be.  They value safety and stability in the workplace.
  • Offer constant feedback.  Studies show that Generation Z employees seek constant guidance, direction, and support. Helping them progress and acquire new skills is a great way to gain their loyalty – which is what they value.
  • Embrace technology in the workplace.  This generation grew up with technology and information at their fingertips 24/7. They will expect the newest technology in the workplace.
  • Provide work flexibility.  Generation Z believes the old adage of “work smart, not hard.”  Modified work days and flexible hours can create a dynamic, more energized workforce and is likely to increase morale.  This goes for Millennials as well.
  • Expect a desire for career growth.  Unlike Millennials, who have been accused of feeling that something is owed to them, Generation Z expects to work hard for advancement and has the desire to grow within an organization rather than jumping ship for a better opportunity.

Generation Z college graduates will begin entering the workforce within the next year.  With them will come a completely different set of values and workplace needs.  Employers will need to be prepared in order to attract this new generation of talent.

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