If you’re tired of hearing about Millennials, you’re in luck. Generation Z is scheduled to outnumber the previous generation sometime this year, comprising 32 percent of the global population of 7.7 billion, nudging out Millennials who account for 31.5 percent of the total.
Also called iGen, the world’s youngest inhabitants are certainly a breed all their own. True digital natives, they’ve never known a world without internet, and have seen turbulent times when it comes to global politics and social change. Their habits are radically different than older generations, which is sure to influence business practices and brands as they become impactful spenders in the global economy.
Known for being highly self-aware problem-solvers, these future workers seem like a manager’s dream. Here’s what you can expect from the next generation, and how your workplace can prepare for their impending arrival.
They’re Coming Faster Than You Think
Generation Z places less emphasis on higher education, with only 11% saying they would take out debt to fund a college degree. They might have the right idea. Even now, only half of those who acquired a college degree work in a job that requires one. What does this mean? They’re going to be entering the job market much sooner than we may have thought.
Since much of Gen Z may be skipping college, they’re going to expect their first job to fill in the gap between graduating high school and skills they need in the business world. This means that desirable companies will be the ones offering in-house advancement programs with internal classes and educational tools at their disposal so they can broaden their skillset. Generation Z wants to see companies that make it a priority to invest in their employees’ success, and considering they’ll probably be much more loyal than Millennials - it’s in your best interest to do so.
Atmosphere is Everything
While flexibility is touted as being a Millennial request at work, the trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Generation Z also sees autonomy at work as an extremely valuable perk, with 73% reporting a healthy work-life balance is more important to them than salary.
Gen Z is more likely to favor a company where their individual work styles will be accommodated. Since this generation is also keen on working alone, activity-based working would help provide various spaces to meet various types of work needs. While complete isolation isn’t their goal, your workforce’s youngest members want to receive credit for their work and want to be given the freedom to choose how they complete that work. Varying spaces in an office offer choice, and feel less formal when meeting in a group is necessary.
Digital Workplace Communicators
True digital communicators, Generation Z has never known a world that wasn’t digitally connected. Which means they are more likely to:
- never turn off their email (or their phone in general)
- expect workplace technology to interact with colleagues
- respond best to digital methods of chat
The youngest generation is much more comfortable exchanging conversation through a device than face-to-face. Your workplace should try to accommodate this need by offering internal tools like Slack to bridge teams together, even if they’re not in the same space. However, encouraging interaction between colleagues is important as well. Creating office community areas or organized happy hours are a good way for young employees to meet their colleagues in a casual environment and help them adjust to their new company’s culture.
Generation Z is used to gathering information constantly, mostly online. You’re going to want to consider how to best inform them of company updates, and it’s most likely not through memos. Consider adopting an employee experience application, like iOFFICE Hummingbird, that connects all of your employees with an interactive tool run by your workplace, so they never miss the latest update.
Creating the perfect work environment is a constantly changing process, and tailoring your workplace for each generation will take some time. Generation Z is bound to bring changes, good and bad, just like millennials did. However, the strongest companies already know this, and will start planning for the next group now, to avoid playing catch-up later. They’re coming whether you prepare for them or not, and making them a priority will ensure you attract the cream of the new crop.