Move Over Millennials, Generation Z is Coming for The Workplace

by Kaitlan Whitteberry on December 1, 2017

So you’ve finally managed to satisfy the millennials at your office. You’ve provided activity-based working, collaboration spaces and break rooms to keep them engaged. Your managers give them constant feedback, and you’ve started an employee wellness program at their request. Kudos, for the hard work! But brace yourself. There’s a new kid in town, and she’s totally different from the last group that shook things up. Meet the latest to enter your workforce, generation z.

The millennial generation made a few impressions on the traditional office, with their new expectations of the workplace and how and where they wanted to do their job, they won’t soon be forgotten. Generation z is still quite young, composed by those born between 1995 and 2010, these young adults also have some opinions about the

GettyImages-807026104.jpgworking world – and they’re sure to stir things up. Here’s what you can expect from these newbies. 

Generation Z is Highly Competitive at Work

While the millennial generation was used to, and often preferred, working in teams and producing for the greater whole, generation z seems to be more concerned with their individual performance and growth in comparison to their colleagues. With a strong entrepreneurial spirit, the youngest workers on your team are going to be looking to advance within your company, and fast. They see moving up as a way to secure their value at an organization.

Why it matters: This group is accustomed to seeing their peers blabbing on social media about their accomplishments on a daily basis. Recognition is going to need to come frequently from management, and definitely more than once per year. They also may spark competition at work, which can be a positive, if handled appropriately.

Generation Z Prefers Their Own Private Workstation
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Those activity-based workstations you just approved plans for? They’re not a complete waste. In fact, they’re going to serve both generations quite well. While millennials are notorious for wanting to work in large, open areas – generation z is a bit more private. They don’t want their own office exactly, but they prefer privacy during much of their day. ABW (activity-based working) environments a perfect compromise for various generations at your office.

Why it matters: While they’ll love an activity-based work environment, they may not love working with others. Because this doesn’t exactly scream good news for collaboration within an organization, it’s important your workplace gives younger workers independent projects in addition to their role on your team. This will give them a sense of ownership, and will help them perform better when they do work in groups.

Generation Z Values Structure & Predictability at Work

Wanting to keep your top generation z talent around for a while? Offer them money and job security. This is a far cry from the millennial generation, who seemed to be more motivated by their “purpose” than their paycheck. The youngest pool of new workers grew up in a time of financial insecurity, where many of them saw their parents suffer the hardship of the Recession firsthand. This cultivated a sense of fear and perhaps a slight obsession towards finances, and may influence their career decisions down the line. Generation z is going to want to know how much they are going to get paid, if there’s room for advancement and what the rules are right away.

Why it matters: It’s clear this group is very different from the last. And if they dont feel as though they’re compensated properly, or their job is in jeopardy, they may leave in pursuit of more structured pastures.

Generation Z is Susceptible to Distractions at the Office

You thought your millennials had trouble focusing? Just wait. The workplace’s youngest generation is even more scattered. Truly digital natives who were born into a world full of technology, they are familiar with receiving multiple notifications from multiple apps throughout the day. Even though they’re more comfortable with multi-tasking than millennials, this doesn’t necessarily mean they can switch back and forth between tasks, as this group is known for getting distracted easily.

Why it matters: Most managers have already struggled to keep millennials on task, and this new generation won’t be any better. To avoid micro-managing, keeping an open line of communication where employees can voice what projects they enjoy working on will help both parties move forward in a positive way.

Each generation brings their own set of strengths and challenges to the workforce. And as workplace leaders, it’s important to remember these are simply generalizations and individual preferences are going to vary across your organization. It’s always in your best interest to keep a frequent dialogue between you and your employees, so you can adapt the workplace to fit their needs, and they can do their best work.


Kaitlan Whitteberry

Kaitlan Whitteberry is a Magna Cum Laude graduate from the University of Missouri's journalism program, and currently focuses on iOFFICE press releases, software updates and related news.

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