December is here and the New Year will soon be upon us! As 2020 approaches, we have been thinking about what the biggest changes in business will be as we enter the next decade. One major change stands out to us – the rapidly increasing presence of Generation Z in the global workforce. Why should businesses prepare for this, and how can they do so?
Generation Z, Gen Z, even the pejoratively-named ‘Snowflake’ generation (more on this later)… you may have heard or seen these terms online in the past year or two, but their definition remains unclear for many. Born after the mid 1990s, according to Forbes*, Generation Z is the first to have grown up without ever experiencing a tech-free world, the most ‘global’ and open-minded generation yet, and one which is incredibly resourceful and self-reliant.
With the oldest members of this group being 23 years old, it is estimated that up to 36% of the global workforce will be composed of generation Z by 2020. Often compared to their predecessors, Millennials**, the members of Gen Z nevertheless differ in many ways. Here are some ways in which they are unique, and how you can optimise their transition into the workplace accordingly.
1. They’re tech-savvy…
Considering the opening of the World Wide Web to the public in 1991, and the invention of the very first smartphone the following year, Generation Z grew up immersed within a technological revolution. For them, high-speed internet, smartphones and social media are the norm, and just as big a part of everyday life as work, food, etc. It is therefore no wonder that they now expect these technological advances to be integrated into their working lives.
So, employers and managers, make sure that you reach out to Generation Z through social media and online networking. According to a study led by BNP Paribas and The Boson Project, 40% of Gen Z prioritises a good network over a good education to be successful. At TeamRH, Recruitment Company based in Paris, we know that it is essential to optimise your brand awareness through platforms such as LinkedIn by contacting potential employees directly. If appropriate, promote your brand through other platforms such as Twitter (politics, journalism sectors) and Instagram (retail, marketing sectors). Use visuals and videos to attract them to your firm.
Ensure that your office space is tech-friendly. This doesn’t mean investing in all of the latest high-tech innovations (though investing in some is a must!). Generation Z is used to using a variety of devices for their work – PCs, laptops, phones and tablets – and will sometimes be happy to use their personal devices for these matters. Be flexible, trust them to use whichever one they feel they will work best with, and encourage them to share their knowledge with the members of your workforce who may not be as accustomed to a tech-heavy way of working.
2. … But they place a high value on face-to-face contact
This hyper-connectivity has sometimes led older generations to view Generation Z as overly reliant on technology and unable to engage in face-to-face contact effectively. On the contrary, this generation is aware of the potential negative effect of technology on both personal and working relationships, and therefore actively seek a company culture in which face-to-face contact is key.
In this new ‘era of collaboration’, it is therefore essential to create a transparent, open working space for Gen Z employees. Co-working spaces and a culture which encourages open discussion with superiors will be attractive to their need for regular feedback and for a level, non-hierarchical management style. As over 65% of Gen Z need frequent feedback in their job, make sure that your company culture promotes regular praise and advice. Do not be afraid to critique their work either – for Generation Z, failure is not something to shy away from, but rather a step towards improvement in their career.
3. They’re entrepreneurial
Generation Z’s point of view on traditional company culture is that it is ‘difficult’ and ‘complicated’, associating it with discrimination, hierarchy and a lack of transparency. It is therefore unsurprising that Gen Z has developed an entrepreneurial mind-set, a wish to take responsibility for their own career. Independent and ambitious, they are quite the opposite of the sensitive, easily-offended ‘snowflakes’ that some members of older generations have deemed them to be!
It is essential that businesses keep Generation Z’s autonomy and entrepreneurial mind-set into account. Their fresh ideas must be listened to and taken seriously. Trust them, give them responsibilities and let them work independently if you wish to gain their loyalty.
Establishing mentoring programmes or mixed-age teams will ensure that your Gen Z employees will continue to hone their skills within the business, but it will also allow them to communicate their ideas to more senior members of staff. This two-way approach is not only essential in ensuring collaboration between all employees within today’s 5–generation workplace, but it will also keep your Gen Z employees satisfied and challenged in their personal and professional development.
4. They’re flexible
As the most internationally open generation yet, roughly 70% of Generation Z would consider working abroad.
As a group which is more open to movement and change than previous generations, the members of Gen Z are ideal hires for positions which may require travel or unusual working hours. As explained in point 3, they take full responsibility for their career and are willing to make some sacrifices for it.
However, the members of Generation Z expect flexibility and understanding from the hiring company too. A last minute business trip? Overtime? Sure, but they will expect remote working days, flexible hours and an appropriate salary in return. Make sure you are fair and ready to compromise.
So, employers and managers, here are the main things to remember about Generation Z: They value an open, trustworthy, flexible and fair company culture. ‘Humanise’ your business, you’re your young employees responsibilities and benefit from their originality, drive and tech knowledge in return!
*Read the article here.
**Read our article about Millennials here!
TeamRH is a Recruitment Company located in Paris. It is a crucial player in the legal and financial sector. We provide services for our national and international clients, aligning ourselves with their pursuit of excellence.
Another of our defining features is that we attach a great importance to each candidate’s soft skills, or interpersonal skills, with the aim to offer them, as well as our clients, the best candidate/business match possible. Therefore, when sending us your CV, do not hesitate to mention anything which can demonstrate who you are, as well as your technical skills and work experience.
Take a look at our current positions here. Apply today!