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Gen-Z, confused? You might be…

Written by Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce | 11 Oct 2019

Last year, when I was 32 I took the youngest member of my team to a client meeting and within 37 seconds Laurie made me feel eighty-four. On the desk in front of us was what Laurie described as a 3D printed “save icon”- It was in fact a floppy disk. 

Tech savvy and born with binary code replacing their DNA, Generation Z is now entering the workplace, so if you thought millennials were hard enough to fathom, guess again. If you don’t already work with a Gen Z-er, you will soon. Spoiler alert – the Gen-Z’s are blowing the millennials brains.

This new generation is tech native and are born with tablets and smartphones in their hands. This generation born of the age of fast information with everything at their fingertips wouldn’t know about the punishments of copying Encarta for their homework assignment or the pain of a dial up tone. Instead information has been presented to them in a thick and fast, optional manner and with many of Generation Z reportedly spending over 2 hours a day on Youtube, it seems nothing can stop them from quenching their insatiable appetite for information.

Seeing as Youtube, Instagram and other “social media” doesn’t have opening hours its hardly surprising that Gen-Z are reluctant to work a standard working week – this is something in my line of work that is becoming more prevalent. They aren’t lazy or de-motivated rather the opposite- they see the ability to work when they want, how they want as a no brainer provided the job gets done. Companies operating a more flexible working week we surely reap the reward with this generation. Already demanded by the millennial generation this push to put in the hours but do so on the employee’s terms will call for standard time constricted KPI’s to be replaced with achievement metrics and for these to assess whether a full working week has been met?

With most of Gen-Z already resigned to the thought that they will never buy their own home, most of this generation aren’t motivated by money, they look for ever changing job responsibilities, so their crave for information is satisfied. It seems the word “career” could in future no longer be centred around one type of business or job role, rather a collection of skills. Could this be an indicator of where businesses are heading or a testimony to the jack of all trade’s master of none? What would we do without our specialist employees if they suddenly disappeared?

So, what does this hold for the future of our workforce? With retirement ages increasing it seems this may be one of the first times that the older generation will learn more than our younger generations from their colleagues. Most of this generation in fact, reportedly 98% own a smart phone. Traditional methodologies are also up for dispute, video presenting, social media becoming more social enterprise rather than entertainment and the shift in the use of technology as our digital natives enter the workforce, will our new way of doing business push the older generations out rapidly and into lesser specialist roles?

It’s an interesting time for all businesses employing the younger workforce, there are so many skills that can be had in Generation Z, but also this generation needs to be educated in the methodologies of the older workforce in order for harmony to be had.

As a recruiter trying to navigate this new generation, there’s a few things in common the new generation seem to want, that means if you don’t already offer – you may wish to think about it. Benefits such as flexitime to work for a good cause and for the greater good, latest tech and software, communicating internally through video mediums and social media instead of circular email, committing to lowering your businesses carbon footprint and by shifting responsibilities and letting people try different professions within your business can hugely beneficial your staff retention going forward. Engagement is key and if you really need to E-mail then the odd Emoji wouldn’t hurt.

And so I’ll leave you with this, my friends daughter who is nine stayed round this weekend, she was playing with my phone when she slammed it down on the side and proclaimed “why on earth haven’t you got TikTok” which prompted a rather informative tutorial. Gen-z you are super smart!

Topics: recruitment

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