The conversation around Gen Z in the workplace receives a lot of negative attention whether we’re in discussion about their work fashion or their work ethic. Time and again, we see reports of how managers are struggling to handle the incoming workforce, and as a result, understanding Gen Z in the workplace has taken a back seat with many choosing to distance themselves from the cohort instead. There are many benefits of employing Gen Z in the workplace that begin from the unique perspective they bring to tasks and extend to their demand for fair working conditions for everyone involved at work.
Gen Z will account for 27 percent of the workforce by 2025 and organizations need to start taking their role at the company more seriously if they want their companies to succeed in the long run.
Considering the Role of Gen Z in the Workplace
Every generation grows up during times of political uncertainty and faces struggles unique to the context of that specific period. The Gen Z population is no different and the digital natives have been more exposed to global conflicts than any that came before them. The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the biggest, most impactful global issues that we have witnessed and not only did it affect the health and quality of life for many individuals but also dramatically altered the nature of work overall. Many of the Gen Z workers who have entered the workforce recently have done so with limited exposure to the professional world or its requirements, understandably setting them back from fully equipping themselves with the soft skills necessary to make the right impact.
In terms of monetary remunerations, during such times of prolonged inflation and recession, the Gen Z workforce is also turning to multiple jobs to meet their day-to-day needs, often moonlighting at different organizations or taking on freelance work in order to ensure a stable income. A survey by Kantar found that 40 percent of Gen Z workers are combining at least two roles, especially those at the beginning of their careers. And while many do this to keep up with the cost of living, for others there is uncertainty in their existing jobs, with layoffs becoming such a normalized part of our employment prospects. According to Demand Sage, 40 percent of Americans have been laid off at least once during the course of their careers, making it even more essential to keep multiple income streams open simultaneously.
Gen Z in the workplace are also seen as more “flighty” than ever, switching jobs and careers more frequently than ever before. While it feels exclusively like a Gen Z trend, millennials have been switching roles with just as much frequency. These trends arise as people no longer see a linear career path that is clearly suited for them, with multiple job roles regularly being devised across industries. Many appear comfortable with experimenting with job roles until they find something that fits and moving from role to role does not intimidate the workforce like it used to before. While pay still tops the list of reasons for picking a job, Deloitte reports that it is not as important to workers as it was for previous generations. Prioritizing work culture, diversity, sustainability, and on-the-job learning among other things is just one of the many ways Gen Z is changing the workplace.
Benefits of Gen Z in the Workplace
Understanding Gen Z in the workplace needs to be a critical component in your approach to your workforce as young talent has the best potential to be molded to your company’s needs. If you do not make a dedicated effort to assimilate Gen Z in the workplace, you might find older employees alienating these employees instead of guiding them to adapt to the professional setting. This will only serve to push your employees to seek opportunities outside of the workforce. Explore for yourself how Gen Z is changing the workplace and you should see the hiring benefits of Gen Z in the workplace.
A quick survey of Gen Z in your workplace might show you that the group is the most adept at understanding and picking up on technology overall. For a global workforce that is headed towards a digital, AI-centric future, it is important for companies to embrace technological adoption and a big part of that is adopting workers most comfortable with tech as well. While millennials are just as familiar with technology, the ease of adoption is much more fast-paced with the Gen Z workforce. Even when they encounter technology that is entirely new to them, it is much easier for these employees to pick up on using the tech tools and customizing them to suit their own needs. Such familiarity with tech can be beneficial for a company and it does not have to stop with their expertise being restricted to them only.
Just as older workers are best placed to teach the younglings about the market, the various job assignments, the ins and outs of working with specific clients, etc., the Gen Z workforce can also be involved in helping their coworkers with technology. Many companies ignore the resources and knowledge that these young workers bring to the organization, dismissing them as unnecessary for the organization, and this is why they fail at understanding Gen Z in the workplace.
Innovation and Inquisitive Thinking
Among the many benefits of Gen Z in the workplace is their desire for innovation. While traditional strategies and techniques have their place in our businesses, companies also need to be open to the possibility of change. The Gen Z workforce has often been criticized for being a disruptive force in the way of work but consider channeling their ideas to a team that can actually give their ideas the time and attention they deserve. Companies need to be open to the questions that their Gen Z employees have and seriously address why things have to be a certain way or why a new strategy that is suggested does or does not feel viable for the organization. Not every innovative idea can be put into action, but a company that values insight from their employees might find that these inputs can sometimes be employed in their journey towards success.
Many companies like Denny’s and Duolingo have fully embraced marketing that tips its hat to internet culture, using memes and humor to reach their target audience. By doing so, they’ve found themselves to be brand names with a loyal user base that looks forward to everything that they do. By talking to your Gen Z employees, you might just be next in line to find such global acceptance yourself.
Company Culture and Social Impact
A company depends on its employees to make any headway towards its goals, and today, it is more important for companies to acknowledge this than ever before. Considering that Gen Z employees in the workplace prioritize company culture, they motivate employers to also consider their culture a little more seriously. Organizations need to value the culture of their company not just to pacify their young employees but also because of a genuine desire to build a company where people aspire to work.
The Gen Z workforce is often very willing to lead or support social initiatives that a company is interested in exploring, and prefers organizations that attempt to give back to their community in some measure. Consider putting the Gen Z entrepreneurial skills to use and supporting their interests, whether in initiating employee resource groups or supporting a social cause. Realistically, not every idea can be funded but considering the employee opinion overall and devising a strategy that is supposed by a majority of your employees is always useful.
Prioritizing Mentorship and Learning
It is no secret that the Gen Z workforce appreciates constant engagement whether it’s in the social media content they consume or the kind of mentorship they seek within their company. They seek opportunity and can be engaged easily if an organization seriously considers the kind of supervision they can extend to the group. Gen Z in the workplace can thrive if they are regularly updated on their and the company’s overall progress and managers who make it a point to check in with them will find it much easier to understand and work with them as well. By prioritizing mentorship for all employees, not just the Gen Z workforce, organizations can better understand their employees as well as create a lasting bond with them.
By understanding Gen Z in the workplace, employers will find that their interests can be aligned with the organization quite easily as long as their own needs and growth potential are not ignored. By constructing a plan for these employees, employers will find all their employees more satisfied with the workplace as well, which is an indirect but useful benefit of hiring Gen Z employees.
Consider the future of your organization carefully and determine whether you really want to distance the future workforce from considering your organization as a desirable place to work. There are many benefits of Gen Z in the workplace and the sooner you decide to work with them instead of against them, the easier it will be to grow your workforce efficiently.