Dear Employers: Are You Ready for Generation Z?

Still think of Generation Z as the children who have their faces stuck in a smartphone or tablet all the time? Then this may surprise you: born from 1997 to 2012, the oldest members of Generation Z are now 23 years old in 2020 according to Pew Research Center. In case you haven’t noticed, the members of Generation Z have been making their way into professional workplaces since last year (we are beginning to see them in the Copart offices too).

Here’s some data to get you into perspective—Gen Z will make up to 20% of the workforce by the end of 2020. That means if you are not currently working with a member of Gen Z, you probably will be soon. In this blog, we want to make sure you know what to expect when you meet this new group of workers, especially if you haven’t had much interaction with them.

Meet Generation Z

Growing up with technology and social media as a true digital native, Generation Z has not known a world without the internet. They are used to quickly receiving and processing a high volume of information at once. Subsequently, we might assume that they want everything to be high-tech at work. While it is true that they are open to multiple forms of communication, recent research has shown that Generation Z prefers face-to-face communication much more with their colleagues. The best way to approach this is to cultivate a workplace of high technology with a human-level touch. Some examples include: an in-person meeting or discussion, or weekly (or even daily) short check-ins and feedback with the support of technology to showcase ideas and information.

While relatively young, Generation Z members in the United States have experienced quite a lot personally. Some of them have experienced the September 11 attack, the trade wars, and the Great Recession and do not know a time when the country was not at war. This can presumably explain why they are reported to value stability at work, and salary is the most critical aspect to consider when choosing a job. Yes, money is essential, but things like work-life balance, benefits and flexible hours also matter very much to Gen Z, according to Deloitte LLP’s findings. It is also important to keep in mind that as the most multicultural generation ever, Generation Zs are social activists who care about whether or not an organization’s values align with their own.

According to Tunheim, while only 11 percent of Millennials would want to start their own business, 17 percent of Gen Z would like to do the same. This data implies that Gen Z is not a believer in putting all their eggs in one basket. Instead, they go for opportunities to experience different options. This is likely why you may see Gen Z members working on their “side hustle” during lunchtime. Some common “side hustle” jobs include being a carpool driver, a blogger/influencer or working in e-commerce.

Indeed, not all employers will support side gigs, as it is easy to assume that employee’s energy for their fulltime job can be taken away. But managers should encourage their employees’ side tasks whenever possible, as these additional tasks can often help employees creatively. This encouragement can result in Generation Z employees bringing more ideas to their fulltime job, as well as supporting themselves financially with just a bit more disposable income.

Now that you know the basics, what are some of the management strategies you can think of about the new generation in the workplace? Let us know how you are planning to lead your team and company to success in the comment section below.


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