Move over Millennials, there’s a new generation making waves around the water cooler and they’re seemingly more creative, more entrepreneurial, and more grounded. And while the oldest members of this generation are just starting out in their careers, it’s best to devise a strategy now to engage this multifaceted group.
Just when you thought you had mastered the Millennial mindset, in comes Generation Z. Born between the mid-1990s and the early 2000s, this group is markedly different than their predecessors. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Gen Z makes up nearly a quarter of the population. Soon they will overtake the workforce, bringing with them a different outlook on the world, shaped by what they’ve been exposed to in their young lives. The war on terror, economic turmoil—these issues have caused them to adopt more a pragmatic view than their Millennial counterparts.
As their employer, you may need to tweak your management style to accommodate them. We’ve identified three strengths that Gen Zers possess and what you can do to make the most of these talents.
Master Multitaskers – Gen Zers have never known a time without the internet. They have grown up surrounded by instant access to people, news, and social clutter via their smart phones 24/7. As a result they are accustomed to accomplishing many things at once – like posting on Snapchat, ordering lunch, texting a friend, and downloading music. It’s become second nature and they are surprisingly good at it.
This ability to multitask makes them successful in business for reasons other than the obvious. According to BG Staffing, multitaskers are better able to handle the stress that comes with a new position, require less training, and are more open to new opportunities. When it comes to your Gen Z employees, don’t hesitate to assign responsibilities. But be wary of burnout, you don’t want to take advantage by asking too much of them. (Side note: Anxiety is prevalent among Gen Zers; According the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics there is a 37% rise in depression among this group.)
Eager Entrepreneurs – Thanks to shows like Shark Tank, Gen Zers have been exposed to start-up success at a young age, beyond the everyday lemonade stand. A multi-generational survey conducted by Monster found that nearly half of Gen Zers (49%) want to have their own business, compared to 32% across all working generations. Like Millennials, Gen Zers want the freedom to be their own boss.
Appeal to their entrepreneurial spirit by creating a culture that encourages it. Empower them by giving them the authority to make their own decisions. Nurture their growth by providing opportunities for training and education, and reward them for tackling problems and advancing the company’s interests.
Sensible Starters – Gen Zers tend to be more traditional and conservative than their Millennial predecessors. Growing up among economic and environmental crisis, they tend to play it safe. Lower rates of drinking, drug use, and pregnancy among Gen Zers support this.
Gen Zers value benefits and job security from their employers rather than Millennial-preferred perks like gym memberships and free food. What will keep them happy? Provide them with the top three things they seek in their first job (per the Monster survey referenced above):
- health insurance (70%)
- a competitive salary (63%)
- a boss they respect (61%)