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There’s a new kid on the scene! Just when the workplace has adapted to the style of millennials, Generation Z has come to shake things up. Baby boomers are beginning to retire, and are being replaced by millennials and generation Z employees. We know about millennials in the workplace. But what is Generation Z? And how we prepare the workplace for them?

About Generation Z:

Generation Z is the age group following the millennial generation. They were born in 1995 and after. Many grew up in the era of mass technology, where social media is a primary form of communication. As digital natives, they can be seen as the most global generation. While there are many similarities between millennials and Generation z’s, there are minor differences that indicate new ways to shape the workplace going forward.

These are the main characteristics of Generation Z workers:

Strengths:

  • Multi-tasking-these workers are the ‘always on’ generation, plugged in constantly and used to shifting focus on multiple screens as any given time.
  • Tech-savvy-having grown up in the age of technology, generation Z’s largely live their lives through a screen. They thus adapt easily to new forms of technology, and are constantly finding new ways to shape technology to benefit them.
  • Natural entrepreneurs-many Generation z’s want to start businesses and have a kick start on their career, with many entering the workforce early. They have a keen eye for detail, and desire to be self-sufficient with control over their jobs and future.
  • Fluidity- Gen Z’s are incredibly fluid in terms of both identity and work. They have experience in a variety of skills, and think about wider implications of their actions. As such, they can adapt easily to change, often facilitating the change themselves.
  • Fast learners-Generation Z’s are fast, keen learners who are always looking for opportunities for growth and advancement.

Weaknesses:

  • Cynical-Generation Z’s tend to be more realistic than their idealistic millennial predecessors.
  • Expectant-Gen Z’s have great expectations for growth and advancement, particularly in the workplace. As a result, they have less company loyalty, and characteristically company hop every few years if advancement opportunities are not granted timely.
  • Reliant on technology- this generation grew up alongside technology and as such depend on it highly in their everyday life.
  • Less rigid-the fluidity of Generation z means that they are less likely to want to work traditional 9-5 hours, preferring flexible work hours and a more open workspace that prioritizes a healthy work/life balance.

How to prepare the workplace for Generation Z workers:

  • Open spaces: if possible, try to relax the company culture to provide a more open workspace. Offer special privileges that make employees want to work there. For example, a break room with a pool table; a free snack cupboard; or social events that encourage bonding and communication. If possible, relaxing the company dress code will aid generation z’s, many of whom are coming from studying and thus are less likely to own professional clothing.
  • Flexible work hours: Generation Z’s are accustomed to working in their own time. Freelance work is becoming incredibly popular with this generation. Considering the interconnectivity of our society today, many jobs are able to be completed remotely. Consider offering flexible work hours, with options to work remotely for jobs that do not require physical presence every day.
  • Growth opportunities: Generation Z’s prioritise and expect personal and professional growth. As such, ensure that there are opportunities for growth, such as sending them to workshops, conferences and training free of charge. Seek out international opportunities that allow employees to travel and gain new knowledge that can benefit them in their post. Offer opportunities of advancement in terms of promotion. These opportunities will make employees want to stay and remain loyal to their company.

What do you think of Generation Z? Let us know in the comments below!

2018 Top Employers in South Africa
Countries with the best quality of life in Africa
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