EAP Corner

Generation Z – The Youngest Generation Entering the Workforce (Part 6)

The newest and youngest generation hitting the workforce may be the generation to change the landscape of the work environment in the biggest way yet. Generation Zer’s, the next generation after the millenniums, born after 1995, account for 61 million people in the U.S., passing up Generation X and being 2/3 the size of the baby boomer generation. (Morris, 2018)

With this large impact on the workforce, getting to know Generation Z will be crucial. Research on this generation is underway because this generation will require relating in different ways both as consumers and employees. Recruiting this generation will require more marketing efforts. So, we will do well to pay attention. (Morris, 2018)

This generation has lived a different life than their parents and millenniums. They were brought up with technology, namely a smart phone in their hand. They have watched their parents struggle financially (due to the recession and student loan crisis) which may be why their parents had conversations about finances, money and debt with these kids earlier than other generations. This also might be why they are the generation thinking about their own financial future.

The Huffington Post cited eight key differences between the Millennials and Generation Z. This new generation is less focused. Being brought up in the world of continuous updates and faster processing apps the Gen Z’s might have lower attention spans. It has been said that they have an attention span of 8 seconds. (Kleinschmit, 2015) They are also good multitaskers. Falling into line with the technology that is always at their fingertips, they can shift easily between tasks, managing them all. They are also apt to be in the work force at a younger age, opting out of the traditional route of higher education and instead finishing school online if they do it at all. This falls in line with their value of independence. If they can get their knowledge through a non-traditional, more efficient route, they will be doing it. This aligns also with their work choices as they desire to work more independently with 72% of the teens saying they want to start a business someday. They do have expectations that technology be fast and available. They have a need to be appreciated by businesses and retailers. If they don’t feel appreciated, they will just move on. (Beall, 2017)

They are called Post-Millennials, the iGeneration, Founders, Plurals or the Homeland Generation. This group is excited about technology and the innovative ways they can advance human progress in the world. Gen Z’s are willing to mentor older co-workers in technology, which discredits the ‘them’ versus ‘us’ mentality. They also will be looking for being mentored in business. They see immense potential for good through technology with an understanding of the potential within technology, wanting to harness technology to help others and the environment. What they desire from work, beyond a good salary, is the ability to learn new skills and have new experiences. (Cobb, 2018) Hiring Gen Zer’s will be about what is the day-to-day work experience. They are looking for the best cultural fit for them. They want to contribute to the company and be socially connected to everyone.

Employers will be happy to learn that this group likes to work hard and learn, but in a different way. Motivators for this group are a fun place to work, flexible schedule and paid time off. They seek uniqueness in all walks of their life including their future employers. While they want to have fun, they do take their work seriously. They want to do a good job. They will quickly bring some innovative ways to the business and impact the bottom-line. However, they will have to first be trained in taking calls and writing emails. Customer service and Interacting with people is not something they have been equipped with. (Beall, 2017)

This group wants feedback regularly, with 40% surveyed in a recent research project saying they want daily interactions with their boss and if they don’t get it, they often think they have done something wrong. This has employers worried, fearing that the Gen Zer’s will be more difficult to train and manage. (Morris, 2018)

The bottom-line is that each generation, including the Generation Z, brings in their strengths and their weaknesses and as we become aware of what each has to offer the team, we can become moreefficient and work well together as a unit.

Works Cited
Beall, G. (2017, November 6). 8 key differences between Gen Z and Millennials. Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/george-beall/8-key-differences-between_b_12814200.html

Cobb, D. (2018, Nov 7). Four things to expect as Gen Z descends on the workplace. Retrieved from www.delltechnologies.com: https://www.delltechnologies.com/en-us/perspectives/four-things-to-expect-as-gen-z-descends-on-the-workplace/?mkwid=s7TXDXVhW&pcrid=307950998863&pkw=&pmt=b&pdv=c&slid=&product=&pgrid=48687302552&ptaid=dsa-295317350131&VEN1=s7TXDXVhW,307950998863,901qz2667

Kleinschmit, M. (2015). Generation Z characteristics: 5 infographics on the Gen Z lifestyle. Retrieved from www.Visioncritical.com: https://www.visioncritical.com/generation-z-infographics/

Morris, C. (2018, May 2). 61 million Gen Zers are about to enter the US workforce and radically change it forever. Retrieved from www.cnbc.com: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/01/61-million-gen-zers-about-to-enter-us-workforce-and-change-it.html

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  • Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.


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