Planning For Tomorrow: Generation Z

While a lot of companies are still struggling with millennials, smart HR managers are already looking at Generation Z, oldest of whom are turning 18 and slowly entering the workforce. Why is it worthwhile to start planning for tomorrow now?

Shifting Demographics

Gen Z will be, by all estimates, even trickier to hire and retain than millennials — for whom money is not as important as potential for growth and self-improvement. First, studies with the newest generation, conducted by Adecco, show that although potential for growth is important to them as well, it is not such high a priority (41% for Millennials vs 30% for Generation Z).

Although they have been criticized for having a 8 second attention span, research by Altitude suggest that “Gen Z have a carefully tuned radar for being sold to and a limited amount of time and energy to spend assessing whether something’s worth their time“ and “One-way messaging alone will likely get drowned out in the noise.”

Evolving Your Business

All of these generational factors are worth considering when planning for tomorrow. HR specialists, managers and team leaders will need to adapt. For example, employee engagement and two-way communication are important when dealing with Millennials now. But 5 years from now, these factors will be essential for any employer that wants to attract and keep next-generation talent.

Luckily, employers have a variety of options to help as they begin planning for tomorrow:

What Kind of Culture Will You Need to Offer?

It will require a very fine tuning of a company’s environment (culture and communications) to attract young people while unemployment is going down. The same studies mentioned previously show that for young people getting a dream job is more important than ever.

An attractive work environment is a place where an employee wants to work. For Millennials, it requires a positive relationship with a supervisor, clear two-way communications and a chance to improve yourself. I’m sure it’s the same for Generation Z but they want more of everything.

What Kind of Technology Will You Need to Provide?

They also want everything to be digital. Communication must be fast, mobile and available on your iPhone. Work should be engaging (think of social online games),There must be enough independents that they can prove themselves and earn immediate recognition.

There are already a lot of tools for this sort of interaction (most of them start-ups created by Millennials). Some of them (like Office 365) offer complete solutions as an EPN but this is actually not what most companies need. It’s better to find one or two apps that cater to a specific need. For instance, if you need a project management tool, you can try Basecamp, or if you need a feedback/reporting tool, Weekdone progress reporting app allows for quick PPP or OKR based solution, that give an overview of everyone’s work without spending those 8 seconds.

Online communication tools add a feeling of social media to working, which is very important to both Generation Z and Millennials. Whether it’s game-like achievements or collecting points, it’s familiar for the young. Don’t forget: this generation has never lived in a world without a smartphone or iPad. For them, 24h Internet access is a normal thing. And they prefer communicating “in spurts of shorter, but more frequent, bursts of information” aka texting.

They expect not to lose all this when going to the office.

Staying Ahead While Planning for Tomorrow

There are many rewards for employers who start planning for tomorrow now, so they can attract Gen Z employees ahead of the demographic curve. First of all, you’ll be ahead of others. That gives you a chance to win over the best possible talent. Secondly, Millennials (who’ll soon represent most of the workforce) want the same things. This means you’ll have a strong foundation to make your work environment attractive to the majority of the workforce in the future.

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