Generation Z is defined as the youngest, most ethnically-diverse generation. Pew Research defined Gen Z as anyone born from 1997 onward, growing up with technology, the internet, and social media which causes them to be stereotyped as tech-addict, anti-social, or social justice warriors. Different from the older generations, Gen Z also holds the implications of growing up in an always-on technological environment that dramatically shifts their behaviours, attitudes, and lifestyles.
Generation Z will become the largest consumers and is projected to comprise about a third of the workforce by 2020. Based on the SHRM review, HR should understand this group’s attitudes toward work and life because Gen Z is characterised as being the most diverse generation in history, having the shortest attention span (8 seconds) and being the world’s first true digital natives.
When it comes to work preferences and expectations, Gen Z can work better with Millennials. Both generations, SHRM noted, are less concerned about stability and more focused on opportunities for innovation, flexibility, and making a meaningful impact on the world. They love transparency and want to work for companies that place a priority on making a positive impact on society. Autonomy, leadership opportunities, dedication to a cause and the chance to be creative are also their main focus.
Given that Gen Z has the shortest attention span than previous generations, it will be more challenging for leaders to manage and retain Gen Z employees. Gen Z is also more demanding than their older counterparts, thus, when a better opportunity arises, they would choose to move on and leave their former employer.
When it comes to managing Gen Z remotely, Smartsheet survey showed that Gen Z and Millennials are still struggling with working remotely. Despite their knowledge in technology, the majority of Gen Z workers (89 percent) are suffering most from the new world of work posed by COVID-19, the survey wrote. Almost two-thirds of Gen Z workers felt that the amount of time spends on video calls made it harder to get their work done.
Smartsheet survey also found that young workers felt less connected to their teams when it comes to working remotely, with 85 percent of Gen Z and 81 percent of Millennials showing this sentiment. Information and technological gaps between peers also create problems since they started working from home.
Smartsheet CEO, Mark Mader advised that thriving in a longer-term means to focus on retaining and managing these younger generations without putting aside the older ones. To do so, HR and employers must go beyond simply connecting people and teams through video-based technology. To be effective, HR leaders need to deeply connect their work and the work of their teams. There should also be a context, structure, tracking and visibility into Gen Z’s work.
Other than that, managers need to constantly focus on developing duties and projects for Gen Z to stay connected with their job. Based on the Yello survey, Gen Z focuses on three priorities when it comes to job search: salary, work-life balance, and job duties and projects. That being said, be it during unprecedented times like crisis or after the crisis, HR and managers should maximise the engagement in terms of feedback, fairness and respect, two-way communication, learning and development, diversity and inclusion, as well as training. Hosting, developing, and investing in an online program that focuses on these young employees’ interests will also help retain them better.