Despite Tech Revolution, Gen Z and Millennials Crave In-Person Collaboration

September 22, 20168:32 am410 views

Consistent with 2014, Gen Z and Millennials continue to prefer communicating with co-workers and managers in-person in lieu of email and phone. This year, Gen Z and Millennials both said “communication” was the most important quality of a leader, compared to “honesty” in 2014.

Despite popular belief, 41 percent of Gen Z say corporate offices are their workplace preference, according to a global study released today by Future Workplace, an HR executive network and research firm dedicated to the future of learning and working, and Randstad US, one of the largest HR services and staffing companies in the United States.

As a follow-up to a previous study conducted in 2014, the Gen Z & Millennials Collide @ Work report focuses on the impact of Gen Z entering the workplace for the first time and how Millennials are engaging with them.

“Despite the introduction and proliferation of new technologies at work, Millennials and Gen Z value the in-person communication that comes with a traditional corporate office much like older generations do. At the same time, they also seek flexible hours and telecommuting that two-thirds of companies still fail to offer. Companies that want to successfully recruit, retain and grow their young talent must look to corporate culture as their competitive advantage moving forward,” says Dan Schawbel, Research Director at Future Workplace and New York Times bestselling author of Promote Yourself.

One of the most pervasive themes from this year’s global study is Gen Z’s propensity and desire for collaboration. Whether it is in a corporate office, at home or in a coffee shop, Gen Z workers prefer collaborative work environments.

In fact, our study found that global Gen Z workers named ‘co-workers who like to collaborate’ as the type of worker who would help them do their best work, second only to co-workers who work as hard as they do.

“Furthermore, more than half (54 percent) of Gen Z’s said the people they work with is the top workplace attribute that enables them to do their best work. Companies seeking to be an employer of choice must leverage the collaborative revolution taking place and provide the technology, tools and processes that facilitate and encourage it,” says Jim Link, Chief Human Resources Officer at Randstad North America.

See: Key Insights into Technology Trends Shaping the Modern Global Workplace

Additional findings from the survey include:

Younger generations want more social media integration at work, but admit it is also their biggest distraction. Globally, the technologies that Gen Z and Millennials want their employers to incorporate into the workplace include: social media (41 percent), wearables (27 percent) and virtual reality (26 percent).

While they want to embrace social media, 46 percent of both generations also agree it is their biggest distraction from getting work done, with text messaging (39 percent) and email (31 percent) following closely.

They want to work in the technology sector. Both Gen Z and Millennials are most interested in working in technology (45 percent) and education (17 percent). Both groups are least interested in Insurance (3 percent), Energy and Utilities (3 percent) and Telecommunications (4 percent).

Almost half (49 percent) of Gen Z and Millennials said they intend to work in their current industry for their entire career, compared to 31 percent who said they won’t.

Globally, work flexibility is now more desirable than healthcare coverage. In 2016, work flexibility has become a more desired employee benefit than healthcare for Millennials and Gen Z, yet only one-third of companies offer it (34 percent). In 2014, healthcare coverage was the most desired employee benefit by both generations, yet only 50 percent of companies offered it.

While most have only worked in one country, they desire to work in many. Seventy-one percent of global Gen Z and Millennials have only worked in one country thus far in their careers, yet 56 percent aspire to work in more than one country in the future.

Those wanting to work in more than one country are more likely to say their companies are performing well financially or have better employee satisfaction scores.

The annual performance review is vanishing. The annual performance review is coming to an end as more Gen Z and Millennials are receiving feedback either daily (19 percent), weekly (24 percent) or “regularly” (23 percent), instead of annually (3 percent). In the United States specifically, 28 percent of Gen Z and 17 percent of Millennials receive feedback regularly.

Millennial managers struggle to navigate the corporate environment. In addition to stress and money, Millennials named “corporate politics” as one of the biggest obstacles that could get in the way of work performance. Additionally, only 27 percent say they are extremely well prepared to work in a team environment or rate their personal skills as “very good.”

Also read: What do Millennials and Non-Millennials Value Most in Leadership at Work?

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