How to Prepare Your Workplace for Gen Z
Just like any other generation, Gen Z have their own preferences, outlooks, and conditions that make them unique. In light of a pandemic, Gen Z has become a bust generation preparing to survive – in stark contrast to many millennials' starting expectation that they would be able to easily thrive.
Gen Z have witnessed a number of failures of the government as well as those of an educational and economic nature. In order for businesses to attract a new generation of workers, they must prepare their workplaces to cater for younger and more creative people who value innovation and change. To help prepare your workplace for Gen Z we’ve made seven key recommendations below:
- Share and Care
Gen Z want to do great work, of course, but they also want to make sure that the years invested in their jobs are propelling them forward on their journey of self-development. Melissah Smith, Founder of Marketing Eye, discusses the necessity for businesses to provide Gen Z workers with continuous learning, development and challenges so that they can reach their goals, “What I would like to see are better support systems and understanding of these young people.”
Gen Z is constantly thinking about their own aspirations and plans for the future. Businesses need to provide Gen Z workers with all the necessary tools to succeed. A great way for businesses to engage and connect with Gen Z is to show them that the business not only cares about their future, but also cares about their personal growth.
- Embrace Competition
As a result of COVID-19, Gen Z workers are competing with one another now more than ever before. Anna D’Souza, Strategy Consultant from Robotic Marketer discusses the challenge many Gen Z workers will face post pandemic, “It was hard enough pre-COVID to find a job, but now with a lot of unemployed people, there’s a lot more competition with those who are highly qualified for the job that you’re applying for.”
With such strong competition, Gen Z workers are now applying for jobs with the mentality that they must beat the next guy or girl to get there. In a way, the embrace of competitiveness has allowed Gen Z workers to develop a strong ‘do it myself’ mentality. Having spent most of the year at home searching job listings, Gen Z workers have developed an independent mindset.
To cater to this attitude, businesses need to provide Gen Z workers with independent projects which encourage them to think beyond the confines of their job descriptions. Not only will this increase business productivity, but it will help Gen Z stay engaged over the long term greatly increasing their sense of loyalty.
- Prioritise Technology
A business's technological sophistication is an important component in attracting Gen Z workers. Having grown up in the technology boom, Gen Z are positioned at the forefront of technology. In order for businesses to stay connected with Gen Z, they must design workplaces that heavily incorporate technology. To attract young, bright, and motivated professionals, businesses need to continuously upgrade their workplace’s technology.
- Initiate Face-to-Face Communication
Although Gen Z have grown up immersed in technology more than any prior generation, they demonstrate a preference towards face-to-face communication over digital. During the pandemic, virtual meetings and check in calls may have worked better for older employees, but as we enter a post-pandemic COVID-safe work environment, younger employees will need face to face contact.
Gen Z workers want to work collaboratively with their colleagues, establishing a real professional connection with them. Marketing Eye’s, Marketing Manager, Kate Hanley discusses that preference for collaboration among young marketers, “I miss the social interaction, the collaboration - as marketers we love the vibe of people.” Upfront communication is preferred by Gen Z workers because of the transparency it facilitates.
As Gen Z workers enter an extremely competitive workforce, they want to get more involved – get their hands dirty, work on things with other people and feel like they’re part of something. In order for businesses to attract younger talent, they should consider open workspaces and creative environments.
- Offer Incentives
While securing employment, making a difference and growing both professionally and personally are all important to Gen Z, they are motivated by money particularly. Gen Z has witnessed first-hand the economic downturn of COVID-19. Many members of their families have lost their jobs. As a result, they have come to value money differently to millennials, who were less concerned with the bottom line.
The challenge is that many Gen Z workers have some fairly unrealistic expectations about their starting salary when they graduate. Instead of primarily focusing on financial incentives, businesses should provide a whole host of alternate motivators to influence employee behaviour and enhance employee motivation. Incentives may include gift vouchers, events, domestic goods, perks and benefits at work or simply acknowledging employee efforts. Rewards of this kind cost far less than pay rises but can have a fantastic impact on staff wellbeing.
- Offer Feedback
Providing regular feedback to any type of employee is integral. Starting out in a new role can feel very overwhelming. As more Gen Z workers enter the workforce, businesses need to facilitate open conversations, set up regular check ins and avoid micromanagement. In doing so, employers will be able to help Gen Z workers feel more assured in their new roles while also conveying to them they care about their personal development. Businesses need to give Gen Z workers the freedom to make their own mistakes and learn from them, but still remain involved enough to help them get back on track.
- Facilitate Open Conversation
Gen Z workers offer businesses an understanding of the mindsets and social behaviours of the youth. To ensure businesses stay fresh and relevant, employers should encourage Gen Z workers to share their ideas and insights. Undervaluing what younger generations have to offer will only hurt your business.
Lennia Pedroso, Marketing Executive of Marketing Eye, discusses the need for both workers and businesses to change the way they think, “Shift your mindset to be open to a new experience.” To capitalise on the inherent creativity that comes from welcoming a different perspective, businesses should look to dismantle hierarchy and order based solely on age. Gen Z workers need to be given opportunities to share their ideas and feel heard. As true digital natives, Gen Z may just come up with the next big thing that will impact your business for the better.
As the most technologically advanced generation of all time, Gen Z have a very cut-throat approach to their work. Facing the fallout of COVID-19, Gen Z are more determined to succeed, make money, and have the best tools at their disposal. Businesses must embrace the forward thinking, hard work, and transparency that Gen Z will bring to the workplace.