For the past 15 years or so, Millennials have been the generation on the rise and have received their fair share of analysis — and punchlines — as they staked their claims to increasingly influential roles in the workplace. Fortunately, and in spite of some fears to the contrary, companies are no worse for wear and, in many ways, becoming stronger than ever before as Millennials settle into positions of leadership.
However, no sooner has one generation found its footing, a new one is already moving in and the skills and characteristics they bring to the workplace are just beginning to take shape.
Here Comes Generation Z
Referred to as Generation Z or the iGeneration, this newest group was born after 1995. And, at nearly 2 billion strong globally, the oldest members of Generation Z are just now beginning to enter the workforce.
They’re the most ethnically diverse generation in history and therefore much more inclusive and tolerant of differences than ever. And, they harbor an independent and competitive spirit. Their Generation X parents taught them there are definite winners and losers in life, and not everyone gets a trophy.
This up-and-coming group is on the leading edge of the digital age. They’ve always known a world with smartphones, Facebook, and Netflix. Generation Z is not excited by the latest technological advances—in their minds, innovation is expected.
They also grew up in the midst of a recession and, as a result, tend to be more frugal and financially savvy. They’re less brand conscious, and tend to trust individuals, not corporations.
Generation Z is open to non-traditional forms of learning. They know how to self-educate and are skilled at finding the information they need and want. Generation Z uses online reviews to research everything, even employers. And although Generation Z’s attention span is shorter than previous generations, they’ve adapted to quickly and efficiently sort through and assess tremendous amounts of information.
They’re natural multi-taskers, easily shifting between work and play, all while multiple distractions go on around them. And, like Millennials, Gen Z are confident and eager to learn new skills. They seek work environments that foster mentoring and prefer a teaching-style of leadership. They envision working for companies that “stand for something” and offer a balance of flexible schedules and work environments.
Despite their inclination toward digital communication, they prefer in-person interactions with managers and coworkers and value frequent feedback.
When dealing with Generation Z, don’t talk down to them or treat them like generational stereotypes. Instead, be direct, visual, and succinct. Appreciate their fresh perspectives, listen to their ideas, and value their opinions. In the coming years, as millions more of them transition into the labor force, we’ll continue to learn more about what motivates Generation Z and their work preferences.
Faces of Change
There are as many as five unique generations working side by side in the workforce today, each with greatly varying beliefs, influences, and traits. So, it’s bound to cause some conflict.
Express Employment Professionals created Faces of Change, a training program intended to shed light on the different generations and a few best practices to manage them. With key insight into the characteristics of Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Generation Z, this program will help you understand generational shifts and expose areas in your business that are prone to generational conflict.
For more information about the Faces of Change program, visit ExpressPros.com today!
I refute the birth years here for the common understanding of generations. Millennials are called such because they were born at the turn of the century, a bit prior and after, therefore Millenial.
My take on the generation trends is listed below, with micro-generations coupled together, because they often warrant two different names due to their characteristics. These generations run an average of 20+ years. I have detailed analysis, but for this purpose, I just submit the years:
1914-1925 The War Generation
1926-1936 The Depression Generation
1937-1943 The Silent Generation
1944-1959 The Baby Boomers
1960-1968 The “Me” Generations
1969-1979 Generation X
1980-1995 Generation Y
2010-2020 Generation Z
You bring up a very interesting point about micro-generations. Older members of a generation, despite sharing many similar characteristics, often feel very disconnected from the younger members of their generation. The so-called “Xennials,” for example, live in the gray area between two generations and share characteristics of both. Here’s an interesting piece Business Insider did about “Xennials” http://www.businessinsider.com/people-born-between-gen-x-millennials-xennials-2017-11
Thanks for the comment, Karen!