6 Things Every Manager Should Know About Gen Z

Generation Z

You’re a manager and you’ve finally got a handle on Millennials. Or maybe you’re one of the Millennials yourself. Look out. Here comes the next generation, Gen Z.
And they’re nothing like Millennials.
Here are six things every manager needs to know about Generation Z.

1. How they want their workplace structured is different.

Only 9% will want to work from home. Unlike Gen Xers and Millennials who have been adamant about working to live, Gen Zers will be more likely to want to come into the office, with a clearer separation of work and home. A mere 17% of them think an open office environment would support them in doing their best work. The overwhelming majority of them want their own private work space, be that an office or a cubicle. They are hard workers with a strong work ethic, and they want their own space in which to perform that work.

2. They are a resilient bunch.

Millennials were raised to think they are special. Meanwhile, Gen Z, raised during the Great Recession, were raised to be resilient. They watched their parents navigate banks failing, retirement accounts tanking and figuring out how to make ends meet. Learning through osmosis and sometimes direct mentoring from their parents, this generation has mastered resilience. That doesn’t mean they enjoy punishing assignments or long hours, but if they are on board with the big picture, they will figure out how to make it work.

3. Entrepreneurship is in their blood.

With IPO heroes like Mark Zuckerberg and Evan Spiegel, they’ve come of age in a time when tech start-ups, bloggers and YouTube sensations have become independently wealthy under their noses. That successful start-up mentality has influenced what they think is possible. Capitalize on their entrepreneurship, showing how they can be intrapreneurial if you are part of a large organization or where they can most effectively apply their entrepreneurial efforts in a smaller or mid-sized organization.

4. Optimism about the future.

Whereas their Millennial counterparts tend to be more pessimistic (and entitled, many have said), Gen Z sees the glass as half full, and even more than half full when they work hard and apply themselves. Don’t douse their optimism if you want to get their best work from them.

5. They are accustomed to freedom.

Raised like mini-adults by their Gen X parents coupled with being able to explore the world in a device in the palm of their hand, they are accustomed to freedom unknown to previous generations. While their parents might know where they are in the physical world at all times, they have no idea where in the digital world they are. This is the generation that outsmarted the parental controls on their devices, not because they wanted to visit nefarious websites, but just to see if they could, and to see what lies beyond the fire wall. Your coaching skills as a manager might be put to the limit as you navigate giving them their freedom while supervising their work.

6. Keep it real.

Generation Z is more influenced by real, non-airbrushed personalities on YouTube than they are by celebrity endorsements. From their casual unkempt (men) or simple (women) hair styles to their tastes in music and fashion, this generation more than the few generations that immediately preceded them are all about keeping things real. Let their individuality shine through. Reciprocate and show your authentic self and you will win their trust and respect.

Take these six dynamics into account as you onboard Generation Z into your organization and you will be rewarded with optimistic, resilient, entrepreneurial employees who will soon become the next generation of leaders in your organization.

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    Generation Z

    Just when you’ve started to get your head around what makes the Millennials tick, the conversation on generations is changing.

    Say hello to Gen Z.

    Generation Z are those born after 1995.  It’s tempting to think that they are like Millennials on steroids. But that is far from the truth. Gen Zers were raised in the midst of the Great Recession. They came of age in a time when the norm was same-day or next-day delivery of just about anything. True digital natives, they learned to swipe before they learned to talk. For half their lives, they’ve experienced an African American President.

    Meanwhile, their older counterparts, the Millennials (born between 1980 and 1994) came of age in a time marked by 9/11 and other terrorist attacks, political scandals and computer technology starting to become second-nature.

    Oddly enough, Gen Z has far more in common with their great grandparents, who came of age just after the Great Depression. And at 26% of the US population and outnumbering their Millennial counterparts by more than 1 million, Generation Z is important to get to know.

    Just what exactly are the top priorities of this generation that is about to enter the workforce?

    1. They are intent on finishing college and finding a stable job.

    We might see more students graduate in the desirable four-year window, something colleges and universities will delight in.  Their interest in finishing college is driven by practical motives. Most Gen Z college students are seeing college as a route to get a skill set that will enable them to be gainfully employed rather than a time to pursue a topic they are passionate about.

     

    Many in this generation have seen their parents and close family friends lose investments, lose their homes and lose their jobs during the 2008 recession and its aftermath. According to a  Goldman Sachs poll, Generation Z reported that finding a stable job was one of their top priorities and ranks job stability above travel, working out and spending time with family and friends.

    2. They are thrifty and they save.

    The same Goldman Sachs poll showed that Gen Zers are concerned with saving for the future and coming out of college with as little debt as possible. 71% of them report being focused on saving for the future and a full 60% of them have savings accounts. Their largely Gen X parents have taught them to save, much as their great-grandparents did with their children in a post-Depression world.  Their focus on the future is backed up by their actions. A Youthlogix study reported that two thirds of Gen Z said they will take the time to go online and find a coupon for a purchase, compared with only 46% of Millennials.

    3. They are inherently entrepreneurial.

    From role models like Mark Zuckerberg and Evan Spiegel to YouTube stars such as Meg DeAngelis and Tyler Oakley, Generation Z was raised on entrepreneurial icons. One study cites as many as 72% of teens surveyed want to start their own business. Coming of age during the Great Recession has created an impetus to take control of their employment and financial future in an action-oriented manner. A 2015 US Census Bureau report indicated one third of Millennials were living with their parents. Generation Z is taking matters into their own hands and don’t want to be living in mom and dad’s basement. Ever.

    In the coming weeks, the Working Conversation blog will continue its exploration of Generation Z, helping you communicate better with this generation and teaching them what they need to know to succeed at work. They’ll be joining your ranks before you know it.

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    Millennials

    A new research report issued by WorkplaceTrends.com, a research and advisory group, and Virtuali, a leadership training firm, identifies why Millennials want to lead and what they need to be equipped to lead effectively.

    #1. Millennials want to lead.

    An overwhelming majority of Millennials see themselves as future leaders. Of the 412 Millennials surveyed, 91% aspire to hold leadership positions sometime in their career. More than half (52%) of those who plan to lead are women. This is good news for the leadership pipeline in most organizations, at a time when research shows that only 14.2% of the top five positions in S&P 500 companies are women.

    #2. Millennials aspire to be transformational leaders.

    63% said they wanted to be transformation leaders, defined in the study as seeking to inspire and challenge followers with purpose and a sense of excitement. This is consistent with their desire to empower others, with a full 43% reporting that empowerment is their biggest motivator for leading others. By contrast, only 5% reported money as their top motivator and a mere 1% reported power as their top driving force.

    #3. They need leadership training.

    And they aren’t getting it.  More than half (55%) reported dissatisfaction with the leadership development opportunities offered by their company. With the first Millennials hitting their mid-thirties and a glut of baby boomer retirements on the horizon, companies would be wise to heed Millennials warning and get them the leadership training they need.

    #4. They want to learn online and with mentors.

    Millennials reported wanting to learn online, when asked what type of training would be most effective.  A full two-thirds (68%) reported that online training would best suit their needs.  More than half (53%) said they would like to learn from mentors.

    #5. Communication is the most important leadership skill.

    58% of the Millennials surveyed reported communication as the single most critical skill for leaders. Other research has shown that Millennials want to make the world a better place and value that over extrinsic factors like money. Being able to clearly communicate the values and mission of your organization can make all the difference in attracting the top talent the Millennial generation has to offer.  And then provide them with the communication training to lead the organization to carry on.

     

    Question:

    What leadership training is your company offering for Millennials?

     

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