With 61 million Gen Zers about to enter the U.S. workforce, it’s important for employers to understand that this generation isn’t a younger cohort of millennials. Generation Z saw millennials experience the financial struggles of the recession, they use technology for both entertainment and education, and many of them would rather run a business from their smartphone than work in a typical office setting. While younger Gen Zers are still in high school, the oldest members of Generation Z are seeking full-time employment, and they’re bringing new expectations to the office. Here are a few things Gen Z doesn’t want in the workplace.
1. Traditional Training
Lectures, handbooks, and large group training sessions aren’t the best ways to get Generation Z up to speed on workplace policies. Instead, many Gen Zers prefer to learn through digital resources. This generation is used to self-educating through YouTube and other online platforms, and even in high school and college, Gen Z often works with classmates and educators through Skype and online forums. When it comes to training new Gen Z employees, online courses or small group activities are more effective tools for teaching them the skills and demands of a job.
2. Strict Hours
Generation Z is willing to work hard, but they don’t necessarily want to do it from an office. Like millennials, they’re interested in location independence and flexible scheduling. They’re open to working longer hours, as long as they can do it on their own terms. The shift toward remote work shouldn’t be seen as a millennial trend — it’s a permanent change in the way employees work. Gen Z expects to have the option to work from home, and since they’ve grown up with smartphones, they’re comfortable communicating digitally with apps like Slack and Asana. Furthermore, about 13 percent of Gen Zers already run their own businesses, and many of them do so using social media platforms. They know that they don’t need to be in the office to do their best work.
3. Open Offices
Millennials experimented with open offices, but recent research shows that open office plans aren’t the best way to boost productivity or cooperation. This trend may be on its way out, but Gen Z isn’t interested in going back to isolated cubicles. Instead, they want to work in offices with both comfortable, individual workspaces and spaces where groups can work collaboratively. Gen Z wants to take initiative and work on solo projects, but they also seek opportunities to work across departments and enjoy an open exchange of ideas with their coworkers.
4. Distant Relationships with Management
Gen Z wants consistent, constructive feedback and personal check-ins from their managers. For Gen Z, speaking with their boss doesn’t mean they’re in trouble — it means their boss is willing to invest time and effort into their development. In fact, 60 percent of Gen Zers say that they want feedback from their managers several times per week, while 40 percent want to interact with their managers on a daily basis. They’re not just seeking praise — they want to be aware of their strengths and shortcomings. Gen Z wants their bosses to be their mentors, too, and they aim to develop strong professional and personal relationships with their supervisors.
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