The Gen-Z Are Not Born to Fit in
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
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The generation born after 1996, the Gen-Z, are born in a more or less affluent socio-economic environment where they are free to try. A huge chunk does not necessarily have to start a job right after completing their education. They have options. It’s just like switching channels when you have the remote control in your hand. The Gen-Z are prone to switching interests within a short span of time. They are a generation who believe in “Let’s try” instead of retiring with unfulfilled wishes of “What if I had tried”.
Think about mobility. If you are born before 1980, travel would mean once or twice a year event for the most of you. The Gen-Z on the other hand are wired to the weekend life. The mobile-first generation work, talk, shop, bank all on their smart screens. The days of stationary cubicles may just be over as this generation typically logs in from anywhere. Characteristically this generation is emerging as creators and collaborators. They are fast, futuristic, realistic and want to work to achieve success.
Let’s see how the characteristics of Gen-Z shape up their career graphs. First and foremost a significant portion of the Gen-Z is disengaged with their present jobs. They are likely to hunt for a new job within a year and/or inclined to startup. They are eager to travel on job. And they are career jugglers. Instances of an IT professional becoming a part-time standup comedian or an engineer becoming a part-time food or travel blogger is increasing. Also the instances of career transition from one option to another is gaining popularity. Gen-Z are real-time and on-the-move. They expect work to come to them instead of waiting for one or searching for one. If they like something they want it right now wherever they are. Having their basic financial security already in place a large percentage of Gen-Z is being brought up to look for satisfaction. This makes the Gen-Z rate job satisfaction higher than job security. There are 350 million of Gen-Z in the total population.
How much of the professional characteristics of the Gen-Z are being addressed by companies now? Which of the following boxes do you tick when it comes to attracting and retaining Gen-Z?
- Are workspaces well-equipped to accommodate the mobile Gen-Z? Are you ready to build work environments equipped with tech that can orchestrate remote teams? A large percentage of Gen-Z prefers face to face communication. Tech backed by practices such as location independent, all hands meets are what you need to keep them engaged.
- Gen-Z thrive on recognition. How strong are your reward mechanisms? Do you have mechanisms to track performance in a real-time and reward top performers? If not, your best talents may quickly be falling out of love with you.
- Gen-Z are not selfish pricks living in cocooned cells. They are good team players. Creating collaborative spaces for them, online and offline, is the key. A wired office with co-working spaces, collaborative wikis and intuitive discussion forums are what you need to appeal to them.
- Challenge motivates Gen-Z over money. Do you have internal and external job fitment mechanisms in place that can automatically match your star employees or potential employees to interesting creative problems that they can solve? Throwing Gen-Z into the system and expecting them to stick to it is not going to happen.
- Spare a thought not just for the energetic Gen-Z but for your HR who are dealing with them. Talent hunting process is expensive and time consuming. Spotting the right talents quickly and accurately is tricky and the dynamic Gen-Z just complicates things more. Are you doing enough to upgrade the retro tools that your HR use to meet your talent needs.
- Gen-Z choose companies for working with a consumer mindset. The traditional ways of managing your talent pool needs an upside down disruption to appeal to Gen-Z. This generation does not like to be managed at the first place, they love to be enabled.
The future of work is gearing up for massive technology disruptions. The usages of real-time reward mechanisms, chatbots, collaboration tech is going to be deployed at larger scales to make work engaging. This generation works very differently from the kind of paradigms our workspaces are built to support. If we are not ready for a change, we will probably lose out on the best of the Gen-Z talents.