What Generation Z Really Wants in the Workplace

No sooner than you thought you had a handle on how to manage and retain Millennials, here comes Generation Z. They are riding the heels of the Millennial generation and they are already making a splash in the workforce. While they might only be between the ages of 15 and 20, this group is ready to take on whatever challenges your workplace presents. The questions is, are you ready for them?

Who is Gen Z?

You might be thinking that Generation Z is the same as the Millennial generation you’ve already heard so much about. That couldn’t be more wrong. Generation Z is the very first generation to grow up with social media, texting, and instant access to videos, music, and information.

Millennial employees have been the catalyst of change in a lot of companies. You may have once thought of them as unhappy, unmanageable, and demanding. But, as it turns out Millennial employees are actually very happy in their workplaces. They know how they contribute and what opportunities are available to further their career growth. However, one thing Millennials wanted more of in the workplace was a solid rewards and recognition program.

Millennial workers challenged your business to build a workplace culture that fosters creativity, learning, and open-minded thinking. Now, Generation Z is ready challenge your company in a new way.

What Do They Want?

Generation Z is characterized by their emotional intelligence and media-awareness. Those born since 1990 already represent nearly 7 percent of the workforce, or more than 11 million people. That segment will grow to 20 million by 2015, to 25 million by 2017 and to 30 million by 2019. This rise in Generation Z employees will require HR professionals to gain a greater understanding of these individuals’ background and approach to work.

Generation Z’s approach to work habits is remarkably practical and money-minded. Seven out of ten described salary as their top work motivator, while 70% also described health insurance as their top workplace “must-have.” While other generations of worker took stock in these things, you might recall Millennials prefer an environment where they can collaborate with others. Flexible schedules, time off, and embracing the latest technology to communicate are also important to them. Millennials also thrive when there's structure, stability, continued learning opportunities, and immediate feedback. Generation Z is motivated by social rewards, mentorship, and constant feedback. They also want to be do meaningful and be given responsibility. Like their predecessors, they also demand flexible schedules. They are looking for stability and that opportunities to advance within a company are based on performance. Generation Z workers want to know that the work they are doing is meaningful and has social impact. They are open-minded and don’t need to adhere to traditional job roles.

What Motivates Them?

Like the Millennials, Generation Z employees thrive in environments where they are given a healthy amount of feedback and training. Providing them with a focused explanation of their job role and giving them a structured definition of their responsibilities will keep Generation Z employees engaged. Other ways to keep Generation Z engaged in the workplace include:

  • Providing opportunities to give back. Focusing on social impact, a great perk for these employees could be granting leave for volunteering.
  • Providing upgraded technology and purchasing the latest software. Generation Z grew up with the latest and greatest technology. They expect their workplace to be up to date.
  • Use technology to recognize them for their good work. Generation Z grew up with social media. They appreciate being thanked in public and won’t hesitate to share accolades through their social profiles.
  • Offer flexibility and allow them to work from remote locations. Again, this group grew up with wireless Internet and smartphone technology. They can do their jobs from home, from the coffee shop, or even from a lounge chair in Cancun. Today’s young workers want to enjoy life and their jobs. Allowing them the flexibility to work from anywhere is a great perk when bringing on Generation Z workers.
  • Allow them to be individuals. They need an environment where they can be independent, competitive and even territorial. 35% of Generation Zers would rather share socks than office space. They are very entrepreneurial and want to ‘own’ their projects and work areas in the organization.

In just a few short years, Generation Z will be taking the workforce by storm. They expect good paying jobs that offer security and investment opportunities. They want to be recognized for the work they do as individuals and know that they are doing a great job. Tailoring rewards to your employees, particularly when you have a multi-generational workforce, helps to make them feel accepted and embraced.

Learn more about recognizing individuals in your workplace. Download our Recognition for Every Personality whitepaper.

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