In this guest post, Victoria McKeown (pictured below), head of media and operations at Atomic 212, says the Gen Zs are about to arrive in workplaces on masse and few businesses are ready for it…
It has been reported that in 2016 alone, millions of Baby Boomers will retire, and one in four Millennials will enter into a management role. Baby Boomers have been a part of the old business world, and the new. Now they (along with all of their experience) are transitioning out of the workforce, Millennials are continuing to strengthen their presence, and Gen Z are just making their entrance.
Gen Y came in and shook, and will continue to shake things up with their flexible hours, transparent salaries, and their enticing staff retention methods. They will occupy the workforce for the another 20 to 30 years, but given our attention and focus on them, we should not drop our guards to a potential Gen Z trojan horse.
Gen Z, born from the mid ‘90s to early ‘00s, has joined the Australian workforce at 4.6 million strong – estimated to represent one in five of the entire workforce within the decade.
They have never known life without internet, mobile phones or social media – How will Gen Zs take their advantage? What will they bring to the table? Or push off it? Will they capatilise, and make us dependant on emerging technologies for the workplace such as VR, augmented reality, or something we have never heard of? Or, will they make us work harder for their attention, and retention?
When making decisions regarding their education and career, more than half of Gen Z students (globally) are influenced the most by their parents, second by their teachers, then by the news. Only two percent of them saying that “company representatives at school” had the greatest influence. This means that the drive to fill the shoes of their predecessor professionals is not as enticing as potentially meeting the expectations that have been inferred upon them.
A study conducted by Addecco Staffing USA revealed that Gen Z are more focused on attaining their ‘dream job’, than their older Millennial siblings. They value workplace opportunities over higher entry level salaries – open plan office spaces and flex-hours will not be enough to keep them happy.
…companies may need to retool what they think they know about their incoming employees.” Kathryn Dill, Forbes.
Our retention strategies and management techniques will be tested by a wave of fresh perspectives, once again. To keep Gen Z engaged (aka retained), we need to focus on structured mentoring, the transferal of knowledge, and the open embrace of their technology. As with every generation, we need to be figuring out how to motivate Gen Z and how to attract them. We need to develop processes and systems for onboarding and retaining them. We need to find out what their goals are.
Anoint them, or fear them, Gen Z are on their way. As every generation has done on their arrival, the workforce as we know it will be reshaped – again. I personally look forward to their unveiling future.