Generation Z (Gen Z), like most younger generations, tends to have a bad reputation among leaders who are looking to hire. Commonly assumed to be slackers or frequently “ghosting” the workplace, this generation is smarter and more educated than you would think. They also will bring a fresh perspective and edge that your team may be missing.
If your team is growing at a healthy pace, it will always include a diverse range of ages and demographics. Unfortunately, many companies can veer away from steadily hiring younger people because – if you’re honest – you are not exactly sure how to handle them. That, or you have preconceived notions of the kind of challenges hiring Gen Z employees will require of you, before you’ve even worked with them.
A generation raised as digital natives, Gen Z was born within the years of 1995 and 2015. The majority of them cannot recall a life without Instagram, Facebook and most social media. They are used to being placed in a box by employers, teachers and parents. So, to keep your possibilities open and give Gen Z the opportunities they deserve, here are a few things every Gen Z employee wished their bosses know about their generation:
- They are quick and smart. As the youngest generation and the first to not know a reality without Facebook, Gen Z is often assumed to be misinformed and apathetic. Instead, Gen Z is bright, clever and can think for themselves. As you will find, Gen Z values their independent thought and is ready to keep up with the pace.
- They are the most diversified generation in U.S. history. Gen Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation our nation has ever seen with a slim majority (52%) being non-Hispanic white. Opposed to most generations, Gen Z is so diverse they rarely notice it.
- They are used to getting immediate feedback. Social media, online grading portals, Instant Messaging, Instacart, you name it – this generation is used to getting things, answers and feedback quickly.
- They are not the same as Millennials. Just because Gen Z and Millennials are close in age does not make them the same. These two generations represent many differences. Generation Z is typically pragmatic, while Millennials tend to be idealistic. Gen Z prioritizes saving money while Millennials prioritize experiences. Just because both have been raised in the age of social media does not make them identical.
- They prefer face-to-face communication. Also, contrary to popular stereotypes, just because Gen Z has been raised with social media, it does not mean they don’t desire personal interaction. Particularly in the workplace, face-to-face communication offers clarity, relational development and shows you are personally invested in their development and growth within your company.
- They are ready to do the work to prove themselves. The self-entitled, lazy stereotypes often pinned on younger generations does not apply to Gen Z. Their drive is high, they have a strong work ethic and are willing to do the work to show themselves worthy of being trusted and to gain more responsibility.
- They would rather you not rely on the generalities of their generation to get to know them. Statistics are not going to give you the insights you need to understand who your Gen Z employees are and how they work. Instead, use this information to guide you as you seek to hire and build a relationship with younger employees.
If there is anything that can put a company at a disadvantage, it is when we assume something about individuals before giving them an opportunity. In our culture, we like to think we already know everything about each generation that follows us.
As we begin hiring younger employees in our organizations and companies, it would be easy to put them in a box. But Gen Z employers will be pleasantly surprised. Gen-Z employees may be the missing link your company needs.