By Emmanuel Zvada
Look around your workplace. For the first time in history, four different generations are collaborating in the modern workplace. Your office is filled with employees from various generations, such as the silent generation, baby boomers, Gen X and millennials. Generation Z is still relatively new to the workplace, but it is already making its mark in businesses by demonstrating new levels of digital competence, dedication, and drive to achieve a goal.
Who are the Zillenials?
Who or what is generation Z? For those who might still be debating whether millennials have changed the way we do business, it might be of benefit to know that there is now another distinct generational group approaching the workforce and the group is of generation Z. A new generation of influencers that has come on the scene and it is the Zillennials or generation Z. Members of generation Z — loosely, people born from 1995 to 2010 are true digital natives.
Generation Z, more or less, comprises those who grew up deeply connected to technology, practically from the moment they became self-aware. Generation Z’s characteristics are interesting and specific; and it is known for being ever-present messaging on the internet, on social networks, and on mobile systems. This generation tends to care about trends, but is also quick to research on topical issues. Some organisations have already started employing the new cohort of young professionals which is Gen Z. It is funny this generation was born into an online world and is now entering the workforce and compelling other generations to adapt to it, not vice-versa.
Characteristics of generation Z
Gen Z lives and breathes the digital world. Another distinct difference between Gen Z and millennials can be seen in differences between technology dependence vs technology fluency. Zillenials are more dependent on technology, while millennials have understanding of technology and how to use it. For Gen Z, their technological dependence is not necessarily considered to be an addiction, but rather that they view their mobile devices as “extensions” of themselves, and that they can even feel anxiety without them.
Side hustle generation
The idea of a job for life seems unthinkable to young people entering the world of work today. Work has become less permanent and more fluid and the changing nature of work has manifested in the rise of the side-hustle to bring in extra income for generation Z. It’s very common to see an industrious Gen Z working on a freelance photographic project or managing their own e-commerce website during lunch break. This generation can have more streams of income, especially online. Despite economic hardships, young people have access to digital tools that were beyond their parents’ reach. These platforms offer new opportunities to connect, create and make money.
Zillenials are interconnected
Generation Z truly lives and breathes the virtual connection life and it’s extremely common to see the Zillenials becoming social and product influencers. Social media is a crucial element for this generation as technology continues to expand. As a generation that grew up with high-speed internet and the openness to personal information sharing on social media, Gen Z is well-known for being ever-connected online to their peers and social communities. Generation Z is also well-known for using Tik tok, FaceTime instead of texting or calling, unlike previous generations and their utilisation of social media and digital services.
How should businesses adapt for Gen Z workers?
As generation Z enters the workforce, companies should create environments conducive to recruiting and retaining them. Success in business is all about being able to adapt and adjust effectively to challenges and changes. Companies must show they are diverse, environmentally conscious, and embracing inclusion if they want to recruit and retain Gen Z workers. Before managers look to improve their workplace’s culture, operations and offerings, they must first appreciate who they are working with. They need to understand that employees work differently and that they have dissimilar expectations when it comes to how they produce and what they expect from management.
Avail opportunities and freedom to provide their insights
Zillennials are full of innovative ideas and potential to do great things. While these ideas are often suppressed, they never seem to run out of new ones. They want their knowledge to be acknowledged and to be given enough opportunities to provide their insights. That way they feel that their input is being valued. If they feel they are not being valued, they are prone to high depression levels and that can affect co-workers and the company at large.