They’re coming, and there is nothing we can do to stop it. If it hasn’t happened already, your company will soon be infiltrated! Start stocking up on supplies and preparing your teams to ensure a smooth transition. You may remember the last wave of integrating Millennials. Trust me when I say that Generation Z is bringing changes that we’ve never seen before. Here is my contingency plan to secure a better level of preparedness and keep you, and your job, off the menu!
- Bring back the human factor.
A report from Millennial Branding found that 53% of Gen Z respondents preferred face-to-face interactions over virtual communications. 52% of them identified honesty as the most important quality of a good leader. This means, you can no longer sit in your corner office, beating around bushes behind closed doors. The movie Warm Bodies was on to something: Gen Z might all look the same but not all of them want to eat you (or in this case, take your job). Like you and me, some of them like a good juicy burger. To identify and attract these individuals, change up your leadership style and take down those barricades. Not only does Generation Z want to meet with you, they also want you to be fully transparent. So if your company is traditionally NOT transparent, it’s time to start a cultural shift. If not, good luck in retaining top talent from this group.
- Break free from tradition.
Generation Z’s are some of the most tech-savvy zombies employees in the workforce. No surprise, then, that 77% of respondents preferred using technology to help them accomplish their goals. They also prefer non-traditional work spaces. A growing portion (27%) would relish the opportunity to work in a co-working space that operates independently of their managers. You don’t need to copy Silicon Valley and replace office chairs with beanbags, but you’re going to want to have a space where these invaders can put their own personal (and, dare I say, human) touch on things.
- Embrace different styles.
Despite being referred to as “the multitasking generation,” only a little over half of Gen Z’s indicated they like to multitask. Having a new generation that likes to focus on where their next meal is coming from can be a huge positive; a dedicated and intense focus on their next meal translates to a dedicated and intense focus on their next project. Oh, and by the way, only 59% expressed desire to work in a fast-paced environment whereas 68% indicated being able to flourish in one. As a leader, you will need to strike a balance between the large droves of Millennials who are juggling multiple projects and running around as if they are infected with “Rage” with the newest invaders who are accustomed to having ample time to just focus on “More brains!”
Something to keep in mind: Gen Z has kept a close watch on the professional careers of their predecessors. They’ve learned and seen how an attitude of entitlement and preference to fly solo are counterproductive to career and personal development. I mean, when was the last time you saw a zombie trying to lone-wolf it? All the stops need to be pulled out if we are to build loyalty with a generation expecting to change employers at least four times in their careers. While they may be more down-to-earth and casual, it’s still important to offer a well-balanced environment that provides clear direction, fosters innovation, and offers guidance and mentorship.