There's a new generation entering the workforce, and it means two important things. Firstly, businesses have a new group to learn about, learn from, and adapt to. And secondly, Millennials will stop seeing articles like THIS! - I'm a millennial, can you tell?
Generation Z are categorised as those born after 1996, meaning the first batch of bright-eyed centennials are starting to work. Early research indicates they are more money-conscious, entrepreneurial, and individualistic, than previous generations, but let's take a deeper look and see how businesses can prepare for the Gen Z workforce.
Of course, personality is very subjective and everyone's different blah blah blah, but there have been studies that draw certain similarities from Gen Zs. Such as the need to be individualistic, active in decision-making and willingness to train and earn money.
This individualistic quality, cultivated from social-media competency and the need to create their own personal brand, coupled with the rise of higher-education degrees in new fields, means companies must adapt their hiring process. Namely, give this new generation the chance to show their individualistic quality through more than simple CVs. Video CVs, providing case studies to work on, and questionnaires will allow Gen Z to show you why they're perfect for open positions.
Another personality trait that will affect businesses is how they work within companies. Generation Z are said to be more active in decision-making processes and leadership especially will have to be ready for this change to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Gen Z employees' ambition may need to be channelled through coaching and training rather than 'managing'.
Centennials will also change the benefits and perks businesses offer. Whereas previous generations valued perks like extra holiday days and experiences, Gen Zs respond to perks related to reducing debt, training and education at reduced prices. Smart companies will start adding these benefits to contracts and communicating them online for the new generation to find.
Lastly, is the need to improve the world with environmental and societal action, being both at a personal level and a consumer level. Businesses won't be able to coast by with a good product or savvy marketing, they must now show how they are positively impacting the world and being transparent while doing it. Otherwise, not only will Generation Z not be your consumers, they won't be part of your workforce either.
Gen Z are digital natives who have little or no memory of the world pre-smartphone. This has made them hypercognitive, able to collect, evaluate and cross-reference data from online sources, and easily integrate virtual, online and offline experiences. This will lead to the further rise of training courses including AR and VR courses for both soft and hard skills.
However, just because this generation is fully digital, doesn't mean they don't want human interaction! In fact, a report stated 90% of Generation-Z wanted a human element woven into their work. Luckily, this may not be too difficult for businesses since the lockdowns of 2020 have increased the amount of video-conferencing and teamworking tools. Just ensure every generation in the workplace has training on how to use such tools, and the human element will remain strong in the company.
Due to Gen Zs entrepreneurial nature and ambition to reduce debt, the rise of the 'gig economy' will become the largest change for workplaces. This builds on the 'slash career' as many Millennials have (such as working in an office while having an Etsy store, for example). Being part of the gig economy entails many, short-term contracts, or generating additional income by temporarily partnering with brands they like or have existing relationships with. Jobs like Uber, TaskRabbit, AirBnB, and Influencer work all falls into this category. This may mean workplaces offering short-term contracts in some cases as well as paid internships, freelance work and influencer marketing. If prepared for now, while the generation is still relatively young, it will pose many advantages for companies in the future, like quick turnaround, a wealth of skills to choose from, and high visibility from influencers with large followings.
Linked to this is the location and layout of workplaces. Due to the rise of temporary work/remote work/freelance work, many Generation Zs would rather work from home or have their own space - making the open office concept a thing of the past!
As digital natives, Gen Zs are used to seeing brands online, with the same power and presence as regular people. Just because a business may have a verified account doesn't mean they hold more weight or privilege in terms of actions, respect or responsibility.
This means (if not done already) companies need to increase their presence on social media while ensuring customer service is present on these platforms too. Not to mention showing how they're positively impacting the world. Doing this will be more fruitful for brands than those that simply offer discounts.
Another change businesses will have to make is how they offer products or services. With the success of platforms like Netflix, Amazon, and Spotify, Generation Z have come to expect 'getting access' to a platform as the main form of consumption. Free trials, limited use, discount codes for first-time buyers, and offering reviews and platform information; all examples of access that businesses will need to adopt unless they want to miss out on a key market.
Preparing for Gen Z
Gen Z may bring about change, but businesses should be able to ready themselves to welcome this new generation into the workforce. Changes like ensuring environmental care, offering platform access, giving training and adopting technology are all achievable with training - which is where myskillcamp can help. We offer over 300,000 courses in 18 languages that cover a wealth of topics, including those that will get you ready with the next generation of workers. Courses like business environments and ethics, remote management, multi-generational management, corporate ethics, future trends for business and technology and so much more.
Check out our training partners and marketplace, better yet get access to our platform (yes, we're Gen Z ready) with a free personalised trial. You can get started right away, no credit card or contract required.