Gen Zers as employees: Expect loyalty from them, but no team-play

Generation Z workers characteristics

Right after Millennials, comes Generation Z. That’s everyone born after 1995. The eldest representatives of this generation are now 23, and they are joining the workforce as we speak.  

What do employers need to know?

Top motivations

Research demonstrates that the top things Gen Zers look for in a job are:

  • High salary (70%) 
  • Ability to pursue their passion (46%)
  • Job security (32%)

Gen Zers display a much more practical attitude to work that the idealistic Millennials. This is believed to be the result of them having been raised during the Great Recession era when many lost their jobs and went out of business.

Loyalty

Another result of Gen Zers having witnessed the stress of the late 2000’s is that they are expected to make loyal employees. 

Surprisingly, 61% of Gen Zers said they saw themselves staying at one company for ten years or longer. And, 73% anticipate that they will work for one to three companies throughout their career (compared to only 58% of Millennials that gave the same answer.)

Individualism 

Gen Zer entrepreneur

Gen Zers display stark individualism. It could be challenging to make them value teamwork. Neither do they wish to be compensated based on how much a team has achieved. They’d rather be evaluated on the merit of their performance.

They’re also a group of self-starters. Almost half of Gen Zers (49%) said they’d rather be their own boss than move up the career ladder. They also value transparency and honesty in bosses, meaning they want to be treated as partners/equals rather than subordinates. 

Bad team players 

By comparison with the three older generations, Gen Zers are a group that cares least about the team/environment they are with/in. Only 19% found it essential (while 27% of the previous three generations did.) 

From any side you look, it seems that Gen Zers lack the group mentality. They’re the least patriotic generation ever and are the most open generation when it comes to embracing diversity and individual freedoms. 

Don’t make them read

Raised in the time of information overload and proliferation of multimedia content (pictures, gifs, YouTube videos) Gen Zers make notoriously poor readers. Since an early age, their brains adjust to severe information overload. 

It’d be brutal to make Gen Zers read lengthy documentation manuals, to familiarize themselves with your 10-page contract or the 55-page on-boarding document. Manuals with schemes and pictures, introduction videos, live conferences - anything will work better than long boring chunks of text. 

Not willing to fill the mould

Gen Zer unique style

Gen Zers have grown up knowing that anything in the world can be custom-made. These days, you can put together your own sandwich, custom-style your sneakers and order a T-shirt with your unique print. 

Customization has become a new way for marketers to reinforce their unique selling proposition. Also, research indicates that Gen Zers value individual style and expression big time. Expect them to lobby for unique working conditions, desks, snacks, and what not. 

Pet projects 

More than any other generation before them, Gen Zers possess the entrepreneur spirit and will strive to wear multiple hats at work. Plus, with the signature FOMO (fear of missing out), there is likely be a million other things they’d like to do besides work. 

That said, Gen Zers will value an employer who either encourages them to pursue a hobby in their free time or supports them in having a pet project during the working hours. In any case, they are unlikely to be a generation completely sold out to their day jobs.

Communication mode 

Just as Millennials, Gen Zers have already gained a reputation for being constantly glued to their smartphones and for their attention deficit. 

At the same time, as uncommon as it is nowadays to make phone calls, 90% of Gen Zers surveyed said they preferred face-to-face communication above all! Hence, the image of the new generation being SMS-obsessed sociophobes could be a myth after all.

Another point to note is that, just like Millenials, generation Z are prolific social media users. (61% of Gen Zers use social media to communicate compared to only 33% among the previous three generations) They grew up using social media to chat with friends and make friends. The newest generation does not trust Facebook that much, though. It’s more concerned about privacy than MIllennials and opts for Snapchat and Instagram. 

Reverse trends 

Finally, there are a few trends about Gen Zers that may sound counter-intuitive. But here they are anyway.

Gen Zers care less about social media than Millennials. Only 49% said social media was an essential part of their lives, while 61% of Millennials agreed. They also go to church more often, have fewer bad habits and are characterized by a more sober, conservative worldview than their more rebellious predecessors.

Sources:

Monster Multi-Generational Workforce Survey

Move Over Millennials; Generation Z Is Here

iGen Tech Disruption Study - The Center for Generational Kinetics, Jason Dorsey

Generation Nation report by Collaborata

How to Get Generation Z to Read Your Blog