Generation Z, from a cultural perspective, differs vastly from the generations before them. Comprising those born between 1995 and 2010, the oldest of the generation are now entering into the workplace. It seems that their cognition and their experiences lead them to challenge the traditional modes of work and they may have different expectations and demands of their workplace.
The question is: are you ready for Generation Z? How can you integrate Generation Z into your workplace to create a diverse and coherent workforce?
Characteristics of Generation Z
Immersed in technology from birth, Generation Z are the first generation to grow up in a technology driven world, therefore they are primed to adapt to technology within the workplace. Research indicates that Generation Z values information on-demand, thus a company with technology at the forefront could be key to compatibility and appeal to this upcoming generation.
Diversity within the workplace
Generation Z are a diverse generation as they have been immersed in a multi-cultural and diverse society from birth. Education on different cultures, genders, sexual orientations and beliefs is more prominent than ever. Generation Z are therefore more fastidious about the type of company and the ethics which they want to be associated with.
They are also, arguably, much more aware of their rights (and the rights of their peers) not to be discriminated against in the workplace. Sometimes accused of being a “snowflake generation”, an employer should be extra careful not to cause offence in the workplace and ensure that their equal opportunities and anti-harassment policies are ingrained into workplace culture.
Research has found that 79% of Generation Z have a desire to start their own business. Being an entrepreneur aligns with many of the personal values of this generation such as a desire for life long personal development, a good work life balance and an appreciation of flexibility. This desire to innovate represents a valuable resource for employers if they can channel the creativity into potential new markets.
Our top tips on how to make your company Generation Z ready
- Integrate emerging technologies
A workplace which creates an engaging experience with technology is something that the Generation Z will be drawn to. Not only will creating a more digital and tech-focused environment make the company more attractive to the Generation Z prospective employee, but can also increase efficiency and productivity. Furthermore, going paperless will make your office more environmentally friendly. Generation Z are more aware and conscious of their environmental impact, thus practises which encompass sustainability will be more attractive to them.
- Use emails as the primary mode of communication instead of letters.
- Have confidential cloud-based systems to access information and storage of files, to enable staff to avoid paper files.
- Increase diversity and equality
Hopefully, these ideals are not isolated to Generation Z, but this generation has been particularly vocal about providing equal opportunities for pay, promotion throughout the workforce and an acceptance and openness towards diversity. 63% of Generation Z believe it is most important to work with people who have diverse education and skill levels. So, you should try to foster a more diverse and equality-based workforce:
- Make sure you have an equal opportunities policy within the staff handbook and/or an equal opportunities statement within the contract of employment.
- Ensure you have a well drafted and well-enforced anti-harassment policy in the staff handbook.
- Offer diversity training initiatives to management and all other employees.
- Financial rewards
Financial security is a driving force behind Generation Z in the workplace as wages have been stagnant since the early 00’s in many industries. To the upcoming generation, financial incentives such as bonuses and performance related pay are vital.
Moreover, Generation Z may be likely to see their first job as a steppingstone and are predicted to change jobs as many as ten times between the ages of 18 and 30. Therefore, offering financial incentives will also assist companies in keeping their Generation Z employees.
- Have a rewards or bonuses policy within the staff handbook to avoid confusion and set out qualifying criteria.
- Incentivise work not only in monetary rewards but in holidays or time-off.
Generation Z have, for the most part, grown up with Baby Boomers or Millennials as their parents, and have seen the sacrifices made by that generation for successful careers. But, as a result, this generation seems to value work-life balance above all else, searching for flexibility in both hours and in workplace.
- Ensure your staff handbook has a flexible working policy and that management are aware of flexible working rights.
- Consider introducing a flexi-time policy.
- Encourage career breaks (whether paid or unpaid) for employees to travel.
- Ensure that your technology (laptops, phone etc), are suitable for employees to work from home, and (where appropriate) ensure that laptops are equipped with time-recording software to monitor employees’ productivity.
How can Thrive Law help?
Here at Thrive we believe that organisations need to be equipped for Generation Z employees who are coming into the workforce. We can assist with reviewing and/or producing staff handbooks that are Generation Z prepared, as well as offering HR services for comprehensive legal support throughout the employment life cycle.
For further information, you can contact us!