What Your Business Should Know About Generation Z

Generation Z (aka Gen Z, iGen, or centennials), refers to the generation that was born between 1997-2012, following millennials. This generation has been raised on the internet and social media, with some of the oldest finishing college by 2020 and entering the workforce. 

These young employees have entered the professional world under conditions that no one could have foreseen. As more and more of them started to work, several questions come to mind: Are companies willing to set them up for success? What can leaders learn from these young workers to improve working conditions for everyone?

Generation X, Y, and Z: Differences and characteristics

It seems like these days so many articles want to focus on these differences between generations. But are we so different from one generation to another? At the end of the day, we all want the same things: happiness, fulfillment, consideration and security. These are universal life goals that most of us share. But when it comes to certain values, attitudes and expectations, there can be significant differences in how members of different generations approach their lives, especially in the area of work.

The Gen Z Perspective on Hybrid Work

Yes, Generation Z is sociable online but since, in general, many do prefer face-to-face interactions. With the effects of the pandemic, the traditional model of the single workplace seems to be over. First of all, for 76% of the younger generation, an alternative model such as the hybrid job is widely favored. Several forms are considered as an alternative solution and seduce the youngest workers.

  • Full remote which would allow them to work from anywhere, appeals to nearly 35% of Gen Z members.
  • The Hybrid solution, a mix of telecommuting and face-to-face work, is much more popular and is considered by nearly 41% of young workers.

However, 24% of young Zoomers would rather prefer a sedentary workstation and retain a more traditional vision: one day at work = one day at the office.

By comparison, Generation Y (millennials born between 1980 and 1996) are close behind Generation Z on this topic, with 64% in favor of hybrid work. Baby Boomers (born 1940-1959) are the least likely to support hybrid work (43% in favor), while 53% of Gen Xers (born 1960-1979) support it

OK Gen Z: The True Generation

Data shows that by 2025, Generation Z workers will make up 27% of the workforce. Diversity, equity and inclusion are increasingly relevant in the workplace, and these issues are especially important to members of Generation Z. That’s why they’re called the “True Gen”.

According to a recent study, 67% of Generation Z workers say they have witnessed discrimination or prejudice based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace. In addition, 44% say they have personally experienced such discrimination.

Because so many of them have personally experienced bias and structural inequality in the workplace, Gen Zers have higher expectations in the job market. Of the Gen Z workers surveyed, 69% said they would “absolutely” be more likely to apply for a job at a company that emphasized a racially and ethnically diverse workplace in its hiring materials.

Generation Z and its implication for companies

As members of a generation that grew up in the midst of the Great Depression of 2008 many members of Generation Z express financial views that favor security and savings. Many of them are willing to work hard to achieve the financial security they desire.

Strategic Agility and Gen Zers

More flexible, and “digital nomad” by nature, generation Z promises to have innate talent for adaptation. As digital natives, they also have many reflexes and methods that can be real assets to encourage already digitalized companies to renew and improve their processes.

Tomorrow’s companies will have to create environments that are conducive to agility, to the permanent adaptation of organizations, management and process production. One of the most powerful levers of transformation is this young generation. As it has emerged from this ecosystem, is progressively integrating the business world, and is eager to get involved. They will bring about many major transformations for organizations.

The big challenge for employers in the years to come will be to recognize that this generation is not afraid to take the plunge, to drive projects, to guide them and to offer them the opportunity to flourish.

HR: the central player in the integration of Gen Z

Generation Z will not come to you, it is up to you to go and find them. You still need to use methods that attract them and integrate the right channels to find them (circle of belonging, schools, platforms, adapted tools) and convey the right messages. Think social networks, mobility, agility, and engage (if not already done) a digital transformation program that will make your company efficient and “connected”.

One track that we find interesting is the expansion of new intergenerational practices such as the reverse monitoring which allows members of generation X to take over their role on digital platforms to guide the new generations in the professional sphere while the younger ones teach the older ones how to effectively use social networks for their missions.