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Employing Generation Z – what do you need to know?

Generation Z – or Gen Z as it’s more commonly called – is the latest cohort starting to enter the workforce. There are a few different opinions as to exactly which years the generation covers, but broadly speaking, it’s the late 90s to around 2015-2017 (think around the turn of the millennium to a few years ago and you’re in the right ballpark), so its first born will now be graduating or looking for employment after school.

And like every generation starting work for the first time before them, there are particular skills they bring to the party and certain things they look for from employers. To find out what these are, we asked Mark Lawson-Jones, Partner at Page Executive, and Gold Partner at Sci-Tech Daresbury to tell us what you need to know when employing Gen Zers in your organisation.

Gen Zers are very tech-savvy

As the first generation to grow up fully in the digital age, it’s no surprise how confident Gen Zers are with tech. They can be classed as true “digital native” because it’s all they’ve ever known, and it shapes everything they do. Because of that, one of the first things they look for in a company is its tech capabilities and access to more modern fluid ways of working.’

Multi-tasking is second nature

‘All that time playing with phones and iPads while doing something else has made Gen Zers really good at multi-tasking. They can switch tasks quickly and are able to handle distraction easily. These are very valuable skills in today’s fast-changing tech organisations.’

They’re surprisingly resourceful

‘This links in with being so digitally-native. Gen Zers live in the world of Google where it’s second nature to find an answer to a question by simply checking your phone. If they want to know something quickly or get a solution to a problem, they just google it. Leaders need to be aware of this.’

And driven too

‘Gen Zers are driven and determined to succeed. This doesn’t just mean making stacks of money, but also in terms of career satisfaction and overall happiness. They need the right work environment to do this, though, which means the old-school ‘’shouty’’ workplace won’t suit them.’

They value flexibility and agility

‘This generation, more than any other, really doesn’t want to be tied to the traditional 9-5. Or stuck in an office all day, every day. They prefer being able to work remotely if possible, and to do it when it suits them and not necessarily when an organisation might want them to work. This can present problems in some businesses if they can’t provide this fully agile approach. Equally, Gen Z likes organisations with great diversity and inclusion policies they can see are being acted upon’

Formality doesn’t suit them

‘The way performance is measured is still important to Gen Zers, but not in the way other generations are used to. Instead of a formal review process, they expect regular informal catchups with managers, and value coaching and mentoring, so they can constantly develop.’

Outside factors are important

The environment and health and wellbeing are things many Gen Zers care passionately, so a company’s green and social credentials will play a part in deciding whether they work for someone. They often see an organisation’s bigger purpose as just as important as their own salary and development opportunities, so are attracted to organisations or positions that make a positive impact on society.’

As is collaboration

‘Organisations particularly appeal to Gen Zers if they promote a collaborative and fluid approach. They like to switch roles regularly and understand as much as they can about an organisation. They can help others do the same too – we’ve even seen reverse mentoring take place in very forward-thinking organisations where the board are using Gen Zers to teach them about tech.’