Several years ago, I became unpopular. Yes, I did what I always do. I stirred things up again. This time it was the generational pot.
Five years ago, Millennials was a bad word. Five years ago, I would get my fair share of pushback from some attendees as I began to do what few were doing at the time: flying Millennials’ flags high, showing why they were so important (and upsetting some Boomers and Xers along the way). Thankfully, most folks would begin to see things as I saw them, and more are starting to understand the unique talents, characteristics, and motivation of the Millennial generation. Today, their leadership can be seen in businesses and associations across North America.
Well, it’s that time again folks. But, this time, we’re talking about the next generation, referred to as the “iGen,” “Generation Z,” or “Globals.” This generation ranges from seven to 21 years in age. Further, they are massive, numbering around 84 million people in the United States. Luckily, their productivity and work ethic are great…once you get to know them! So, let’s talk about a few characteristics of this generation to help get to know them and make working with them better for everyone.
They love their technology.
Generation Z was born just before the age of smart phones and grew up using them. Don’t take them away or shame workers for using them. This is their lifeline and they use it for both social interactions and deeper learning. The HR professional who works with this information is better positioned to retain these passionate young women and men.
College – sure, but not the way you necessarily expect.
Members of Generation Z have seen the debt that their siblings, parents, and others have accumulated to get a two- to four-year degree and they are scared and angry. These feelings are justifiable, as the thought that tens of thousands of dollars must be spent to earn a degree (along with high interest rate debt) is more than just a little upsetting. As a result, some are opting to go from high school to the workplace while earning a college degree online and/or during evenings/weekends. So, they may not come to you with a college degree; but, they will most likely get one along the way. The HR professional who understands this newer trend will be poised to hire and retain a young and talented pool of employees.
This generation is more conservative when it comes to job security.
They’ve heard about downsizing. They’ve listened as family members described the struggles of 2008. They’re cautious and desire job stability. Offer this, and you’re more likely to retain them and get their friends to consider working for you too!
Ultimately, Generation Z is poised to rock the economy, the workplace and our lives. If you’re ready, you have a distinct advantage. If you welcome them, you will be adding a new layer of young talent to your staff. However, if you wait on the sidelines to see what they’re all about, to see if they’ve “got game” and if they will perform well under your traditional notions of what makes a good employee, your competitors will pass you by in a blink of an eye.
Are you prepared?
Scott Lesnick (http://www.scottlesnick. com/) is an international keynote speaker, trainer and author.