Generation Z isn't just the new kid on the block - some members of gen Z are about to enter the workforce. Roughly defined by Pew Research as anyone born after 1998, generation Z is the first full generation to grow up after the advent of the internet.
Having been raised with ever-changing technology and in times of financial crisis, generation Z is unlike any that came before it. Defining general characteristics of millions of individuals is a challenge, and some reduction is always necessary. However, generation Z has been studied extensively from its first baby steps.
Here are three things every hiring manager should know about the youngest cohort entering the workplace:
1. They crave feedback
Members of generation Z grew up with the internet. When they had a question, Google answered. When they needed directions, GPS navigation was only a few clicks away. When they wrote something online, someone else was immediately there to comment, critique and question.
Forbes Magazine reported that members of gen Z prefer to get feedback right away. In office settings, this means that managers may need to be more forthcoming with constructive criticism. Likewise, the yearly performance review may already be antiquated. Millennials also crave feedback, and therefore it may be wise to switch to a quarterly or even monthly employee review process sooner than later.
"As managers grow further away from their entry level experiences, it's especially vital for them to pay attention to the needs of Generation Z," says Rebecca Wright, Regional Director for Beacon Hill's Associates Division. "Simply taking 30 seconds or less to praise an entry level worker each day can motivate her while also reinforcing the behavior you want her to demonstrate. It's a quick and affordable way to build morale, trust, and performance."
2. They are highly competitive
Compared with millennials, members of gen Z may be more competitive in the workplace.
Author David Stillman, speaking with the Chicago Tribune, attributed this competitiveness to parenting styles. Stillman suggested that, since baby boomers raised millennials to expect rewards and value teamwork, they are less likely to have an aggressive working style. Members of gen Z, however, were raised by generation X - who were having children as the U.S. economy slid into a recession. Therefore, Stillman argues, gen Z was raised to fight for opportunities.
Hiring managers may be able to use this intense drive for success to their advantage. The free market depends on competition, after all. Gen Z is willing to prove its worth by sticking with an employer for the long haul.
3. They value mentorship
The oldest members of gen Z are likely entering low-level positions within companies or signing up for summer internships. In a few more years, most new applicants will be members of gen Z, and it will be millennials in senior and manager positions. This is likely to create an interesting dynamic in the workplace.
Millennials are often seen as more collaborative than previous generations - and gen Z has been taking notes. However, gen Z wants collaboration with a purpose, they want to know where they're going and what the goals are. Therefore, members of gen Z are likely to respond well to mentorship programs, especially if the perceived value of a program is high.
Workplace mentorship programs will likely work best if they have clear goals and aim to move employees up the career ladder.
This content is brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.