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In this digital age of hyper-change, the uber cool millennials and their idealistic outlook once stood accused of disrupting the workplace. But as this generation begins to settle down and begin raising their own families, it’s time for them to step aside and begin to prepare for middle-age.
Businesses need to start thinking seriously about how they can capture the next generation of talent that is born from 1996 onwards and commonly referred to as Gen Z. As they slowly but surely trickle into the workforce, even Millennials will quickly begin to feel old.
The first entirely digital generation cannot remember a time before smartphones, tablets, Facebook and WhatsApp. It has also predicted that by 2020, the so-called Gen Z will make up 2.56 billion of the population.
Don’t be fooled into lazily labelling the next wave of employees as Millennials 2.0. The generation before them may have been the pioneers of digital, but these digital natives see the world very differently and will want to learn from the mistakes they believe millennials made in their pursuit of happiness.
Grasping their motivations and expectations will soon become crucial for businesses wanting to remain relevant in a digital age. But it is equally important to comprehend why you need to attract Gen Z talent and understand why they are the perfect investment.
While most of us struggle to keep up with the deluge of information and notifications on our increasing number of devices, younger audiences know no different. After being exposed to the digital white noise from a very young age, they can effortlessly multitask in ways many of us can only dream.
A childhood that consisted of introducing elements of creativity into every captured photo or video has helped them become more innovative and entrepreneurial than their two immediate predecessor generations.
Sure, they might have short attention spans, but they use technology as a seamless extension of themselves to seek immediate answers to even the most complex of problems. Even typing into to search engine will feel incredibly old school when they can effortlessly multitask by working on a document and using voice recognition to perform research as they type.
Gen Z’s don’t even recognize the technology exists; it has become second nature. The super-efficient paperless office could finally happen with a workforce that is much more comfortable drifting from computers, tablets, and phones depending on their location.
They see themselves as an empowered rather than entitled generation. Rather than sitting around on colored bean bags throwing ideas into the circle in a collaborative environment, they will be happier working and learning by themselves with the vast tired and trusted tech platforms at their disposal.
Business mobility technologies will be expected by these enthusiastic lovers of tech as standard. But, they much prefer face-face interaction rather than digital, unlike their older brothers and sisters. Advances in technology are often attributed to making our world feel like it is shrinking. But, could Gen Z be the first generation break free from their surroundings and spread their wings by moving away from where generations of their family have lived?
A recent Small Business Trends survey revealed that 74 percent of Gen Zs would happily relocate for a job if they feel the role is a right fit for them. When compared with 45 percent of Millennials, and 33 percent of Baby Boomers, there is a definite shift in thinking. These changes in attitudes represent an opportunity for quick thinking businesses to think outside of their state to secure talent.
You are also unlikely to find Gen Zs hopping to different organizations every two years. Continuous self-improvement will see them moving to new exciting roles within a company that invests in developing and upskilling and actively engaging with them in their career.
The Augmented Reality (AR) driven location-based mobile game Pokémon GO might have been a fad in the eyes of many. But, it has transformed our expectation levels as the line between digital and real life becomes increasingly blurry. AR has already entered the mainstream thanks to Snapchat’s filters. But rumors that Apple’s iPhone 8 will virtually guide people around using augmented reality, it’s clear that something needs to change.
Both recruitment and the workplace needs bringing into the 21st century and the fact that than 70 per cent of Gen Z’s have turned to online videos to learn something in the last week alone is something businesses need to leverage rather than fear.
In truth, there are numerous similarities and contradictions when looking at the needs, wants and expectations of any generation. However, in an age obsessed with simplification and digital transformation of everything, it seems that businesses need the enthusiasm and digital expertise of Gen Z employees much more than they realize.