Still Not Comfortable with Millennials? Wait till You See Generation Z

By: Breanna Brown, Creative Marketing Ambassador at APG Cash Drawer, LLC

Employers are still coming to terms with how to accommodate the work habits of millennials. You remember Millennials, the generation that reached adulthood around 2000 and brought a fair amount of change. They prefer flexible hours, have a strong sense of work/life balance, and want to be rewarded for their work with clear career advancement opportunities. Of course, millennials are far more tech-savvy than previous generations because in the midst of the Age of Experience, they grew up as smartphones and social media were becoming must-haves.

Today’s employers should start thinking about the post-millennial generation and what changes those workers are likely to bring to the workforce. Say hello to Generation Z. Generation Z consist of people born in the mid 1990s to mid 2000s, so the oldest of them are just reaching 20 years of age and are starting to enter the workforce. Generation Z is even more technology-focused than millennials; Z-ers don’t know any other way. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube are essential to how they see themselves, project their image to the world and to how they digest information

Gen Z-ers, according to research, picked up many of the millennials’ traits and are taking them to the next level. If you’re a VAR or retailer still struggling with how to absorb millennials into the workplace, wait till Gen Z-ers start showing up for job interviews.

Much to Offer
Don’t panic, though. The generation gap often is blown out of proportion. A little common sense and willingness to learn can go a long way. Gen Z-ers have much to offer as they enter the workforce. They’re a generation of content creators, unlike previous generations, which focused more on consumption. Gen Z-ers are doers, so they can be a real asset on the creative side.

They understand branding better than previous generations thanks to Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. “They know the ins and outs of branding because they have been building their own personal brands online since birth,” according to a recently published white paper, “Generation Z, Millennials, and You.”

Gen Z is frugal, according to the paper. They watched millennials struggle through a steep economic downturn and move back in with their parents because they couldn’t afford to be on their own. But despite their spending habits, Gen Z doesn’t shy away from spending, though they are more focused on experiences such as vacations and events than the accumulation of goods.

Understanding Z
Understanding Gen Z traits as they enter the workforce will position your company to make good hires and get the most productivity out of these workers. Knowing Gen Z-ers are creative and entrepreneurial, consider them for content creation jobs and assign them to new company projects.

Knowing they tend to value independent thinking and individualism, consider adjusting your management style to accommodate them. Businesses often focus on teamwork, but that may not play as well with the younger generation, so you need to find ways to adjust.

You don’t need to turn your business upside down to hire Z-ers – or millennials for that matter. You needn’t abandon your business values. But to succeed into the future, you’ll need a multigenerational, diverse workforce, and Z-ers will be an essential part of it.

Confused? Remember it’s never about one generation or another. We work and live in a multi-generational environment. Whether it’s Baby Boomers, Gen-X, Millennials or Z-ers, we all need to find a way to work together. A multi-generational workplace offers diversity in thinking, which can be highly productive and a great place to learn.