3 Disruptive Ways Generation Z Will Transform the Workplace

Generation Z promises to bring even more unique traits to the modern workforce. Here’s what executives can expect of the next emerging generation at work.
Generation Z

Following the mass entrance of millennials, Generation Z, defined as those born after 1998, has begun creeping their way into the workplace.

Generation Z has been raised in an on-demand culture and been shaped by ubiquitous connectivity, social media, mobile technology, a post-9/11 world and a deep recession. This is a generation of self-starters, self-learners and self-motivators who are eager to get to work and leave their mark on the world.

Eighty-four percent of Generation Z believe that they have the skills necessary to be successful in a professional environment. And 55 percent of Generation Z feel pressure to gain professional experience in high school.

Generation Z will be showing up to work sooner than you think, here are three major ways they will transform the workplace.

  1. With Their Desire for Multiple Career Roles and Routes 
  • Sixty-four percent of Generation Z say “opportunity for career growth” is a top career priority.
  • Seventy-five percent of Generation Z are interested in a situation in which they have multiple roles within one place of employment.
  • Sixty-two percent of Generation Z would rather customize their own career plan than have the organization lay one out for them.

It’s not uncommon for a member of this generation to be managing multiple major life projects. For instance, they might be pursuing a college degree, performing routine maintenance on their own productivity app and growing their YouTube audience of “Game of Thrones” enthusiasts. This is in addition to their other, more leisurely pursuits.

Indeed, members of this generation want their career roles and routes to be as diverse as their personal interests. They will be eager to hold jobs (or work on projects) in marketing, accounting, human resources and sales within the first year or two of employment.

Organizations will need to make it possible for Generation Z to experiment and get exposure in various areas of the organization.

  1. With Their Heightened Communication Efficiency, Frequency and Authenticity
  • Seventy-one percent of Generation Z uses Snapchat more than six times per day.
  • Sixty-seven percent of Generation Z is comfortable with having their manager check-in with them but only for five minutes or less.
  • Eighty-five percent of Generation Z reported that straightforward, constructive communication is most important.

For a generation that uses Snapchat to communicate via video, images and text on a daily basis, they will view email as an antiquated technology that will ultimately hinder the efficiency, frequency and authenticity of their communications.

Whether it’s company information, peer-to-peer communications or employee feedback, organizations will need to find ways to streamline communications. Slack can help teams communicate with Generation Z-like efficiency and ease. And tools like 15Five or Culture Amp can help leaders provide the up-to-the-minute communications and feedback Generation Z employees crave.

Organizations will have to quickly reconsider their legacy communication platforms, timetables and information accessibility as Generation Z enters the workplace.

  1. With Their Penchant to be Tech-Dependent and DIY Workers
  • Ninety-one percent of Generation Z said technological sophistication would impact their interest in working at a company.
  • Fifty-seven percent of Generation Z believe technology allows them to be more productive.
  • Seventy-one percent of Generation Z said they believe the phrase “If you want it done right, then do it yourself.”

Couple Generation Z’s 24/7 access to the world’s information with growing up during the great recession, and you get a very empowered employee that is equipped and willing to “do it myself.”

Generation Z will not only BYOD (bring your own device) to work but will BYOA (bring your own application), where they use an app they developed themselves to execute work tasks faster and with greater productivity.

Organizations must create a company culture of “do it yourself” and equip Generation Z with the relevant technology to execute and innovate.

Ryan Jenkins is a keynote speaker on generational issues. He is also a columnist for Inc. magazine. To comment, email editor@talenteconomy.io.