The Center of Generational Kinetics defines a generation as a ‘group of people born around the same time and raised around the same place. People in this “birth cohort” exhibit similar characteristics, preferences, and values over their lifetimes.’ ‘Currently, five generations make up our society. Each of those five generations has an active role in the workforce, marketplace, and communities’.
- Gen Z, iGen, or Centennials: Born approximately 1996 – 2015
- Millennials or Gen Y: Born approximately 1977 – 1995
- Generation X: Born approximately 1965 – 1976
- Baby Boomers: Born approximately 1946 – 1964
- Traditionalists or Silent Generation: Born approximately 1945 and before.
Gen Z is on its way to becoming a significant proportion of the UK’s workforce, and therefore, it is important for employers to understand this generation’s defining characteristics. Indeed UK note the following values and characteristics:
- Gen Z expects to work with modern technology
- Gen Z values in-person interactions
- Gen Z is entrepreneurial
- Gen Z is less tolerant of authoritarian environments
- Gen Z embraces change
- Gen Z values flexibility
- Gen Z is competitive
What can businesses do to engage with the up-and-coming generation?
Provide regular feedback/two-way communication
The advent of social media and the internet has meant Gen Z can receive feedback and communication in real-time from friends and family. The idea of waiting for a monthly review or an annual appraisal is scary, and businesses are likely to find that feedback provided in that manner will make staff more disengaged or anxious about their performance. To engage Gen Z, managers should provide regular, constructive feedback conducted in an informal two-way conversation – Gen Z aren’t fond of being told the answer but value collaborative working.
Provide career growth opportunities
Stagnation is the enemy of Gen Z; they want to grow and advance, not just merely to carry out a job but to have a career. Employers should clearly provide promotion and advancement routes for staff, laying out what employees can do in order to achieve goals. Moreover, it would be beneficial to offer placements at education centres either through apprenticeship programmes or part-time university courses.
Embrace technology in the workplace
Unlike other generations, Gen Z was raised with technology and social media; it is not a luxury or a want but an absolute necessity in their lives. Technology is fully integrated into life and there is an expectation that it is present at work as well. Potentially, in contrast to other generations, there is little tolerance for clunky or slow IT equipment and a lack of systems. For businesses to engage and retain Gen Z employees, they would be wise to review current equipment, ensuring that it is fit for the modern digital age.
Promote diversity and inclusion
56% of Gen Z in the UK are hesitant to take on a role from a company that does not have diverse leadership. In Deloitte’s 2021 report, they found that 44% of millennials and 49% of Gen Zs have made work-related choices based on their personal ethics over the past two years.
Employers should develop an equality and diversity policy (not simply for representation’s sake) which genuinely tackles concerns within the workplace. Promotion and championship of a diverse workforce will engage Gen Z with your organisation, but also, a truly diverse workplace will benefit your organisation in general.
Implement a flexible working policy
To engage Gen Z, businesses would want to have a flexible approach to working, whether that be hours or place of work. Gen Z is a social generation and so providing office space is ideal, but in the modern world, there is an expectation of options, and therefore don’t discount the ability for staff to work from their home address. A hybrid approach to working is best and should be something advertised at the recruitment stage. The Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey (8,273 Gen Zs in 45 countries were surveyed) noted that when Gen Zs were asked which employee characteristics or behaviours have become most critical to the success of their organisations, they ranked flexibility and adaptability first by a wide margin.
If you would like a discussion about engaging your workforce or creating policies which champion your organisation’s values and keep ‘Generation Z’ engaged, get in touch with a member of ViewHR’s team.