With so much focus on Millennials in the workplace, there hasn’t been a lot of discussion of the next generation that will be looking for jobs.While relatively new, Generation Z is looking to fill entry level positions over the next several years, and their presence could fundamentally change how a workforce functions.
Generation Z and Technology
According to a recent study, members of Generation Z are actually less dependent on technology than members of the Millenial generation. While many Millenials tend to use wearable technology, “smart” appliances, and virtual reality, these technologies don’t seem very popular among Generation Z. Instead, many members of this generation value face-to-face communication, and a sizable percentage of people surveyed cited in-person meetings as their preferred method of communication.
In addition to preferring in-person communication, many members of Generation Z are stating that they prefer a workplace that gives them the opportunity to work and communicate with their co-workers in person. They do place a premium on effectiveness; this is a generation that tends to avoid small talk. They want to maximize the time potential of meetings and other work-related activities.
Although there is a willingness to work in an office, Generation Z places a high priority on flex-time and the ability to work remotely when possible. They’re willing to work, but they want the ability to control their schedules as much as possible.
Bringing Balance to the Workplace
A willingness to eschew technology and a preference for in-person meetings brings many Generation Z workers more in line with Boomers and Generation X workers than many members of the Millennial generation. Generation Z’s affinity for flyable scheduling and the ability to work-from-home, however, makes their feelings towards the workplace in general more in line with their Millenial co-workers. Because of these similarities, Generation Z has the potential to bring some balance back to the workplace.
For example, Millenials have traditionally held strong preference for the newest communication apps such as instant messaging and chat bots. Older generations have shied away from many of these programs because of the time it takes to learn each new program. Members of Generation Z are more focused on finding the most efficient and effective form of communication. Once they determine how their coworkers will communicate the most effectively, they’re very likely to stick with that particular method.
Being willing to try new technology, but settling on a single method of completing a task just might be the best way to bridge the divide between Millenials and older generations. Furthermore, their willingness to work with a very diverse group of people make them ideal co-workers for many companies that are looking for an adaptable workforce. Companies that are seeking to innovate through collaboration would do well to consider members of this generation as valuable additions to their work force.
Other Effects on the Future of Work
Looking towards the future, Generation Z envisions their future very differently from other generations. The vast majority believe that many common workplace functions will be carried out by automated bots and sophisticated software programs in the near future. As such, many of them believe that the path to success comes from the ability to interact with people and think creatively.
Furthermore, many members of Generation Z believe that e-mail will not be the primary form of communication in their workplaces in the future. While it is true that people in all generations are becoming more dependent on their smartphone to communicate than their e-mail, this generation might be the one that brings about an end to email.
Finally, Generation Z really envisions a future in which there will be little or no line between work and personal tools. A majority of them believe that their workplaces will use the same “smart” appliances and software programs that they use in their personal lives. They believe that this trend will continue over the next several years.
Generation Z has a great potential to unite a workforce and act as a bridge between Millenials and other generations. If your company or organization is looking for qualified candidates to fill open positions, talk to ICS about how members of this generation could fit into your workforce.