Generation Z is resourceful, independent and ready to take on the workforce. We’ve already discussed some of their key attributes and motivations earlier in this blog series. If you don’t know what we’re referring to, take a look back at Generation Z Parts One and Two and catch up on the first of the three part series. In this third and final blog post of the series, we explore the benefits of bringing young professionals on and how they benefit your business. We’ll also go over a few things to watch out for and troubleshoot when onboarding college graduates from Generation Z.
One misconception about Generation Z is lack of experience. For years, Millennials complained about the difficulty of looking for a job out of college and employers requiring a few years’ experience for ‘entry level’ jobs. To increase their chances of finding a job after college, many young people proactively completed internships during college and some even in high school.
We discussed in earlier posts the natural entrepreneurial spirit in young people from Generation Z. That is apparent in the number of the college students and recent grads putting their knowledge to work through freelance ventures. Workshare websites help match workers to projects based on their skills. By creating opportunities themselves, before entering the workforce, they are better-equipped for work and more prepared for the demands of a professional career.
Another benefit of hiring a Gen Z is their resourcefulness. With constant access to the internet through their youth, Generation Z prefers self-sufficient work styles. They don’t usually wait for the answer, they go find it themselves. Not only does this create a more independent worker, it eliminates the need to walk through every task step-by-step to explain what needs to be accomplished.
This resourceful characteristic creates new solutions. Without being told how to do something, people are more likely to figure it out themselves. New solutions can be more efficient and effective than old practices. Often, old practices are only in place because ‘that’s how we’ve always done things’.
Pragmatic and Self-Sufficient
Generation Z knows what it takes to work hard and they typically don’t depend on other people. In a recent survey, research found that 77% of Generation Z expect to work harder than the generations before them. They watched family members struggle through the 2008 recession and as a result, they are prepared to put in the hard work necessary to create a more stable income for themselves. Because of this understanding, Generation Z is more intentional about finding and keeping a good job.
Generation Zers are prepared to get by on their own. Although they are independent, they do appreciate feedback. Face-to-face performance reviews are critical to workplace success. Give direct and clear feedback on performance and allow them the freedom to work independently to apply your feedback.
Many people pride themselves on their ability to multitask and Generation Zers are master multitaskers.
Multiple screens and short attention spans create the perfect storm of normalized attention-splitting.
The reality is that multitasking often leads to lower quality work. While Gen Zers are used to juggling multiple conversations simultaneously, the content of those social conversations are typically riddled with misspellings, syntax errors, and inappropriate autocorrects. In social exchanges, no one thinks twice about this, it just is what it is and is commonly accepted. It should come as no small surprise then, that when these Gen Zers enter the professional workforce, it can be challenging for them to make that transition from high volume, low-quality communications to medium volume, high-quality communications.
Sending emails can seem arduous and nonsensical to a Gen Zer. Including text shorthand in corporate communications seems logical to them and taking the extra time to quality assure their work seems inefficient. This ‘quality versus quantity’ conversation should be included in onboarding training and should have some level of managerial quality assurance for their first month or two until these ‘bad habits’ are broken.
Generation Z: Know Your Next Hire
In blog one of this series, we discussed Generation Z and some of their defining qualities. While there are many assets they bring to a team, there are also a few things to watch out for and help them overcome. No one’s perfect and we all face our challenges. One challenge, in particular, is attention span. Long meetings or conferences calls might be a hurdle for Generation Z as they enter the workforce.
Try to keep employees engaged and realize that the attention span of a member of Generation Z is 8 seconds. Obviously, it unrealistic to keep business communication brief in every situation, but when possible, avoid day-long meetings in the conference room. Generation Z is not alone in this. Studies show long meetings are less effective than structured, shorter meetings. Help your team by utilizing agendas, keep the team focused on the task at hand and finally, don’t schedule large blocks of time. Work expands to the time you leave for it. Don’t let a block of time dictate the length of your meeting.
Be sure to keep an eye on quality and levels of distraction when bringing a young professional on board. Don’t be surprised if they continue typing when you talk to them about something small or a detail on a project. It isn’t that they aren’t listening, they are just somewhat conditioned to work on multiple things at once.
In all, there’s a lot to be said for Generation Z. They are assets to a growing team. Knowing how they work will help you guide them. Encourage and support these new workers and they will reward you with hard work and fresh ideas!
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