Gen Z goes to work: Understanding the graduates of 2018
Move over, millennials. There’s a new kid in the office. The oldest members of gen Z — people born after 1996 — are now 21 years old. Many are finishing college this year and entering the workforce upon graduation.
As enterprises prepare to welcome this new generation of workers, how should they be rethinking mobile strategy? Which technologies should they be using to attract post-grad talent and take advantage of the skills these digital natives already possess?
What employers need to know about Gen Z
To put Generation Z into context, its oldest members hadn’t even started kindergarten when 9/11 happened and social media began taking root, and its youngest members never knew life before smartphones. Many of them do, however, remember the Great Recession, so they tend to be more frugal and more serious than millennials, and even more entrepreneurial.
Where millennials were digital pioneers, members of Generation Z are true digital natives. Not surprisingly, technology is important to them — 40 percent value working Wi-Fi more than a working bathroom, according to CampusLogic.
However, these youngsters are also the tech-savviest generation yet, so they adapt to enterprise technology quickly and naturally look for ways to work even more efficiently. That could make them assets in enterprises’ ongoing digital transformation, particularly around mobile. After all, who understands mobile strategy and app development better than the generation that grew up with smartphones in their hands?
What the Class of 2018 wants at work
What will it take for organizations to attract these digital natives and take advantage of their technical prowess? Here are a few tips:
1. Focus on efficiency
Millennials caused a stir in many workplaces by rejecting old ways of working and insisting things could be done more efficiently by leveraging technology and automating processes. Generation Z will have even less patience for paper-based processes, siloed databases, laggy software and anything else that slows progress and distracts from innovation. In fact, 91 percent say that the sophistication of a potential employer’s technology would be a factor in deciding whether to work there, according to Inc.
2. Make everything mobile
This generation wants instant access to information, from anywhere and from any device (ideally one that’s mobile). According to efront, Smartphones are their preferred mode of engagement for communication, entertainment, learning and professional development, so they’ll expect cloud-based company apps and software that can be accessed remotely and via mobile devices.
3. Keep them connected
Gen Z is accustomed to instantaneous, multi-channel communication. Considering this generation left Facebook for faster-paced social channels like Snapchat, they won’t be content to wait around on email. Whether they’re reaching out to their boss, colleagues or even customers, they’ll want real-time communication options — text, instant message, video chat, and more. And, as a side note to their managers: They’ll also expect a quick response!
4. Embrace video
Video is central to how Generation Z learns and how they connect. Case in point: 95 percent of them use YouTube, and 50 percent say they “couldn’t live without” it, according to a recent Adweek survey. To attract, train and retain Gen Z employees, organizations can look for opportunities to incorporate video into recruiting programs, learning & development, information sharing and team communication.
5. Incorporate gamification
Gen Z is a competitive group, which makes sense considering they grew up with mobile app games in their pockets and X-Boxes in their bedrooms. Seventy-three percent own game consoles, according to Nielsen. That’s seven percent more than millennials. By incorporating gamification aspects into enterprise apps and communication platforms, organizations can benefit from Generation Z’s competitive streak while helping them have more fun at work.
These are just some ways that organizations can appeal to — and take advantage of — Generation Z’s tech-savvy. The good news is that as more and more of them start entering the workforce upon graduation, employers won’t have to guess about what Gen Z wants at work. They’ll be able to ask them.