Millennials have long been the butt of every joke about young people. They’ve been presented as entitled, spoiled, lazy, brilliant, ambitious, and every possible flavor of both good and bad in-between. But, naturally, Millennials are, like all of us, getting older, and not every Millennial is a “young person” anymore.
That title now belongs to Gen Z, people born between 1996 and 2015 – though these numbers are often disputed, and can range from 1998 to 2012. Even though there are many similarities between Millennials and Gen Z’s, like their innate understanding and everyday use of technology, there are just as many differences. The biggest one is probably the perception of the world. Millennials grew up in a mix of idealism and pessimism, while for those belonging to Gen Z have only ever known news of impending ecological doom and economic gloom.
But, Gen Z represents the future of both business and the workforce, so you have to know the do’s and Don’ts of dealing with the people of this generation.
Embrace Technology in EVERYTHING
“There’s an app for that.” – this might be the unofficial motto of Gen Z. When faced with any problem, their first instinct is to see if they can solve it with technology. This way of thinking allows them to figure out fast and effective ways to problem solve, but it also leaves them a bit vulnerable when they have to do things “the old-fashioned way.”
Work Should Be Meaningful
Because of the general atmosphere of hopelessness they’ve been brought up in, Gen Z’s have a strong affinity to work in areas they deem beneficial to the world. Jobs that have a strong ecological and social justice angle to them are highly sought after by them.
Making money is all well and good, but that money won’t be worth anything if we destroy the planet in a couple of decades.
Resist the Urge to Micromanage Them
Paradoxically, even though Gen Z’s are young and generally lack serious work and worldly experience, they still manage to quickly pick up new skills and figure out solutions all on their own. This is because they are big believers in the DIY approach.
Their philosophy is – if you don’t know how to do something: change a tire, cook a delicious meal in less than 10 minutes, design a website from scratch – there’s someone who already figured that out and can explain it in a video, even to a complete novice.
This doesn’t mean they don’t need training and guidance, but it does mean that you can be sure they will usually find a way to do something even if you don’t explicitly explain it to them.
Be Flexible and Open to New Fads and Ideas
The 9 to 17 work hours are out. So is the traditional work method of sitting in an office – remote work is where it’s at today. Just like technology, work itself is constantly changing and evolving, and no one is quicker to pick up on these things than Gen Z’s.
If you want to retain their attention and motivation, adapt to these fads – you will be happy you did so in the long run.