Generation Z: The rules of engagement

We’ve now moved on from millennials (or Generation Y, as this group is also known) and are shifting along the line to welcome a whole new generation into the workplace.

Generation Z, those born after 1996, has now officially graduated.

The only generation to be brought up with a backdrop of social media and a landscape of high technology, this generation is a lot more savvy and grounded than those who have passed before.

Valuing flexibility, connectivity and a sense of purpose above salary and a pension, they don’t expect to stay in the same job for long. This generation will move on if the fit doesn’t feel right and they’re dissatisfied.

Rule 1 #communication

‘Gen Zers’ communicate in a different way. Shorter and snappier, no surprise then that their preferred mode of communication is instant messaging and Snapchat. They’ll text but they don’t really do email so the first rule of engagement is to recognize their usual method of communication and take the time to gently steer them, versing them in the typical tools that have been adopted in your work environment.

Ideally, meet them halfway and be prepared to embrace their methods as well as introducing them to your own.

Rule 2 #learning

Be prepared to learn from this new tribe now entering your workspace. They will likely have a better understanding of technology and will come armed with new skillsets such as coding and a knowledge of the intricacies of all social media platforms that are, apparently, limitless. Utilise these different skillsets and knowledge and learn from the youngest members of your team.

Rule 3 #match

This is a generation that wants to succeed. Matching them with the right job is the best way to ensure success for both employers and employees and to keep Gen Zers engaged.

Thanks to social media, this age group has raised expectations and it’s important to them that they feel at one with the work they are doing; they have to see the value. Given that, keep track of your Gen Zers progress and, if it’s not working out for them in their initial roles, move them around and see where they work best.

Rule 4 #collaboration

This goes hand in hand with the rule above as it feeds in to the value that this generation needs to see and feel. Get them involved in projects at an early stage; mix up the generations on a team so that all can learn from each other and encourage a collaborative approach.

Rule 5 #environment

Yes, these social media bunnies are good at making the comparison and they will know if your office doesn’t measure up. They’ll have heard stories from friends about offices with gyms (or at least gym membership) attached, quiet zones and comfy breakout spaces; companies who provide subsidized food or beer on a Friday, not to mention the obligatory ping pong table and free fruit.

As with any other age group, listen to your under 23 year olds and see what they feel works best for them. It could be that they will flourish in an activity-based office where they can move around freely and this will certainly help with their integration. It doesn’t have to be ball pools and slides !

Ultimately, Gen Zers want to do work that is relevant and for a company, with clear values, that provides a good cultural match. They’re looking for fulfillment; somewhere that will help them to develop a sense of status; a workplace where they will belong.