Gen Z: we’re the cool generation.
Of course, every generation has its own unique selling points when it comes to learning styles, communication styles, and work-completion style. But there’s just something about Gen Zers that gives me so much hope for the future.
Admittedly, I’m biased but when I see the things my peers have already achieved, both in their careers and in their personal lives, it’s incredibly exciting.
Much like the Millennials who preceded us, we embrace diversity, we speak up against discriminatory social policy, and we support businesses that align with our values. Most of us are determined to create a more equal, progressive, and healthier world than the one we inherited.
And because we were born in an era of fast-developing technology and are touted to be the most well-educated generation, well, ever, we have a lot to bring to the table in business: we’re adaptable, super-productive, creative, and willing to push industry boundaries (in a good way!) if we feel there’s an alternative way to get things done.
That’s not to say that we pursue change just for the novelty factor, or that we’re convinced we know it all — we know previous generations have a lot to teach us and we’re ready and willing to learn from the experiences of our employers, our co-workers, and our mentors.
Of course, there’s a downside to working with such a fast-paced, inquisitive generation.
Because our formative years were characterized by such rapid technological advances, it can be hard to know how to relate to us at times — the ways in which we communicate, the ways in which we handle projects and tasks are oftentimes just…different.
But, with a little insider knowledge on WHY we operate the way we do, you can enjoy the many, many, MANY benefits of employing and working alongside Gen Zers (I did warn you I was biased!)
Our communication style.
Our detractors will tell you that, after growing up interacting with people on screen more frequently than in person, we often lack the traditional face-to-face social skills of previous generations. And while this may contain a grain or two of truth, I think this perception is actually down to the fact that we sometimes feel intimidated by those higher up the career food chain.
We know that, as the “most well-educated” generation ever, people expect a lot from us — amazing tech skills, endless innovation, boundless energy.
That’s a whole lot of pressure and it makes us determined to prove we do, indeed, have the skills everyone expects from us. It also makes it difficult — at least sometimes — to ask for help.
That’s why it’s so helpful if you have an open conversation with us, right off the bat.
Help us understand our position and the resources that are available to us. In those ever-so-slightly intimidating team meetings, let us know that we’re welcome, that our voices are valued and that our ideas have merit. Praise (when it’s warranted, of course), constructive feedback, and even the occasional thumbs up when we present an idea will go a long way to ensuring we have the confidence to communicate and the motivation to keep innovating.
How we handle assignments.
When it comes to our work style, just tell us what you need and we’ll deliver. Sounds easy, right? But we do need some boundaries in place first.
You see, because we’re so adaptable and love a challenge, it’s sometimes tempting to go too hard, too fast on an assignment.
Or maybe that’s just me? I know from experience that once my innovator brain kicks in, I can go for hours developing new ideas, falling down the proverbial rabbit hole of options and possibilities. Which is cool if that’s what you wanted from me. But not so much if you just need something done simply, and done quickly.
That’s why it’s vital that, as my employer, you are clear on what you’d like me to deliver. I don’t want to waste your time or mine on delivering a project/assignment/product that you didn’t want.
That said, why not take advantage of your Gen Z employees by giving them a few different things to tackle?
With multiple screens and tabs running at any one time — in both a literal and figurative sense — we can efficiently and accurately take care of the everyday tasks while letting our minds wander over the more challenging, innovation-led projects that get us fired up.
Understanding the Gen Z culture.
Generation Z and Millennials have their own language — and it can be hard to hide it. But then why would we want to?
In fact, with workplaces undergoing such a rapid shift regarding what’s appropriate (and more importantly, what’s not!), why not take advantage of the Gen Zers in your organization and ask them to show you the current trends and explain anything you’re not sure of.
We’re outspoken, we’re honest to a fault, and we’re keen to contribute. No, we’re not exactly like any other generation that’s come before us, but that’s our strength — and yours. If you trust us, support us, and offer us a company culture in which we can grow, thrive, and live our values, we’ll happily give you the full benefit of our creativity, adaptability, love of innovation, and thirst for challenge.
Yes, we’re different. But that’s EXACTLY what makes us such great employees.