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3 ways Gen Z will start to change the workplace in 2018

January 4, 2018

Last summer marked the first time that Generation Z, born in 1995 or later, stepped into the workforce. In 2018 they will begin transforming the workplace. Pranam Lipinski, CEO and Co-founder at Door of Clubs explains how

If ringing in the new year means embracing change, companies should prepare to take the cue to welcome in the newest and largest-ever generation entering the workforce in 2018. Generation Z, born in 1995 or later, will begin to truly disrupt workplace norms starting next year, so HR executives, and organizations as a whole, need to understand their future employees’ defining characteristics in order to harness their talents and skills to help their businesses grow.

With Generation Z’s second graduating class entering the workforce this summer they’ll begin to overshadow their elder millennials in the workplace. They will also force employers to evolve with a new generation that demands workplace equality, desires career growth opportunities over a higher initial salary, and values meaningful connections with co-workers more than their millennial predecessors.

To find out how employers should be preparing to harness the power of Gen Z workers, we recently polled 5,000 Gen Z’ers on our platform about priorities and expectations in the workplace. Here are some of the unique key traits of Gen Z professionals entering the workforce and the changes they could drive.

Mentorship Programs: From Nice-to-Have to Need-to-Have

Most Gen Z’ers want to engage one-on-one with their leaders. So much so, that corporate mentorship programs fell only slightly behind health care on their list of most important benefits . This means that management should be prepared to be involved in the development their Gen Z workers’ careers.

An effective mentorship program will not only help integrate this generation into your company, but an internal program designed to foster growth and success will build meaningful relationships among co-workers.

Such efforts may increase long-term loyalty, preventing a retention crisis later down the road. As the workforce demographic shifts to include more Gen Z’ers, it will likely be accompanied by other changes in work benefits packages. Gen Z’s interest in co-worker connections and immediate feedback will limit the value of ‘work from home’ and ‘unlimited vacation’ perks. Furthermore, buzz-worthy incentives like free beer and food will take a backseat to the career-centric benefits they desire.

Career Growth Opportunities Become Paramount

Gen Z’ers grew up during the 2008 economic crisis and many are more interested in job stability than their millennial peers —  who have gained a job-hopper reputation.

Gen X parents raised this new generation through the Great Recession, stressing the importance of fiscal and social responsibility. The result: a generation rooted in practicality. This is illustrated by the rate at which Gen Z’ers are saving. At least 64% of Gen Z have their own savings account, as opposed to 51% of older savers, and these pragmatic ideals reflect in their workplace expectations.

Companies with a clear sense of purpose will be the most successful in motivating practical Gen Z workers . The post-millennial generation is concerned with more than just paying the bills and wants to feel like an integral part of jointly building something meaningful.

When asked what would make them stay at a job for more than 3 years, the top response was an empowering work culture (29%), which far surpassed receiving a high salary (15%). Uniquely different from millennials who often championed higher salaries as their biggest incentive, this purpose-driven generation needs to be able to see the connection between what they’re doing and a bigger social impact.

Leadership Will Need to Support Societal Causes Outside the Office

As Generation Z amplifies the socially conscious and purpose-driven workplace attitudes we’ve seen from some millennials, organizations must also realize that thinly veiled attempts to simply look socially conscious won’t fly.

Gen Z workers are looking for a workplace with values similar to their own. And as the most racially diverse generation in America, they need a workplace that prioritizes diversity just as much as they do. In fact, Gen Z’ers said the number one cause they want to see their employers support is equality.

For instance, addressing equality in the office won’t be enough for Gen Z to trust employers. They’ll want to see corporate leadership supporting equality-based causes outside of work as well. This means that compartmentalizing a section about equality or inclusion to your ‘about page’ won’t suffice in 2018. They want to see your equality initiatives on your ‘leadership’ page; if you don’t have equal representation, it’s a good idea to add in the causes that your executives support.

Nearly half of Gen Z is non-Caucasian and 81% of Gen Z’ers said they have friends of a different race. Noting this new generation’s multicultural demographic allows companies to understand that valuing diversity is not simply a cause Gen Z’ers advocate, but rather, multiculturalism is a criterion of who they are.

Generation Z will spearhead the workforce in 2018, so employers should stay one step ahead of the changes they’ll bring. Preparing for Gen Z’s priorities and motivations maximizes a company’s ability to attract the new skill and perspective embodied by these emerging employees.

By Pranam Lipinski

Source: HR Technologist

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