5 Inaccurate Gen Z Generalisations
Move over Millennials, you’re no longer the new kids on the block.
The most recent influx of workers has arrived, and there’s just as much confusion surrounding their needs as there was for you. It’s time to welcome Generation Z. Also referred to as "post-Millennials", and "the iGeneration," they’re most commonly known as - simply “Gen Z”. Born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s, they are the most diverse generation to date.
Here are five common Gen Z generalisations that have been proven false, and might give you an idea of what the deal is with Gen Z.
Myth 1: Gen Z demand new/trendy office environments.
Honestly, young people are actually after far more substantial perks than just a coffee bar or ping pong table (although, personally I wouldn’t say no to both of the above and I’m Gen Z). They’re looking for increased flexibility, the ability to work hours that suit them and from a place that breeds productivity. They look for quality in-person communication, and good inter-office relationships (Randstad, 2016).
Myth 2: Gen Z are too young and immature for the workplace.
The oldest members of Generation Z may still be in their 20’s, but this doesn’t mean that they are in any way immature. Young people are starting businesses, influencing people and changing the world every day. Research from the National Retail Federation has found that 24% of Gen Z are currently working part-time, 22% are making money online, and 16% are already working for themselves. Considering that the elders of this generation have only just graduated university, these figures are impressive and suggest a generation with a strong work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit.
Myth 3: Gen Z can’t communicate Face-to-Face.
It’s not just the millennials constantly getting stick for their obsession with technology. For the Gen Z workers, who were born into a world where mobile technology and the internet were already well established, technology is second nature. Unfortunately for Gen Z, employers worry that this ‘addiction’ has stunted their interpersonal skills to the point that they cannot interact Face-to-Face. In truth, over half of Gen Z prefer to communicate in person, and they often find too much technology distracting.
Myth 4: Gen Z workers can’t take criticism.
The truth is Generation Z workers believe honesty is the best policy. There is no reason to mollycoddle your Gen Z workforce if the negative feedback they receive can help them grow within their positions. However, as they value face-to-face interaction highly, it would be best to communicate this feedback in that manner. Additionally, Gen Z likes collaborative working and to be highly involved in team situations, so they will likely perform their best when they are kept in the loop about team, and company, affairs.
Myth 5: Gen Z place too much emphasis on their ‘passions’ and less on career development.
Being passionate about your job or the company you work for is important, but it isn’t the be all and end all for Gen Z employees. A survey of Gen Z students who were about to finish higher education found that they actually prioritised financial stability above finding their dream job, and most of them were concerned about the availability of work (Adecco 2015). This is an important factor to remember when trying to motivate Gen Z employees compared to Boomers, Millennials and Gen X.
Zero in on Generation Z
Employers need to stop thinking about quirky benefits, Generation Z are just as corporate as the generations before them. It is important to stop viewing Gen Z’s as children who need to be constantly entertained and start utilising the benefits of their fresh outlooks and let them inspire fresh ways of thinking within your organisation. Check out our benefits audit checklist here to figure out how to update your benefits to better suit the needs of your Gen Z workforce.
Or check out more common misconceptions about our current multi-generational workforce.
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