In recent years, the labor market has been changing rapidly – due to, among other things, the continuous development of technology and the emergence of new solutions or the COVID-19 pandemic, with its remote work mode and advanced use of digital tools.
Generation z in the workplace – table of contents:
However, these aren’t the only factors that are currently shaping the labor market. Another, no less significant one is the emergence of the youngest generation of workers, the so-called Generation Z in the workplace. They stand out with their unique set of expectations, skills and perspectives. Today, we’ll look at those features and show you how to conduct an effective onboarding process for them.
Generation z in the workplace – who?
Generation Z is a term to name the group of the youngest people currently entering the labor market, i.e. those born between the late 1990s (various sources indicate 1995, 1996 or 1997) and 2012. They display a particular set of behaviors from Generation Y (usually older siblings) and Generation X (parents).
First and foremost, those techno-friendly or proficient individuals have been exposed to technology (mobile devices, social media, etc.) from their cradle, adaptability to the rapids of the digital era with the current reality and easily adapting to the rapids of the digital era. Such a distinction won’t go unnoticed in the attitudes displayed both in personal and professional life.
Characteristics of generation z in the workplace
Naturally, everyone is unique and has an individual approach to work so we shouldn’t put too much bias that may come from the whole generation. Nonetheless, psychologists and sociologists have noticed certain recurring patterns of behavior to enable division into different groups. In the case of generation z in the workplace – in addition to familiarity with technology – such key characteristics as:
- striving for work-life balance – for this type of people, work is not the greatest value and the main goal in life, so they value flexible employment conditions that allow them to fulfill themselves in other areas of life as well,
- emphasis on development – they are characterized by ambition and a constant desire to improve their skills (lack of professional challenges is often a reason for them to change jobs),
- need for constant feedback – they value both positive and negative feedback, which motivates them to do more,
- focus on values – they look for jobs that promote the same values (e.g., sustainability, diversity, ecology, etc.), which may sometimes outweigh other conditions of employment (e.g., the salary they receive).
Onboarding for generation z in the workplace
Recognizing the key features of a Gen-Z employee should help you design onboarding with their specific needs and expectations in mind. Firstly, you should ensure that this process takes into account technology – mobile applications, e-learning platforms or materials in digital form.
The information and training provided in this way will get fully tailored to the learning style of the new person. What’s more, the materials available online will help them learn on their own, at a convenient pace. Other handy solutions for this type of employee undergoing the onboarding process include:
- Assigning a mentor – the task of such a person will involve providing support, answering questions and general assisting in the process of adaptation to the new environment (as well as later in supporting the employee’s development).
- Organizing regular feedback meetings during the probationary period and afterward – this type of conversation will enable newcomers to get specific feedback, as well as to voice an opinion (generation z in the workplace values openness to suggestions from the people hired).
- Ensuring integration in the team – such an action will facilitate openness, cooperation and acceptance in the workplace.
- Assigning differentiated tasks (betting on development right from the start) – the purpose of such an action is to give some freedom to prove oneself and show initiative. zen than the conditions of employment (e.g., the salary received).
Generation z in the workplace – summary
When it comes to working with Generation Z, you should take care of tailoring the conditions to the specific needs and preferences that describe this professional group – i.e. the activities implemented, the communication carried out or the terms and conditions of employment.
Creating an open and supportive environment that values diversity, enables development and cares about work-life balance will contribute to the success of managing this type of people in the workplace (above all, keeping them in the organization for the long term). However, it is always worth remembering that onboarding is an ongoing process that needs constant monitoring and adjustments to respond to the shifting needs and expectations of each individual.