It seems like every source you look at defines generations slightly different. But for the most part, millennials are defined as those born between 1980 and 2000. After millennials comes Generation Z, who for our purposes are defined as those born since 2000 (or, in some cases, 1995).
However we define Generation Z, one thing is certain: They’re getting closer and closer to infiltrating the workplace. So it’s only a matter of time before your organization employs its first member of Generation Z — assuming it hasn’t already.
That being the case, managers — who are just getting acclimated to millennials in the workplace — need to know how members of Generation Z differ from their youngest employees. Because members of this fledgling generation are still young, there’s a chance that they’ll change their opinions on at least a few of these descriptors. But as it stands now, Generation Z:
1. Has more of an entrepreneurial spirit
A surprising 72% of high school students say they’d like to own their own companies one day, according to a recent article. What does that mean for your business? When you start hiring members of Generation Z, don’t be afraid of letting them try their hand at “intrapreneurship,” which is essentially being an entrepreneur on the inside of a company.
2. Is less motivated by money
According to an Adecco infographic, members of Generation Z are interested in finding their dream job. Millennials, in comparison, are more motivated by financial stability. So you may not have to fork over the big bucks to lure talented members of Generation Z to your organization — assuming they are on board with what you’re doing.
3. Prefers face-to-face conversations
Though Generation Z grew up with technology in their hands, a majority of them prefer interacting with people in the flesh. According to Millennial Branding, 53% of Generation Z would rather have a face-to-face conversation than exchange instant messages. This is perhaps due to the fact that they’ve had a slew of digital experiences and are itching for the “real thing.”
4. Cares more about experiences than things
Generation Z is less likely to be interested in amassing a collection of physical products. Like this Business Insider article suggests, members of Generation Z are more likely to care about experiences. So instead of giving your youngest employees gadgets at the end of the year to show your appreciation for their hard work, plan an awesome event to express your gratitude.
5. Is more global
According to a recent study from Ford, 58% of respondents agree that Generation Z is much more global than previous generations. This makes sense. Thanks to the Internet, people can connect with one another across the world in a matter of seconds. For this reason, Generation Z places a high value on diversity.
6. Expresses its individuality
Millennials may have been some of the first people to grow up with the Internet. For the most part, they used platforms like America Online to connect with people who were usually strangers. Generation Z, on the other hand, was reared on social media. A whopping 92% of these youngsters have digital footprints of their own — attached to their own real-world names. Generation Z overwhelmingly embraces and cherishes individuality.
You may not have to worry about any Generation Z workers joining your ranks in the near future. But they’re coming. And the sooner you’re prepared, the easier it will be to accommodate them.