As most managers and business owners finally come to terms with working with Gen Ys and millennials, cue the arrival of Generation Z. This new breed of employee, born after 1995, will soon be (if not already) entering the workforce. However, the big question is: how will they behave on the job? How can managers and business owners best manage them? And critically: can they be relied upon?
Gen Z differs from the Gen Ys and millennials in that technology has been a part of their lives from a very young age. They are constantly online, connected to the world, and each other, and are more adept at sourcing information instantaneously than any previous generation. The fear for many organisations worldwide is that although Gen Z have shown the ability to juggle multiple tasks at the same time and switch gears quickly, these characteristics may also lead to impatience, distractibility and poor productivity. With the apparent obsession with being connected through mobile devices, management are often interpreting this behaviour as “slacking off”.
Furthermore, based on a global study conducted by Monster amongst members of Gen Z, responses suggested they valued more independence in their work, more ownership of their career, and more meaningful work than the generations before them did. They want to feel like their work has an impact on the success of the organisation. This is a far stretch from the experience a lot of their bosses had, with some starting in the mail room and working their way to the top over decades of dedicated service.
Over half of the interviewed Gen Z in the study stated that they wanted to start their own company at some point in their career. The desire to ‘be your own boss’ is certainly more achievable in today’s world of online market places and e-commerce, but the time frame in which Gen Z is trying to achieve success will be seen by most as unrealistic at least. The lesson for managers is that Gen Z will be more likely to change jobs if they don’t see a path of career progression or development. As a result, keeping Gen Z in the company will require some assurance from managers that staying on board is more beneficial to their career than jumping ship. This means making a tangible investment in career planning and individual development.
Whilst the expectations of young Gen Z employees are often completely unrealistic, companies need to be aware of the mindset of these individuals and react accordingly when on boarding and managing them.
At Caliper, clients have often asked whether our personality assessment can predict whether a Millennial or Gen Z employee shows the potential to leave a job early. The assessment can certainly measure an entrepreneurial, or risk taking predisposition, however even individuals displaying these personality attributes have the potential to provide great value over a long period of time, should their company harness their talents and skills effectively.
Our advice to clients has been to use the Caliper Assessment to measure an individual’s hardwired potential against the exact requirements for the job. Where the difference seems to be with profiling Gen Z, is that now the profile is also being used to ‘look beyond the horizon’ for each recruit’s long term potential. Using Caliper’s interactive online system, managers are now able to assess the individual’s potential to fill the current opening, as well as any potential future positions, without the need to reassess or order multiple profile reports.
Crucially, this information can be shared with the new employee as part of the on boarding process to help an employee and a manager build an open dialogue on work related strengths and development opportunities within the company. With this conversation and subsequent development plan, Gen Z will feel more valued, more in control of their career, and most importantly, incentivised to stay.