When it comes to both work and life it’s inevitable that as time goes on, things change.
Typically these changes come on slow and gradual without any of us really noticing until one day it’s simply just how things are. Sometimes though, we catch onto them as they’re happening - and in this instance - it’s the impact of Gen Z on the ever-evolving HR landscape.
Who are Generation Z?
Generation Z - also known as Gen Z - refers to the group of individuals born between the late 1990s and early 2010s, making them roughly between 12 and 25 years old.
While these individuals make up the largest generation on Earth, they also make up one of the most diverse generations in history, already well on their way to making waves in the workplace, and subsequently redefining the HR industry.
While Gen Z is often lumped in together with Millennials - and the two generations do share some similarities - there are a few ways that Gen Z stands apart not only from them but from everyone else (and it all comes down to innovation).
We discuss below!
1. A Fresh Perspective
It doesn’t seem like long ago now that Gen Z were only just starting to make their way into the world, but astonishingly, by 2025, Gen-Z workers will already make up roughly 27% of the workforce - and they’re bringing with them a fresh perspective on work and life.
While Baby Boomers have always valued a stable job and paycheck, job-hopping Millennials tend to value a proper work-life balance. Gen Z, however, is more morals-driven than their predecessors, making sure they do their research on an organisation to ensure it aligns with their values before locking themselves into a role.
A major reason for this is that Gen Z represents one of the most racially and ethnically diverse generations we’ve seen so far, making diversity, equity and inclusion more important to this generation than ever before. They want opportunities to grow and flourish in organisations that are making the effort to be innovative and, in doing so, keeping up with the modern workplace (and the modern world).
This isn’t to say, however, that Gen Z’s workplace expectations and progressive values mean they don’t still value a certain level of sustainability. In fact, when it comes to benefits and salary, many members of Gen Z want the traditional security typically associated with older generations (like the Boomers). The difference is, that they don’t want to settle for one value over another - they’re willing to wait and seek out the whole package.
This means that HR needs to adapt its recruitment methods to attract Gen Z into their organisation. This includes:
- Creating a digital-first recruitment process (i.e., mobile-friendly application processes, social media recruitment strategies)
- Promoting clear and attainable career paths/opportunities for growth
- Working with marketing to create recruitment campaigns that use messaging that speaks specifically to Gen Z, and
- Offering flexible, remote and hybrid working options
2. First Digital Natives
While Millennials are known as digital pioneers, Gen Z are the first true digital natives. For most - if not all - of their lives, they’ve been exposed to the internet, social media, and the many other incredible advances we’ve seen in technology over the last few decades.
Computers, mobile phones, and all that comes with them are part of the language Gen Z speaks - emojis and all. In other words, Gen Z is the first generation to be fully digitised - and it’s transforming the expectations of how we live and work. Aferall, technology influences behaviour.
For instance, a few ways digital natives are changing - and enhancing the HR and the workplace - include:
- The move to cloud-based technologies
- The emphasis on remote and hybrid mobile technologies: working from anywhere, anytime
- Adopting agile practices: offering ways to improve on outdated ideas and technology that modernise and digitise business processes, and
- Using social media as a business tool: a major source of growth opportunities by Gen Z
To add, Gen Z is also the first generation to demand communication and transparency in a way that we’ve never had to consider before. They’re challenging companies to do more than the typical ‘box ticking exercises’ when it comes to digitising and transforming outdated workplace cultures and ideals.
This is ultimately causing HR to be more self-aware about the information they take public - including what they’re sharing in-office, on social media, and other platforms. Companies can’t simply talk the talk without walking the walk anymore. It’s now all about visibility, adaptability, and more importantly, accountability.
3. Redefining Failure
When it comes to our both our lives and careers, none of us like the feeling that we’ve let ourselves or anyone else down by making mistakes.
What if, however, we redefine the failure that comes from the mistakes we make, and instead view it as an opportunity?
While this isn’t a brand new notion, 80% of Gen Z claim that they’re actually eager to learn from their mistakes as it makes them feel more innovative, while 17% believe that workplace mistakes - or failures - will make them feel more comfortable with taking on new risks, according to a survey conducted by EY.
Not being afraid of failure means not being afraid to learn, grow, and make mistakes that will ultimately lead to understanding where an organisation may need to adapt and close gaps to remain sustainable and successful going forward.
This means HR will need to work with senior leaders to help foster an environment that allows employees to be proactive and confidently bring their ideas forward to see what sticks - and what doesn’t - without being reprimanded.
While relevant skills and expertise are highly valued in any industry, it’s still important for HR and C-suite leaders to remain open to Gen Z’s way of working. While any idea may flop or flourish, Generation Z isn’t afraid of a little hard work to bring forth the best result for an organisation that stands behind them.
Want to help redefine HR in your organisation? Enrol on a 100% online CIPD qualification today to learn how.