Millennials are giving way to a new generation, and they demand change
Millennials are berated for always being on their phones and their consequential lack of social skills. They haven’t had the best reputation over the last decade. Questions about their love of avocado toast keeping them off the property ladder, and the image of them being lazy and entitled are at the forefront. But their effect on the workplace has been profound.
The millennial impact
Millennials were the first generation to dispute the idea that the only way to be productive at work was to spend hours behind a desk. They advanced the concepts of flexible working and technology as ways of being more productive. They have a desire for regular feedback and encouragement to ensure their work is worthwhile.
PwC have stated that:
“the companies that have already been the most successful in attracting talented millennials – Google and Apple among them – are naturally innovative employers who are never restrained by ‘how things used to be done’. These companies are not specifically targeting millennials, but their culture, management style and approach to recruitment and retention naturally appeal to the millennial generation. And because of that, they are able to take their pick of the best younger talent around.”But just as the world is getting used to Millennials, the next generation has come to join the workforce.
A new class
‘Generation Z’ are the first workers to be ‘digitally native’ – they don’t remember a time before technology.
“Whilst they were growing up Millennials didn’t witness any real recessions, so by the time they hit their 20’s they had no reason to doubt the credit lines being offered to them, including the 105% mortgages. They had a security in the housing market and were swept up in the good times that seemed to come with it. When the 2008 recession hit, it was directly affecting Millennials & older generations. Gen Z however were on the sidelines witnessing it. The impact of seeing this before reaching the times of spending their own money has made them more financially savvy and aware of the dangers of unlimited credit”
The Z perspective
To learn more about them, Ricoh UK, IEMA and the NUS held an event with at which Generation Z led the discussion. Companies described how their graduate schemes work and how they intend to attract the best new talent to a panel of six Gen Zers. The panel gave feedback and ideas.
It became apparent that Generation Z aren’t joining our businesses to sit back and listen while they work their way up the traditional hierarchy. They want to share ideas, meet challenges and have responsibility. They want to be part of the discussion of future strategies, learn from those around them and have people value their knowledge.
The companies that will benefit most will be those that embrace this change. We’re already seeing CEOs talk about how ‘reverse mentoring’ has changed their whole outlook. HR departments are also rewording job advertisements to give them a wider appeal.
What generation Z expect
A survey by Ricoh UK & IEMA asked 1,300 final year students what’s important to them in the future of work. They selected salary, work/life balance, sense of meaning and opportunity to progress as the top four factors they look for in a role.
As the most debt ridden graduates we’ve seen, the salary choice isn’t a surprise.
The work/life balance was highlighted in all areas as being of great importance. Some commented on seeing parents miss out on family life through working long hours out of the house.
Others said they believe technology will empower them to move on from traditional office based roles. While 63% of respondents would prefer a flexible style of working, only 2% said they would want to be permanently home based.
As the world of work races forward, Generation Z will be a deciding factor in which companies stay agile and which become stagnant. Are we embracing change or are we resisting it? Can we open ourselves to learn from this new, enthusiastic generation, even if it means bringing down our traditional hierarchy barriers?