We are obsessed with predicting the future.
Years ago, our not so distant co-humans predicted some “crazy” things. Things like video calls, 3D printing, technological interconnectivity the world over… the list goes on.
Yet there are certain things their predictions failed to mention– things like kids on Vine, screaming for boy bands and trolling for the LULz, mashing up and remixing remixes of mashups, thinking in “4d” and “stereo”… again, the list goes on.
This is Generation Z, the kids born between 1994 and 2010, and these are the people who will be your children’s teacher, your loan officer, the guy at the DMV, state governor.
Millennials are often referenced when talking about the ‘younger generation,’ but Gen Z seems to be fast-forwarding maturity and getting ready to enter the workforce quicker than they should. Hey, most millennials are adults now. The next generation is coming. And whether you’re from X or Y, you have to accept that Generation Z is taking over really soon.
Yes, I know, there are some things that make you uneasy about that thought. The Gen Z kids are often criticized as overindulgent, decadent, self-loving individuals. But, don’t you think that could work for them and the industries they’ll choose to join?
What does the future hold with Generation Z running it? Will all of the accelerated technology they were born into and that permeates every facet of their worlds — work, school and play — hinder or help? Will it be a generation of zombie-dunces, or do you think it’s possible that Gen Z may be able to assemble the big picture and become the wisest workforce yet?
Let’s try to look into the future.
Will the Gen Z be good team players?
Well, Gen Z was born into social media. The day they had control over their wits, liking and sharing was already a thing. Gen Z in the workplace are digital, media-savvy, fast-paced communicators. They are connected to each other and the world more than any other generation before them. Does this translate into being team players? Well, it’s kind of a different question now… The Gen Z is more than that.
They are trailblazers in that they change how the term ‘team’ is defined. A Gen Z team is composed of competent multi-skilled individuals who thrive in situations of quick criticism and adjustment. Used to nearly every detail of their professional and personal lives being under the public eye, they have learned how to be less emotionally involved with the work they do. They are focused on high-quality results, and will get to them however they can.
Everybody in the team wants to be leaders– and the Gen Z team allows that.
How do you motivate the Gen Z?
Affirmation junkies– that’s what the Gen Z is. As we are progressing now, content development across platforms is geared toward instant gratification. Generation Y and more so, Gen Z, have been raised on instantly gratifying web and social experiences, and that will have a significant reach into their professional lives.
Given this, it is likely that Gen Z will possess the most ‘yearning for recognition’ of all the generations thus far, needing a very high level of recognition in the workplace. What has been an avoided case of over-commending will now have to be a practice; but this doesn’t mean that because of Gen Z, management will be a pain. This signals an expansion and discovery of emerging methods of engaging with the Gen Z workforce– broadening the industry of employee motivation.
Aside from monetary compensation and other material benefits, the Gen Z needs constant ego boosts to thrive.
How will the Gen Z handle money?
The financial landscape has changed tremendously in the past few decades and this means most challenges that Gen Z will face will be unique. There is no way to exactly tell what it will be like for them, but we can make some cases.
Gen Z knows how important it is to own a home and this will be their first target investment. It will not be surprising to see younger and younger people investing in housing in the years to come. They have seen countless numbers of homeless professionals which shook their foundations more than anything else. They were raised living comfortably and they mean to keep it that way.
With the proliferation of startups, and millennials moving more and more into entrepreneurship, it won’t be a surprise if Gen Z follows this path. They will still be part of the general workforce, but using the time outside their steady jobs to find other ways to earn money or to monetize their skills and talents will come naturally to them. They are well aware of the rising costs of education, health and living in general, but also savvy in using financial tools available to them.
How will Gen Z value their employment?
The Gen Z were not raised in general financial hardship but they were exposed to it. In social media, news, and the general public discourse, they know that ‘times are hard’ because it was impossible not to hear about it. Knowing this will have developed in them the fear — anxiety if you will — of falling into a financially untoward situation, and they know that they have to secure employment and help their organization continuously progress. Living in a more connected world, they will take advantage of this expanded playground to seek potentially profitable situations– and use this knowledge to contribute to their workplace.
The Gen Z are kiddie adults
Big dreams, short attention spans, wild imagination — the Gen Z will be adults who have retained everything that made childhood amazing. They will bring childlike wonder, lightning fast observation and opinion-building in the workforce. Their idea of work ethics and professionalism will be very different from the traditional, but they will be highly-effective output-oriented creative professionals.
This is the case for the Gen Z. No matter how smitten or annoyed you may get with them from time to time, at least we have some evidence that the world will not stop running when they take over! No kidding. They will have the wisdom of their years and lessons from those before them. That, combined with the qualities of growing up in this day and age? It does sound like the Gen Z can be the wisest workforce yet.