Gen Z is not at all like its Millennial generation predecessors. That’s the conclusion we’ve come to here at CareerNet. When discussing our experiences internally we’ve found that many of the myths and stereotypes of this emerging generation are unfairly placed. Read through this post to review our findings on Gen Z, including notes from a few high quality, independent researchers that have written articles similar to our own.
First, do not confuse Gen Z with the Millennials. The wild tales that seem to originate from a free-for-all work environment that include pets in the office, meditation rooms, required isolation headsets, ball caps and bean bag chairs, flexible work, remote work, four day a week summer schedules, on-site baristas, organic snack options, and scooter subscriptions for commuting are for the most part fantasy. Rumors. They are the result of desperate tactics to hire millennials during tight markets for skilled employees. The truth is markets for quality, skilled employees are always tight
We find it is far better to understand the cultural fit and aptitude [see our assessment solution here]- then train prospective employees with the skills your company needs before they are on-boarded. Imagine a world where employees are productive day one.
Here, an attempt to dispel the rumors and advance the next competitive and productive generation in the workforce and your enterprise.
Don’t Listen to the noise. Josh Miller of SHRM wrote a from the heart article titled “A 16-year-old Explains 10 things You Need to Know about Generation Z” (link embedded) wherein he describes a generation built on its life experiences which include the rise of elite sports, elite activities, and cooperative competitiveness. Think on this. We have been bombarded with the notion of helicopter parents, soccer moms and baseball dads dominating Gen Z. However Gen Z sees it differently. They see a world where performance in the environments they choose leads to achievement. Where focus over time makes you better. Where you compete and cooperate with other similarly motivated and and capable peers to improve yourself and your team. Seems to be an employers dream.
By the way, we don’t actually like the term Gen-Z and prefer to think about this group as the Smartphone Generation.
Before you roll your eyes and picture social settings with kids barely speaking while focused on their screens think about the skills and standards this device has created in them like:
Greater Awareness – the Smartphone generation learns naturally through investigating issues on-line.
Experiences Change Their Views – This generation has grown up with 9-11 on youtube videos, with social unrest on Twitter, with constant connection to friends and peers through Snapchat and now Tik-Tok. They may be invited to a subject from a biased source, but they quickly see all sides through posts and peer chats, then establish their voices and perspectives individually.
Diversity isn’t a trend or something to be taught. It exists. – Our experience with the Smartphone Generation is that merits of image and message drive their beliefs and skepticisms. They spot the difference between fake and real much faster than do older generations. Real is the goal and since Real is the goal, Race and gender do not factor into their thinking. Only merit and accomplishment matter.
Each member of Gen Smartphone defines accomplishment individually, based upon their research and the merits of accomplishments. That said, it is our experience that much of their definition of accomplishment is directly related to personal wealth earned through hard work, risk taking, honest branding, quality services and messages that provide value to users, consumers or buyers of these services.
Do not mistake Gen Smartphone’s desire to become “influencers” or “social media personalities” with a lack of substance or attempt to take the easy way out. Most recognize that achievement comes through hard work. As an example, influencer or online personality success is defined by the value generated though on-line ventures. Not simply by followers or likes. Achievement is a function of consistent quality of content and consumer service over time.
Reports of overnight social media sensations vanish as quickly as they appear and generally with no real wealth created. Gen Smartphone is well aware of the commitments and sacrifices their generation demands to achieve success. They work tirelessly to achieve these successes and evolve their message, products or services to (this is important) earn their compensation for these efforts. This only happens when their hard work and talent align with the value they create. We all want employees with this attitude.
Courage is an actual thing. – The constant and instant communication among peers and managers makes hiding or lying nearly impossible. The truth will surface eventually and be exposed exponentially. Most members of Gen Smartphone have direct experience with this fact: A fact that is an integral part of an internet connected life. Due to this reality, we find that Gen Smartphone actually sees honesty as the preferred way forward.
Fake resumes, postings and social media profiles are discovered and outed quickly. It this way, social media for all its foibles actually requires honesty for long term survival.
Being habitually honest also has the advantage of building confidence in one’s view points and the courage to speak it. The courage to be heard and speak up in group environments from a base of honesty and learning is yet another great skill Gen Smartphone has learned earlier in their development than the generation that preceded it.
CareerNet has the tools to help companies like yours find the right young talent, and bring their talent to you for the long term. Have a look at our world class assessment solutions or our skills tests and smartphone training solutions. Companies that hire and train properly see greater employee productivity and longevity. Don’t listen to the noise.
Thanks for reading,