A Guide to Working With Members of Gen Z (Plus Definition)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 26 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Members of Generation Z are beginning to enter the workforce in greater numbers and they can provide innovative ideas at workplaces. Like other generations, Gen Zs share values and characteristics that define how they function in the workplace. Understanding the behavioural patterns of this generation might help you develop more successful working relationships with colleagues or employees. In this article, we define Generation Z and outline some of the most prevalent Gen Z qualities in the workplace.

Related: Starting Your Career Virtually: Tips for Gen Z in the Workplace

What is Gen Z?

Generation Z encompasses all individuals born after 1997. While there's no uniform formula for determining how long a generational span should be, the differences between Generation Y and Generation Z is visible by recognising key political, economic or social events that affect their formative years. It's important to note that while Gen Z accounts for a substantial proportion of the workforce, many of them are just starting out. Outlined below are details of various generations:

  • Traditionalists: Born before 1946, they typically seek comfort and financial stability. This generation is more conventional and has a strong devotion to what they do.

  • The baby boomers: Born between 1946 to 1964, this generation places a lot of emphasis on work ethic, discipline and focus.

  • Generation X: This generation was born between 1965 to 1980. As a generally entrepreneurial generation, they value work-life balance and self-sufficiency.

  • Generation Y: Born between 1981 to 1996, this generation prioritises work-life balance, has strong confidence and is tech-savvy.

  • Generation Z: This generation's born after 1997 and is generally self-sufficient, enterprising and competitive.

Common working traits of Generation Z

This generation shares a set of common personality and behavioural traits. While not every member of this generation may share these traits, you may notice the following while engaging with this demographic:

Reliant on cutting-edge technologies

This developing workforce expects to employ current technologies in their working life as a result of their high exposure to various types of technology. Prior to being dubbed Generation Z, other competing titles were Selfie Generation and iGen. Members of Generation Z grew up interacting extensively through technology, so they're highly familiar with various social media platforms and messaging applications.

Employers may mix virtual and face-to-face communication to successfully engage Gen Z in the workplace. For example, they may use several online means such as sending newsletters to their emails or posting on the company social media accounts to gain their interest and loyalty.

Expressive about their thoughts

Members of Generation Z are ready to share their thoughts and perspectives with others. This is because they've grown up in a digital environment where they're very open to expressing their opinions and engaging in dialogues. They want to be a part of critical conversations, both personally and professionally, and they want people to take their concerns seriously, regardless of their age or experience.

Capable of multitasking

Due to their hyper-connectivity as a result of their mobile devices, many members of Generation Z are good at dividing their time between a range of responsibilities. In the workplace, it could become an advantage as it can improve workflow and efficiency. This is because certain companies may prefer their employees to work on many tasks simultaneously yet effectively.

Sociable

Their need for human connections at work may start with the hiring process. For example, Generation Z may prefer recruiting methods that prioritise in-person interviews over online applications. Many Generation Z members enjoy face-to-face human connections despite their dependence on and appreciation of technology.

They like texting and video conferencing, but they're more inclined to participate in face-to-face communication and actively seek it out. Gen Zs may enjoy close collaboration with team members and expect colleagues to contribute their unique ideas to a discussion. A good work environment for Generation Z can involve team meetings where colleagues can discuss their weekly successes.

Business-minded

Gen Z grew up seeing others utilise technology to launch lucrative businesses. They're poised, as digital natives, to use this information to create possibilities for themselves. They may have also gained business knowledge by watching others create and promote ideas through methods such as crowdsourcing websites. This business literacy is visible in Gen Z's emphasis on competitive salary and perks at work. Many of them are also very creative and devoted problem solvers, making them excellent entrepreneurs.

Conscious and outspoken about social issues

Generation Z is more vocal about social concerns, probably as a result of extensive access to social media and knowledge. This generation generally prefers to rely on themselves rather than others to discover knowledge or the truth about matters that interest them. They don't only have concerns about social issues, but they're also advocates for positive change. In fact, they place a high value on political and cultural awareness, authenticity and social responsibility. They seek purpose-driven lives and social engagement.

Keen on equality

Another apparent tendency is a desire for equality and advocacy for the rights of society's marginalised groups. Mental health awareness, gender discrimination, racial injustice, health care for migrant workers, LGBTQ+ rights, climate change, the inclusion of people with special needs, animal cruelty, poverty and domestic abuse are all issues that Generation Z is passionate about. Generation Z generally believes that everyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation, deserves equal opportunity to be the greatest version of themselves.

Less accepting of authoritarian situations

Generation Z is a generation that grew up in a time of incredible technological advancements and probably had access to the Internet from an early age. This not only increases their connection to the world and what is going on around them but also provides them with a platform to express their views. Generation Z has also grown up with the capacity to openly speak up and receive real-time criticism via social media. As a result, this population may expect to have their opinions acknowledged and valued at work.

Related: Improving Collaboration at the Workplace

Appreciative of flexibility at work

People in this generation tend to believe they're the most hard-working generation, but this is a motivated trade-off that requires businesses to provide work-life balance and competitive perks. Paid parental leave, ample vacation time and flexibility in work location and hours are all desired advantages. They prefer stability and desire extra advantages like substantial health care coverage and monetary benefits.

Related: What Are Employee Benefits and 17 Types of Employee Benefits

Competitive

There's a common conception that Generation Z is competitive. Generation Z undergoes one of the most competitive educational environments, and they tend to receive feedback quickly. Previous generations frequently waited days or weeks to receive grades for completed assignments, but Gen Z have received quick access to their results. As they have constant access to knowledge, they may want to know the correct answer and communicate it right away. They're passionate about being the best in their group and receiving acclaim for their achievements.

Furthermore, they want to win and get recognition for that accomplishment as soon as possible. Their digitally-driven upbringing with rapid access to information means they frequently desire instant satisfaction. Generation Z's competitive drive in the job may come with a strong need for acknowledgement of their efforts. As a result, they place a premium on having clear expectations about how to attain success and grow professionally.

Highly diverse

Generation Z encounters exposure to diverse ideas as a result of their access to technology. They may readily communicate thoughts and opinions with people of other races, genders and backgrounds. They support and accept variety in their personal and professional circles, since it's so natural to them. They may also enjoy and prefer working in an environment that supports diversity.

Related: What Is Diversity and Inclusion and How Do You Show It?

Open to changes

Gen Z is highly knowledgeable as many of them have grown up with constant access to the Internet, news and social media. As a result, they've regularly read about large-scale social and political events around the world. Changes in the environment that bring major impacts, such as climate change and different types of terrorism have also affected Generation Z's perspectives. This may serve as motivation for them to become more involved in activism. As change agents, Generation Zs may choose employment that allows them to participate, create, lead and learn.

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