Just when you thought you had figured out the Millennials in your organization, a new generation is knocking at your door. Generation Z is the post-Millennial generation and is loosely defined as those born after 1998.
While there are many differences between Generation Z and Millennials, you can rest assured that there are many similarities as well. Many of the changes you made to recruit, retain, and engage Millennials will work for Generation Z as well...at least for now.
9 Similarities Between Generation Z and Millennials
1. Customization of Careers
Millennials grew up in a connected world where profile pages, t-shirts, and cars could be customized to an individual's specific liking. They pulled this expectation into the workplace and wanted their career paths, workplace training, and work tools to have the same level of customization.
Generation Z shares Millennials affinity for customization. In fact, 62 percent of Generation Z would rather customize their own career plan than have the organization lay one out for them.
2. Gripped by Gaming
Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and Playstation turned Millennials into a generation of gamers. Thus Millennials are gripped by products, processes, or procedures that are gamified.
Infusing gaming elements into your training, recognition program, onboarding process, and/or marketing will also engage Generation Z, especially since 66 percent of Generation Z list gaming as their main hobby.
3. Motivated by Meaning
In a world of abundance, it's no wonder that Millennials were searching for more meaning at work.
With 93 percent of Generation Z saying that a company's impact on society affects their decision to work there, they too will be looking for more meaning at work. In fact, 30 percent of Generation Z would take a 10-20 percent pay cut to work for a company with a mission they deeply care about.
4. Committed to Contribution
Millennials grew up as the household CTO. They helped mom and dad troubleshoot a laptop, create a Facebook account, and download their first smartphone apps. At work, Millennials felt compelled to contribute their unique expertise and perspectives.
Similarly, Generation Z has been helping their parents research and plan vacations, price compare home furniture and buy a house. Ninety-three percent of parents say their Generation Z kids have at least some influence on their family's spending and household purchases. Contributing early and often and weighing in on big decisions at work will come naturally for Generation Z.
5. Devoted to Development
Sixty percent of Millennials want training to develop their leadership skills. Millennials' appetite for professional development was strong as they entered the workplace, and it will grow as they begin to rise into leadership positions inside of organizations.
Generation Z is committed to continuous learning and development because they know their careers will be longer and more varied than any other generations in history. Generation Z will be forced to learn, un-learn, and re-learn at greater levels of frequency than the world has ever known.
6. Transformation of Training
Seventy-one percent of Millennials who are likely to leave an organization in two years are dissatisfied with how their leadership skills are being developed. Generation Z shares Millennial's distaste for how mundane and outdated so many of today's workplace training has become.
One in ten Generation Zers claim they would rather read the full iTunes terms and conditions than attend formal workplace training. Read this to learn how to improve workplace training to engage the emerging generations.
7. Compelled by Coaching
Because Millennials were surrounded by so many coaches during their over-scheduled after-school activities, coaching is the workplace leadership style that resonates best with Millennials.
Generation Z will also pursue coaching relationships because they won't be looking to leaders for answers (all the info is in the palm of their hand) but rather will want leaders to coach them through their learning, decisions, and actions.
8. Empowered by Entrepreneurship
Inspired by Zuckerberg and empowered by mobile technology, ubiquitous connectivity, and a global marketplace, Millennials have pursued entrepreneurship at a time when the barriers to launching a business have never been lower.
As for Generation Z, 63 percent want colleges to offer courses in founding or running a business and 70 percent are working self-employed jobs like selling on Etsy, driving for Uber, or teaching piano lessons. Employers will not only be competing with competitors to recruit and retain Generation Z talent, but employers will also be competing with Generation Z's desire and resources to become an entrepreneur.
9. Freed by Feedback
Millennials want feedback 50 percent more often than other employees and they want the communication to be swift, mobile, and as digitally native as they are.
Sixty-seven percent of Generation Z is comfortable with having their manager check in with them but only for five minutes or less. Expect Generation Z to have similar expectations surrounding workplace feedback and succinct communications.
(Discover more generational strategies in Ryan's new book, The Millennial Manual: The Complete How-To Guide to Manage, Develop, and Engage Millennials at Work.)