Generation Z people exhibit different behaviors compared with previous generations, yet are perceived and managed like Millennials -wrongly. Leaders who know how to retain, inspire and lead Gen Zers will reap the rewards from their hard work, passion and disruptive ideas.
Gen Zers, those born from 1995 through 2010, are entering or about to enter the workforce. They are also called Centennials, because they are the first generation born into the new century. They are best-positioned generationally to anticipate the needs of constituents and consumers in the digital society.
The contextual atmosphere in which Centennials have been brought up differs from other generations. For example:
They have never known a world without the internet. For them, connectivity and immediate access to information are natural elements of their lives. This is a difference with Millennials, who connected with the world via the internet later in their lives.
But contrary to popular opinion, connectivity is not the most important factor shaping Gen Z behavior…
Gen Zers suffered the fierce financial crisis (2008 through 2016) either in their childhood or adolescence directly, or witnessed how their friends and relatives suffered. Millennials grew up expecting great prosperity and boundless opportunities, but Gen Z has grown up in a time of greatly diminished expectations and insecurity. Gen Zers are more financially conservative, more money-oriented, more entrepreneurial and pragmatic about money compared with Millennials.
Gen Zers do not know a world without global terrorism. The oldest members of Gen Z were children when the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred. Consequently, they have been brought up in a world where global terrorism threats are always present. They do not remember those terrible facts. Unlike Millennials, an unsafe world is the norm for Gen Z. They have not known a world without global terrorism, resulting in a feeling of unsettlement and insecurity.
As a result of this context, Generation Z at work is more similar to Generation X (and even Baby Boomers) than to Millennials.
This graph shows the differences at work between generations:
Gen Z is more hardworking than other generations, but only a minority of managers believe the same. Managers should overcome this untrue stereotype; otherwise, their preconceived notion about Gen Z will trigger potential conflicts and spoil the relationship. Once again, leaders will have to adapt their leadership practices to successfully lead, motivate and retain Gen Z.
Gen Zers want to add value right away, making things smarter and faster. They want to make an impact in their companies, and with clients and society. Leaders aware of how to retain and lead this generation will get rewarded by their hard work, passion and disruptive ideas. Learn which precise actions you should carry out at “Gen Z: How to Lead These Natural Digital Connectors”
May wisdom and courage be with you.
Daniel Sanchez Reina