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Preparing for the Next Generation: Generation Z or the "iGeneration"

There’s been a lot of talk in the media about Millennials. Whether that talk is positive or negative, a lot of focus has been placed on today’s 17 to 37 year olds. What about the generation right behind them? In a few short years, we’ll begin to see Generation Z, alternatively named the “iGeneration”, entering the workforce. Make sure your office is prepared and ready for this new generation because, despite some commonalities, they will be certainly unique from Millennials.

What Generation Z is About

  • Innovation and Creativity

  • Passions and Causes

  • Open Communication and Socialization

  • Collaboration

Generation Z has grown up with convenient technology from the day of their birth. They don’t know about the struggles of rewinding a VHS tape, waiting for the wild screeching of a dial-up internet connection to end, or having their parents eavesdrop on their phone conversations by picking up a different receiver in the house. While Millennials are technologically-savvy by their own right, Generation Z will be bringing even more savvy and skill to the workplace. These technological skills allow Generation Z to be innovative and social.

What Generation Z Wants

  • To impact society

  • To earn their living

  • To connect with their superiors

  • To experience growth

  • To have work-life balance

  • To roam around the office

Generation Z is passionate about their beliefs, which will convert into company loyalty if they buy in and truly believe in what their company is doing. Being children of The Great Recession of the late-2000s, witnessing the burdens their parents bore, and seeing their older siblings or relatives succumb to the pressure of student debt, they want to earn their living. However, while salary is important, Generation Z will place more value on growth potential and work-life balance. Generation Z workers, being social in nature, want a mentor-student connection with their supervisors. Even though they might want to create privately or intimately with a small team, this generation will seek communication and feedback from their supervisors throughout the process. As mentioned before, Generation Z holds strong to their values, so they require work-life balance so they have time to pursue their causes. Lastly, Generation Z’s technological prowess will not chain them to their workspace. They will opt to roam around or outside the office, taking their work with them on tablets, portable laptops, and smartphones.

How to Interact with Generation Z

  • Allow space to tinker and create

  • Provide open lines of communication and frequent feedback

  • Provide opportunities to expand their knowledge and responsibilities

Generation Z are innovators and tinkerers, so give them the time and space they need to work out their thoughts and get their creative juices flowing. Be an interested co-worker or boss and provide guidance to a Generation Z worker because they want to socialize and connect. Lastly, give a Generation Z worker a new responsibility or a new tool because they want to learn, and from learning comes growth.

For more information about Generation Z in the workplace, check out these articles:

Generation Z and the Workplace: What You Need to Know, John Boitnott,

Lookout Workplace, Here Comes Gen Z, Amanda Schneider, The Huffington Post

How the workplace needs to change for Generation Z, Meg Osman, The Business Journals

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