7 Steps to Make Your Company Ready for Generation Z

7 Steps to Make Your Company Ready for Generation Z

Generation Z just came on the scene and they’re already shaking things up.

I get it.

You just finished organizing your workplace for millennials. You moved out the cubicles, created an open floor plan, and even added a splash of color to the walls. Shouldn’t this be enough to appease the next generation? Not exactly.

Generation Z wants more than a WeWork layout with a Tim Cook vision. Now, there’s nothing wrong with Apple. For years, they were the pinnacle example of generational cool.

But, Generation Z isn’t looking for a trendy office space. After all, have you seen the latest fashion trends? I don’t think anyone would label oversized jeans, denim jumpers, and spandex as trendy or fashion-forward.

Generation Z wants more than a cool office space.

Organic yogurt bars might have attracted millennials to your company ten years ago. But, it’s not impressing younger generations.

So, is your company is ready for Generation Z?

Here are seven things that you need to know if you want to gain their attention and their applications.

Generation Z Doesn’t Want To be A Part Of A Tribe

Unlike millennials, they’re not looking to belong. If anything, they’re obsessed with standing out and bringing their unique perspective to their Tik Tok and their workplaces.

Generation Z isn’t looking to be a part of a tribe, wear the same corporate branding, or greet their coworkers with identical secret handshake.

Millennials might have wanted their workplace to feel like a community. But, they do value individual expression, not group conformity. They don’t care about keeping up with the Joneses or the Kardashians for that matter. If anything, they’d rather hang out with Billie Eilish or Greta Thunberg and talk about something with substance. Not Who Wore It Best.

Look, I’m not knocking millennials. After all, I am one.

But, one of the main differences between these two generations is their ideology of belonging. Millennials still see community as the ultimate goal. They value relationships, family, and being a part of the bigger picture. Generation Z sees value in being one of many, but they want more than to be a part of the puzzle.

1. Generation Z Will Not Trust You Right Away

Generation Z are survivalists.

Millennials might have been shaped by the mass shooting at Columbine, but they can remember a time when school was safe and people could be trusted. Younger generations did not have that privilege.

Since childhood, Gen Z has lived through at least 2,000 people who have been killed or injured in mass shootings. Younger generations cannot identify a time without violence.

In many ways, they were shaped by their preference for individuality. In their mind, survival and success are not about trusting in a tribe, but relying on yourself.

This is why, they’re not interested in copying their older siblings. They don’t see the world like their millennial counterparts.

Generation Z wants to bring their own style, expression, and ideas to the table. And they expect companies to listen and learn from their experience and perspective from day one.

If companies want to be Gen Z-ready, they need to think and operate differently.

In many ways, they need to approach this generation with open hands and let them come to them in their own time.

Gen Z wants to work with companies that are upfront and consistent. So, before you invest millions of dollars in self-help gurus, yoga retreats, and light shows, you might want to reconsider your audience. Generation Z only wants one thing: for you to be yourself and invite your employees to do the same.

2. Generation Z Expects to Work From Anywhere

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s taught us the value of experience.

I miss meeting with friends, going into the city, and grabbing a Shake Shack burger, but more importantly, I miss spontaneity. There’s something about buying cheap seats on a flight and immersing myself in a new adventure.

The pandemic has shifted the way that we work and the expectation of Generation Z employees. They don’t see the need for office space when they have the freedom to work from anywhere.

Will society return back to some type of normal? absolutely. Will Generation Z want to go backward? Absolutely not.

When you’re working with them, you have to realize that this generation views life without boundaries. Since childhood, if they wanted to learn how to code, create a podcast, or design a home, all they had to do was open their laptop or phone. With one click, they had access to everything they wanted to know through YoutubeLinkedIn LearningUdemy, or Thinkific.

Generation Z wants variety in the workplace.

If you want to be Generation Z-ready, you need to invite this generation to shape the future of your organization. They don’t want options. They want the opportunity to create and color outside of the lines.

Generation Z isn’t interested in only being a student. They want the chance to teach.

3. They Don’t See the Purpose of A 40-Hour Workweek

Generation Z doesn’t see the point of working hourly. If anything, they see the 9-5 workday as a waste of time. And they’re right.

If you look at the numbers, it doesn’t make sense to hire employees hourly anymore. Especially when the majority of millennials and Generation Z value flexibility. They prefer their vocation to be diverse and entrepreneurial and their work to be broken down into projects and deadlines, instead of hourly tasks.

Generation Z is willing to work hard, but they want to create their own schedule. They don’t care if they work until midnight. It’s more important to them that they have the freedom to define their own hours and have a work-life balance.

So, when you’re looking over your company layout, ask yourself these four questions:

  • Am I offering my employees flexibility?
  • Am I giving my team enough space to build trust?
  • Are there opportunities for self-expression and individuality?
  • Am I offering my employees the chance to take their work on the road?

If the answer is yes, then you’re off to a good start.

4. They Appreciate Transparent Communication

Generation Z knows that trust is earned and not given. That’s why this generation values honesty and transparency above all else. If they don’t have both of these things, they won’t invest in your company or product.

And that goes for communication too. If you want to be Generation Z-ready, you need to create an environment where everyone can openly share their ideas and opinions without fear of judgment or retaliation.

Generation Z wants the ability to speak up without feeling like they’re being heard, and they want the opportunity to have their voices heard without fear of ridicule or being put on the spot.

5. They Value Transparency in Leadership

Generation Z isn’t interested in hearing about your success stories from years ago. They want you to be honest with them and let them know who you are as a person, not just as a leader.

They want to know why you’re passionate about the mission and what drives you to do your job every day. This generation wants to see the leader in action, not just hear about it from a PowerPoint presentation.

6. They Want to be Challenged

Generation Z isn’t interested in the same old mundane tasks. They want an environment where they can learn and grow, and be challenged every day.

If you want to be Generation Z-ready, then you need to offer your employees meaningful work that will challenge them and help them reach their full potential.

7. They Believe in Workplace Equality

Generation Z believes that everyone should have the same opportunities, regardless of gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation. They don’t believe in favoritism or discriminatory practices and they want to work in a workplace where everyone has an equal chance to succeed.

If your organization isn’t taking steps to create an equitable environment then you are not ready for Generation Z.

By following these eight key points, you’ll be able to ensure that your organization is Generation Z-ready. Make sure that you are meeting their needs and providing them with an engaging and rewarding work environment so they can reach their full potential.

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Dr. Colleen Batchelder
As a Leadership Strategist, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, Executive Coach, and National Speaker, I help leaders create companies where Millennials and Generation Z want to work. My doctoral background in leadership and global perspectives also gives me an added edge because I approach generational dissonance from all directions, including from an anthropological, theological, sociological, and ethnographic lens.