5 TIPS TO ENGAGE GENERATION Z By: Hassan Helmy
1. Create a Fitting Culture:
Like any other generation, Gen Z values security & stability in the workplace. Feeling
aligned with the corporate culture is critical for hiring them and retaining them and it is imperative to focus on connectivity.
2. Offer Opportunities for Growth:
Gen Z is willing to start at the bottom and work their way up. They need personal growth and professional development and like to have a clear career path.
3. Contribute to the Community:
Gen Z does not want to work solely for a corporation’s bottom line. They want to also contribute to a greater good in their community and beyond.
4. Value Diversity & Inclusion:
Gen Z values an environment of diversity and inclusion. This is where they flourish.
5. Give Them A Voice:
Gen Z like to share their opinions and feel heard and recognized. It’s important for them to operate in an environment that encourages innovation and open, honest and transparent communication.
The world went through a huge change after the Second World War, with traditional thinking making way for progressive thought. With so much happening, sociologists and psychologists created new terms to dub the generations to better understand the groups of people born into specific times with similar sorts of experiences. Looking back at the past few decades, we see a huge shift in the way different generations act and interact. In many ways they are similar, as it’s quite common to find a CEO or owner in their mid-sixties or seventies working with the Internet (something stapled to Gen X)
and at other times find a junior specialist (Gen Y) stuck in the ways of the past , working with written documents and preferring to follow orders.
The Traditionalists, born before1945, gave way to the Baby Boomers (called so after a sudden increase in the birth rates post the war). In turn, the Baby Boomers parented Gen X (born in the 70’s and 80’s) who were more competitive and focused on creating wealth. The Millennials were next (sometimes called Gen Y) born around the turn of the 21st century and who are now very much a part of the workforce, adding dedication and search for meaning.
The latest ones to join the scene are Generation Z (Gen Z), born roughly between the mid 90’s and the 00’s. They have been given many different names like Post Millennials, iGen and Digital Natives amongst others. They are now the teens and pre-teens of our society, and have known connectivity through the Internet their entire lives. They have tapped into, and are now the heavy users of social media; and because of their digital trends, social media job descriptions are becoming very much the norm.
Many people in the workplace are posing huge considerations for Gen Z to arrive in their companies, whilst others are not even giving them a second thought. Forward thinking companies like GE, Cisco and others are getting ready for this new wave of workers and have changed the traditional performance management, top-down approach to one that is dependent on a flexible method of check-ins and updates that allows for the flow of success rather than specific KPI’s.
It is not systems alone that make a company grow. You could have a great system and quality manual, and with the wrong people implementing that system, it will be of little use. And, on the other hand, you could have great minds working and producing ideas while there is no process or structure to ensure their alignment. It is a needed balance that allows businesses to grow; one that is dependent on the structure and on the people with a focus on positivity and productivity.
Google, Facebook and similar are already geared towards a workplace that will include all generations. The tools they have applied take into consideration the changing norms and behavior of the ones who actually create the business. This
is the approach that Gen Z will find second nature, as it requires a different mindset than present in some of the older generations.
So why so much talk about Gen Z? It is clear: They are the new workforce coming and represent, for some, the fear of the unknown. They are a generation with very little awareness of life outside of the Grid. A generation that does not depend on political or social boundaries and as they are born into a connected world via the web. They interact via short videos and do-it-yourself clips on YouTube and they live and breathe social media. They aren’t really concerned about monetary topics like their parents or even their older siblings. They seek value and want to make a positive difference to the planet. So what are we to expect? Probably faster decisions and fresh ideas running like wildfire.
What’s important is that the wave of change is coming and Gen Z is an important focal point. The time has come to consider them as a vital part of our future workforce and not just our customer base. The current workforce need to be ready to do things differently, as Gen Z will move things around and won’t take no for an answer. Take my youngest daughter, for example, her and her friends are around 11 years of age. They literally do not accept showstoppers; find a way to get around obstacles, make contacts and connections to get someone on their side, and create wonders to make things happen.
It is imperative that we remember that “fresh blood” creates innovation and brings value and worth. The world is changing and so are people, and everyone is different. Diversity is now very much in focus, and political and social norms are disappearing to give way to the one big village that was just a mere thought back in the 90’s. Gen Z is definitely our new workforce, so let us not make the age-old mistake of the past and resist change. Yes, working hours may become a thing of the past; assigned space could be something ancient; but we can put some rules, and create objectives, and then give them the freedom to create. What is for sure is that mobility and connectivity are, without a doubt, an integral part of
the new future and we need a generation that feel comfortable with it. We know that they will definitely reinvent the way things have been done up until now, but let’s face it we need it. So let’s welcome the coming leaders of this century with open arms and collaborate with them.
About The Author:
Hassan is an HR professional with 25+ years of local and international experience in the varying fields of telecommunications, construction, and HR. His personal aim is to continue helping people and organizations identify their fullest potential, specifically in the areas of people development, HR transformation, and change management. He is a trainer, assessor and public speaker, and is currently working with Willis Towers Watson as an HR director for the Egypt Hub.