Generation Z also called as digital natives are the ones who are born between 1995 and 2015. They have grown up in a world saturated with technology. The widespread use of the internet, smartphones, and social media has profoundly shaped their worldview and communication style.Gen Z is the most energetic generation of all with a different set of ideologies and beliefs This generation is known to have short span of attention, works in autonomy, wants feedback, job security and is self-confident. These are some of the peculiar characteristics of Generation Z which is a cohort after the millennial generation. They don’t believe in traditional way of working and seek more flexibility at work. The organizations need to redesign strategies to attract, engage and retain the new generation.
Generation Z believes in stability, multitasking, likes to learn on their own, believes in smart work, and is interested in receiving feedback for their work.The cohort wants to improve and grow with the organization. They have a sense of pride when they achieve and the achievement is recognized. Thus, effectiveness and efficiency are in the DNA of this generation. However, as generation Z has just stepped into the workforce, little is known about their leadership skills at the senior level. Gen Z values individual expression and personal identity. They tend to embrace diversity and are open to a wide range of cultural, gender, and lifestyle expressions. They often reject traditional labels and stereotypes.
They are quick to make connections but also want privacy. They are tech-savvy and want everything at a click. Organizations will be forced to accept technology as the preferred medium of communication when Generation Z enters the organization. This generation is more aware of mental health issues and the importance of self-care. They are proactive in seeking help and discussing mental health openly, aiming to break the stigma around these topics. Any person irrespective of the age that they belong to, mental health should be kept as the top priority. They should be provided with work systems designed in a way which does not impact the mental health of the employees. Being a vocal generation, it is important to reduce the stigma surrounding the mental health issues. Gen Z is known for its strong emphasis on diversity, equality, and social justice. They tend to be more socially conscious and are active in advocating for issues such as racial equality and environmental sustainability.
The digital natives prefer to use communication which is accurate and transparent. Thus, the communication channels should be used in such a way that can resonate with the aura of generation Z such as social media and other online platforms. These can be used to disseminate policies, information, recognition and events which is interactive. This helps in building the organization culture and would in turn also help in employer branding.
Looking in the traits and attitude of the vibrant generation Z, who are going to be almost 45% of the workforce by the year 2030, we need to train, develop and groom this generation to be the next leaders. With so many leadership style that the earlier generations have shown, gen Z is sure to display. They will be tech savvy leaders who believe in diversity, inclusion, collaboration, driven by purpose with an entrepreneurial attitude and a transparent style of leadership. As the digital natives continue to enter the workforce and take leadership roles at various levels, the distinct qualities and value system of this cohort is likely to have a great influence the way organizations will operate and evolve in the future.
Due to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and industry 4.0, the roles played in the corporate sector have evolved drastically. AI in the corporate is used in the form of functions such as data analysis, marketing, supply chain management, customer service, predictive maintenance and so many other allied functions. Generation Z is known to be tech savvy and can contribute to the advancement of the organization.
Generation Z is not a monolithic group and preference of individuals may vary. The solution can be tailoring the policies in such a way that the unique characteristics and concerns of the cohort are addressed to. This will help both the organization and employees to be effective and relevant. It is imperative to identify that the generation Z is growing up in a rapidly changing world. The policies need to be formulated in such a way that it helps and provides not only flexibility at work but other work arrangements that suits the industry and sector to which the organization belongs to. They value transparency and accountability in all the sectors.The current leaders at work needs to ensure that Gen Z is quite passionate about social justice. In this regard, it is important to create policies that will also require the alignment of policies with the value system of the generation. This will help in creating a better connect and bond among all the stakeholders.
To sum up, it is highly important to note that individual characteristics can vary widely in any generation and each cohort will display different traits. However, in order to harness the potential of generation Z as a smart workforce for tomorrow, it is vital for the organizations to adapt the needs and develop the culture that suits all the cohorts taking into consideration the specific cohort of generation Z. the policies related to flexibility, security needs to be made in such away that gen Z feel a part of it. They have huge potential to develop the organization in all dimensions. The organizations need to invest in digital infrastructure, provide opportunities for skill development and design the workplace in a more aesthetic and ergonomic way.
Lastly, Gen Z has the right potential and vision to contribute significantly to the workforce. To achieve this, thereshould be a proactive approach from both the organization and earlier generations to ensure the optimum realization of the potential of Generation Z.
Author Dr. Ruchi Nishikant Sao