Integrating Gen Z into Your Workplace

A group of four young professionals sitting around a table having a pleasant discussion.Recent years have seen the oldest of Generation Z entering the workforce. Many are fresh out of college or early in their career, looking for entry level positions within the professional workforce. Like with millennials ten years ago, it’s time to make the necessary adjustments to welcome this new generation into corporate America. And like with millennials, there’s bound to be some growing pains.


There are a lot of similarities

The Gen Z entering the workforce is on the older end of the generation; a good number of Gen Z are still teenagers and won’t be entering your company for another few years. But what’s interesting about this period is that this older end shares a lot in common with younger millennials. Several may have siblings, cousins, or other people in their life who are millennials, so they share a lot of the same trends, attitudes, and skills. There’s a camaraderie between young millennials and older Gen Z, so much of the two generations values (for example diversity and inclusion and a good work-life balance) overlap in some way. If you’ve made some changes to your workplace already, it’s likely you’ll be more prepared for this younger generation.


Those similarities do not negate the differences

Of course, no generations are going to be the same, even if they grew up together. The foundational difference between the two is the exposure to technology. Gen Z is the first generation to grow up with the internet from birth. With that comes its own challenges, but it also comes with a deep understanding of technology, social media, and interconnectivity. Gen Z are more likely to be tech savvy than millennials and will most likely be privy to a lot of cutting-edge technology. However, according to Indeed, Gen Z prefers in-person interaction with management and coworkers over remote interaction. So, not only is in-person evaluations and feedback not dead, but it remains a good practice to connect with your employees.


The Pandemic threw a wrench into things

We cannot talk about Gen Z workers without discussing the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic brought a huge halt to everyone’s lives, but this experience will fundamentally impact the Gen Z workers you hire. The pandemic amplified the already existing focus on mental health and wellness, as well as created an aversion to working just to work. Gen Z has an emphasis on feeling fulfilled in their jobs, is more educated in the world around them, and wants to feel like their jobs make a difference. Social change and outreach are important, and they are more likely to gravitate to an employer they believe aligns with their own ethics and morals. Community outreach and corporate social responsibility programs are a good way to attract Gen Z workers. If you show genuine outreach efforts to better your community, it will give you more social capital in the eyes of Gen Z workers.


“But I heard they are all slackers?”

The recent “quiet quitting” phenomenon is a bit exaggerated. Gen Z is disinterested in doing a job beyond what is required of them in their position. This has gotten them painted as slackers with the quote “nobody wants to work anymore” repeated like a mantra in the media. But they are not bad workers or have no drive. Like millennials before them, Gen Z has an entrepreneurial spirit and a drive to be the best at what they do. According to Indeed, 54% of Gen Z wants to own their own business. However, don’t hire Gen Z workers and expect them to do three jobs instead of one. They are not ones to be easily taken advantage of, and are more aware of the value of their work and their value as workers. They can rise to a challenge, but do not take kindly to being given tasks outside of their job description.


“Will hiring Gen Z benefit my company?”

Overall, it’s good to bring young people into a business. As people get older and times change, it’s important to have someone there who is in touch with the new and the now. Hiring a green employee allows for fresh ideas and new ways to approach issues and can even help make your workplace more efficient and increase business. Gen Z is just starting to enter the workforce out of college, and although freshly educated, you might have concerns about their performance. But, where there’s risk there’s reward, and running a business is about taking risks.


As with any generational shift, there will be some growing pains. New employees who haven’t worked in corporate will have to adjust to employment. At the same time, employers are going to have to begin adjusting to a changing world and a changing workforce. There’s bound to be culture shock, but in the end, it’ll be beneficial to your business and your employees.


If you’re ready to start hiring entry-level positions, let Area Temps help you out with the applicant search. With our City Search database, we have applicants across all experience levels, skills and fields throughout Northeast Ohio. Click here if you’re interested in learning more about partnering with us.

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