Waging war might sound a little dramatic.
But Gen Zs sure are on a mission to rewrite the script for the workplace. And if you think that’s because they’re ‘entitled’ or ‘anti-capitalist’, you’d be sorely mistaken.
First off, Gen Z are arguably the hardest working generation in the workforce (social media-inspired hustle culture, anyone?).
Second, they’ve learned from observing older generations – witnessing burnout, time poverty and the ol’ ‘mid-life crisis’ that often arises from the two – and want something a little different for themselves.
So what are Gen Zs demands for the workplace?
- In-person encounters
Think Gen Zs are happy with fully remote work just because they’re the world’s first digital natives? Think again.
While Gen Zs practically grew up with a phone in their hand and are used to texting and messaging as a social communication tool, they actually find face-to-face interactions important to their productivity and wellbeing in the workplace.
According to SHRM, 75% of Gen Zs prefer face-to-face interactions when receiving feedback, with more than one in three preferring to communicate with their team face to face.
- A healthy work schedule
Approximately one third of Gen Zs demand a say over their working hours according to the same report, with slightly less than a third flat out refusing to work back-to-back shifts.
More than one third don’t tolerate being denied holidays they request.
“Gen Z won’t put up with our corporate BS,” says SHRM’s Tim Sackett.
“If you say, ‘Well, the CEO starts work every day at 7 a.m. and works until 8 p.m., and you should, too!’ they’ll say, ‘That works for Mary, but it doesn’t work for me.’ “
- Getting paid for the (real) hours they put in
On the other hand… Many Gen Zs are keen to work longer hours – they just demand to get paid for it.
In fact, 58% of Gen Zs told the Monster Multi-Generational Survey they’d be willing to work nights and weekends (compared with just 45% of Millennials and 40% of Gen Xs and Baby Boomers): for higher pay, that is.
“So the great news,” says Monster’s Mack Gelber, “is that you will have some very productive heads-down workers joining your team – but, they’ll come at a cost.”
- Security and stability
After all, Gen Zs grew up in what SHRM’s Tim Sackett calls the second ‘Great Recession’.
“(Gen Zs) saw parents lose jobs, friends lose their houses, grandparents … return to work,” says Sackett.
“Unlike many Millennials who were already in college when the recession started, Gen Zers had to go to work earlier in many cases to help make ends meet, or at the very least to cover their own costs as teens.”
Having grown up with the trauma of uncertainty, Gen Zs are a helluva lot more risk averse than previous generations.
Fail to provide growth opportunities and invest in their development? You’ll probs be cancelled by a Gen Z.
- To ‘own’ their work
Businesses, it’s worth keeping in mind Gen Z’s entrepreneurial spirit.
After all, 42% of Gen Zs told Monster they eventually want to have their own business – which Gelber suggests tapping into.
“Recognising Gen Z’s entrepreneurial obsession, you might want to offer your future employees more opportunity to “own” their work to keep these hard workers on the payroll as long as you can,” says Gelber.