Gen Z in the workplace: How they are creating a shift in corporate culture
December 27, 2021
March 10, 2023
It might be hard to believe but those “kids” born in the late 90s and early 2000s are staking their claim in the workforce. Yeah, time flies! Before you know it, Gen Z will be the world’s CEOs, managers, and business leaders.
An article by mccrindle states that by 2025, Gen Z in the workplace will make up 27% of the workforce! Well, 2025 is just around the corner so it’s time to start paying more mind to Gen Z and their approach to work.
With generational shifts come shifts in ideas, culture, and, in turn, our work environments. There will always be generational diversity in the workplace and it is important to understand and navigate these differences.
So, who is Gen Z? What do they believe? And, how are they the catalyst for a shift in corporate culture?
Who is Gen Z?
Gen Z is defined as the group of people born after 1997 up until 2012. This generation follows the millennials who are currently the dominant generation in the workforce (35%). However, they have had some foundational experiences that separate them from millennials.
While Millennials were thrown into a workplace diving into recession with no warning, Gen Z grew up during the recession, being able to observe it from afar. While it may have affected their lives, they were not yet in the workforce to experience its direct implications on their careers.
Therefore, Gen Z in the workplace seeks more financial stability, with salary being one of the main decision-making factors when choosing a job, as reported by Forbes. However, contradictorily, a large portion of Gen Z would pick a job that they find interesting over a job that pays more money.
Gen Z view life and work from a very different perspective than millennials, searching for greater meaning in their work and striving for transparent communication and relationship building.
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How is Gen Z Transforming Corporate Culture?
As Gen Z makes their mark on the world and on work life, we can see a shift in the overall corporate culture. One that reflects this new, incoming perspective.
First, Gen Z holds ethical concerns to the utmost importance. In other words, they choose where to work based on if the company's values match their own and if the company’s ethics align with their own morals. This mirrors a general shift in culture with Gen Z being more outspoken about social causes. As we can see through Gen Z’s consumer behavior, 51% of them would not purchase from a brand before ensuring it aligned with their own values.
Second, Gen Z in the workplace values diversity and inclusion in their workplace. They are an extremely diverse group, bringing diversity into the workforce, as many of them have experienced bias and inequality first-hand. Additionally, inequality runs rampant in our world and thanks to technology, is easily publicized, exposing this generation to the inequality that takes place. These personal experiences and observations have fueled a need for more robust diversity and inclusion practices. This includes gender identity and sexual orientation.
Third, Gen Z grew up post-digital revolution, which began around the 1980s but has advanced exponentially since then, now reaching levels of asynchronous communication. Most members of this generation grew up with smartphones in hand and technology at their fingertips. This makes Gen Z experts in technology, allowing businesses to expand their technological capacity.
This technological expertise proved even more important for Gen Z during the Covid-19 pandemic, as many members of this generation began jobs and completed their education remotely.
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How Your Business Can Evolve With Gen Z in the Workplace?
Making a cultural shift does not happen overnight, but small, intentional steps can be taken to help build a better workplace.
In order to cater to Gen Z’s commitment to the betterment of society and their concern with the ethics of the business, your company can implement a set of initiatives, such as sustainability and climate change. This does not mean you have to engage with every societal challenge under the sun, but rather find a cause that is consistent with your internal and external brand identity. Showing that your company is committed to bettering our world will not only entice talented Gen Z workers, but it will also improve company image and culture on the whole.
Next, focus more on developing diversity in your company! This can be done a number of ways, such as partnering with a variety of universities in different locations with different demographics. Or, to increase gender diversity, have female spokeswoman speak about their experience and play a larger role in the recruiting process.
However, this diversity must also be maintained internally and greater attention needs to be paid to diversity and inclusion practices, which can include bias training and team building workshops.
Additionally, as Gen Z is just entering the workforce, it is important for companies to develop robust training programs to ensure their success in the company and in their careers. This might include having workplace mentors, graduate schemes that allow for clear career progression, or apprenticeship programs.
Finally, companies should embrace technology! Whether your company is transitioning to a hybrid model or are working in the office, implementing technology can greatly increase efficiency, improve communication, and create a better company culture.
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Gen Z is the future of business and has the power to transform the way we work, but many businesses write them off because of their age and limited experience. What many companies don’t realize is that this generation is the future of their company and will determine their success for years to come. Gen Z in the workplace is the catalyst for this shift in corporate culture and it is time for businesses to evolve with it.