What Impact Will Generation Z Have on the Workplace?

From recruiting to benefits to processes, the forthcoming wave of gen Z-ers will create some new wrinkles for the workplace. Here are a few thoughts on the forthcoming generation to check out.

To hear it from one recent survey, a lot of managers in the HR department and beyond are concerned about what generation Z—aka people born since 1994—will bring to the workplace.

According to the survey, released by the employee communications firm APPrise Mobile, up to a third of managers worry that employees in gen Z will be a handful.

On top of that, around 26 percent say they foresee communication problems with the younger generation, while 29 percent worry about issues with training, and 16 percent worry about cultural effects.

(Technical skills are likely to be a plus side, though—something 44 percent of respondents noted.)

Certainly, a new generation of workers has the potential to change a lot about your workplace. But is it all bad? A few insights from the world of HR worth keeping an eye on:

Benefits will shift. Here’s how. You may have heard about the increase in interest in certain esoteric benefits such as pet insurance and student loan repayment programs, and there’s a case to be made that gen Z is driving the growth in these programs. A recent article from Employee Benefit News [registration] suggests that those benefits and others will become more common as younger employees, who are less interested in traditional benefits like health insurance, start to fill seats in the office. Additionally, the report notes that this group is likely to be the first generation native to social media and will expect HR departments to offer more tools clearly inspired by social media, such as video services and real-time feedback programs.

Think of them as a generation of entrepreneurs. Since gen Z-ers grew up during an era in which a lot of the technology they use was created by startups, there may be a stronger focus on workflow among the younger generation as it enters the workforce. In a Society for Human Resource Management article with his father, David Stillman, gen Z-er Jonah Stillman argued that streamlining will be a common theme among younger employees. “We will constantly look for ways to streamline processes and procedures. One thing we hear from a lot of gen Z-ers is that we think the other generations overcomplicate things,” he said in the article. “We have grown up in a time where often the middleman has been eliminated, so we will look for ways to do things more efficiently when we show up at the office.”

Expect changes in recruiting. In comments to Human Resource Executive, Randstad North America’s Jim Stroud, who leads that company’s sourcing and recruiting strategy, says that while he sees old-school recruiting strategies making a comeback, generation Z may prove somewhat resistant to these strategies, as millennials have. “Getting passive candidates to talk to you requires a bit of salesmanship, which is something many baby boomers take for granted but does not appear to come naturally to millennials and members of generation Z,” he told the magazine.

(nadia_bormotova/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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