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UNDERSTANDING THE GENERATION Z: THE FUTURE WORKFORCE

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Abstract

Generation Z is born and raised with the social web, they are digital centric and technology is their identity. This generation will be entering in the companies in the coming years but little is known of this generation about their characteristics, needs, attributes and work style. They seem to have different attitudes towards work then the previous generations. Without proper understanding of this generation, organizations will find difficulties to hire and retain them for the sustainable growth of the organizations. By understanding them, the companies can determine what can impact their recruitment and retention success through paying attention to what this generation tick in the workplace. This paper examines the characteristics and preferences of the Generation Z from the existing literature so that organizations can foresee and build work place suitable for them which in turn will impact the organizational performances.
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UNDERSTANDING THE GENERATION Z: THE FUTURE WORKFORCE
1Dr. A.P. Singh
2Jianguanglung Dangmei
1Associate Professor and Head
Department of Business Management, Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Amarkantak (M.P)
E-mail: drapsinghigntu@gmail.com.
2Research Scholar
Department of Business Management, Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Amarkantak (M.P)
E-mail: joeldangmei@gmail.com.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
Abstract
Generation Z is born and raised with the social web, they are digital centric and technology is
their identity. This generation will be entering in the companies in the coming years but little is
known of this generation about their characteristics, needs, attributes and work style. They seem
to have different attitudes towards work then the previous generations. Without proper
understanding of this generation, organizations will find difficulties to hire and retain them for
the sustainable growth of the organizations. By understanding them, the companies can
determine what can impact their recruitment and retention success through paying attention to
what this generation tick in the workplace. This paper examines the characteristics and
preferences of the Generation Z from the existing literature so that organizations can foresee
and build work place suitable for them which in turn will impact the organizational
performances.
Keywords: Generation Z, Characteristics, Preferences, Workplace.
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Introduction
While employers are finding hard to identify and realize the needs of the Generation X and Y in
the 21st century, now they have completely new generation i.e., the Generation Z to work on
with. The challenges of the organizations are not only to serve the Generations X and Y, but also
to foresee the workplace needs of the rising Generation Z so that groups comprising of different
generations can work effectively (Knoll, 2014). Researchers have demonstrated that each
generation has different attitudes towards work and workplace (CIPD, 2008; Harber J., 2011).
But little is known of this Generation Z about their characteristics, needs, attributes and work
style. Therefore employers and HR managers should anticipate workplace needs and change
their strategy for recruiting, motivating and retaining these emerging young workers who will be
arriving very soon. It is crucial to understand them to keep talent from the newest generation and
realize their benefits to sustain the growth of the company. By understanding the characteristics
and the preferences of the Generation Z, recruiters will be able to attract and connect them in
order to groom them to become the future leaders of the company. Without this proper
understanding, companies will find difficulties in recruiting and retaining the best talented
candidates of the Generation Z and will also fail to motivate and inspire them which in turn will
impact the organizational performances.
1. Generation Z
Generations born in the 1990’s and raised in the 2000s during the most profound changes in the
century who exists in a world with web, internet, smart phones, laptops, freely available
networks and digital media are considered as the Generation Z (Bascha, 2011; Brue Tulgan &
Rain maker Inc., 2013). Generations Z is raised with the social web, they are digital centric and
technology is their identity. They are also referred as Generation I, Gen Tech, Digital natives,
Gen Wii etc. They are born and raised in the digital world and what distinguishes them from
other generation is that their existence is more connected to electronics and digital world.
2. Characteristics of Generation Z
According to the Institute for Emerging Issues (2012), the Generation Z is the most ethnically
diverse and technologically sophisticated generation. Generation Z has a informal, individual and
straight way of communicating, and social networking is a vital part of their lives. They are a
Do-It-Yourself generation. In the study conducted by Dan Schawbel (2014), Generation Z tend
to be more entrepreneurial, trustworthy, tolerant and less motivated by money than Gen Y. They
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are more realistic about their work expectation and optimistic about the future. Based on the
findings of Generational White Paper (2011), Generation Z tends to be impatient, instant-
minded, lacking the ambitions of previous generations, have acquired attention deficit disorder
with a high dependency on the technology and a low attention span, individualistic, self-directed,
most demanding, acquisitive, materialistic and entitled generation so far. Max Mihelich. (2013)
describes that the Generation Z are very concerned with environmental issues, very conscious of
looming shortages and water shortages which indicates that they have a high sense of
responsibility towards the natural resources. Amanda Slavin (2015) finds the Generation Z wants
to be heard irrespective of their young age. Technology is a part of their identity and they are
tech savvy but lack problem-solving skills and have not demonstrated the ability to look at a
situation, put in context, analyze it and make a decision (Joseph Coombs, 2013). They also
appear to be less inclined toward voting and to participating in their communities than earlier
generations (Institute for emerging issues, 2015).
3. Preferences of Generation Z at the Workplace:
As preferences of work and workplace are different for different generations, it is crucial to
understand the preferences of the Generation Z so that proper channel of communication is
established and good environment is created in the organization. It is also important to
understand what motivates them for the organizational productivity. The preferences of
generation Z based on the available literatures are as follows:
(a) Based on the study of Bascha (2011), they prefer transparency, self-reliance, flexibility
and personal freedom are non-negotiable aspects of Generation Z work ethics and
ignoring them could result to frustration among peers, reduced productivity, low morale
and a lack of employee engagement. They expect to be informed, to be allowed to be
responded, and to have their responses heard and acknowledged.
(b) Max Mihelich (2013) stated that they must have enough independence to prove themselves
and earn immediate recognition. Also as this generation has never lived in a world without a
smart phone or an iPad, they expect not to lose all these gadgets when going to the office.
(c) According to the study of Dan Schawbel (2014), they prefer in-person or face to face
communication and want to take them seriously. They desire the managers to listen to
their ideas and value their opinions. It indicates that the workplace should be less about
age and more about ideas and contributions. Also they want to work for an honest leader
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and want them to be open and do not hide information from them because of their young
age or title
(d) According to Teresa Bridges (2015), they prefer work environment that cultivate
mentoring, learning and professional development opportunities as they believe their
education has not given the required skills to deal with the real life problems. Work place
that encourages their entrepreneurial skills, work environment which is friendly and
allowance for flexible schedules are the attributes that the Generation Z looks for a job.
Technology is their integral part of their lives and prefers organizations that are at the
forefront of workplace that supports and allow them to communicate, edit documents and
advance work regardless of geographies or time zone barriers.
(e) They prefer office workplace that is easy to adjust within. They value arrangement and
certainty in the workplace and find complex planning layout undesirable (Knoll, 2014).
(f) They prefer to work for a leader with honesty and integrity (Robert Half, 2015).
(g) They prefer to work for an organization that demonstrate genuine ties with community
and social responsibility (Nicola Middlemiss, 2015)
4. Conclusion:
Generations Z seems to have different requirements and motivating factors then the earlier
generations. This generation will stir its own unique needs upon the workplace as they enter the
organizations. It is important for the organization to discover what’s important to the Generation
Z beforehand to boost attractiveness within and outside the industry in order to establish a
corporate culture and workplace to gain a distinctive advantage in the hunt for top talent
employees from the Generation Z which in turn will sustain the organizational growth and
remain a winning organization throughout.
References:
[1] Amanda Slavin. (2015). Marketers: Forget about Millennials. Gen Z Has Arrived.
Retrieved from http://women2.com/2015/08/07/engage-gen-z-users/?hvid=5LyrgK
[2] Bascha.(2011). Z: The open source generation.
Retrieved from http://opensource.com/business/11/9/z-open-source-generation
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[3] Brue Tulgan & Rain Maker Thinkign Inc. (2013). Meet Generation Z: The second generation
within the giant "Millennial" cohort Rerieved from
http://rainmakerthinking.com/assets/uploads/2013/10/Gen-Z Whitepaper.pdf.
[4] CIPD. (2008). Gen Up: How the four generations work.
Retrieved from http://www.cipd.co.uk/binaries/gen-up-how-four-generations-work.pdf.
[5] Dan Schawbel. (2014). Gen Z Employees: The 5 Attributes You Need to Know.
Retrieved from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/236560
[6] Generational White Paper. (2011). Generation Z and the Career Strategist
Retrieved from http://www.workcomms.com/graduates/whitepapers/Generation-Z/
[7] Harber J. (2011).Generations in the Workplace: Similarities and Differences.
Institute for emerging issues. (2015). Investing in Gen Z.
Retrieved from http://iei.ncsu.edu/emerging-issues/ongoing-programs/generation-z/
[8] Joseph Coombs.(2013).Generation Z: Why HR Must Be Prepared for Its Arrival
Retrieved from http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/staffingmanagement/articles/pages/prepare-
for generation-z.aspx
[9] Knoll. (2014). What comes after Y? Generation Z: Arriving to the office soon.
Retrieved from https://www.knoll.com/media/340/742/Infographic_Generation_Z_3pgs.pdf.
[10] Nicola Middlemiss. (2015). Why Gen Z will change the way you lead
Robert Half. (2015). Get ready for generation.
Retrieved from http://www.roberthalf.com/workplace-research/get-ready-for-generation-z.
[11] Teresa Bridge. (2015). 5 Ways The workplace Needs To Change to Get The Most out Of
Generation Z. Retrieved from http://www.fastcoexist.com/3049848/5-ways-the-workplace-
needs-to-change-to-get-the-most-out-of-generation-z
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Generation Z: Why HR Must Be Prepared for Its Arrival
  • Joseph Coombs
Joseph Coombs.(2013).Generation Z: Why HR Must Be Prepared for Its Arrival Retrieved from http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/staffingmanagement/articles/pages/preparefor generation-z.aspx
What comes after Y? Generation Z: Arriving to the office soon
  • Knoll
Knoll. (2014). What comes after Y? Generation Z: Arriving to the office soon. Retrieved from https://www.knoll.com/media/340/742/Infographic_Generation_Z_3pgs.pdf.
Why Gen Z will change the way you lead Robert Half
  • Nicola Middlemiss
Nicola Middlemiss. (2015). Why Gen Z will change the way you lead Robert Half. (2015). Get ready for generation.
Generation Z and the Career Strategist
  • Generational White Paper
Generational White Paper. (2011). Generation Z and the Career Strategist Retrieved from http://www.workcomms.com/graduates/whitepapers/Generation-Z/
Gen Z Employees: The 5 Attributes You Need to Know
  • Dan Schawbel
Dan Schawbel. (2014). Gen Z Employees: The 5 Attributes You Need to Know. Retrieved from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/236560
5 Ways The workplace Needs To Change to Get The Most out Of Generation
  • Teresa Bridge
Teresa Bridge. (2015). 5 Ways The workplace Needs To Change to Get The Most out Of Generation Z. Retrieved from http://www.fastcoexist.com/3049848/5-ways-the-workplaceneeds-to-change-to-get-the-most-out-of-generation-z
Marketers: Forget about Millennials
  • Amanda Slavin
Amanda Slavin. (2015). Marketers: Forget about Millennials. Gen Z Has Arrived. Retrieved from http://women2.com/2015/08/07/engage-gen-z-users/?hvid=5LyrgK
Z: The open source generation
  • Bascha
Bascha.(2011). Z: The open source generation. Retrieved from http://opensource.com/business/11/9/z-open-source-generation Copyright © Universal Multidisciplinary Research Institute Pvt Ltd 5
Generations in the Workplace: Similarities and Differences. Institute for emerging issues
  • J Harber
Harber J. (2011).Generations in the Workplace: Similarities and Differences. Institute for emerging issues. (2015). Investing in Gen Z.
Get ready for generation
  • Robert Half
Robert Half. (2015). Get ready for generation. Retrieved from http://www.roberthalf.com/workplace-research/get-ready-for-generation-z.