It is 2017 – an age where millennials are CEOs and summer jobs for Gen Z are passé. High on technology and low on experience, Gen Z wants to work hard and see instant results. For the uninitiated, Gen Z or the iGeneration represent the new kids on the block. A generation that was born after 1995 and are now your co-workers. The buzz around Gen Z is hard to ignore; most blogs and books introduce them as a cranky, impatient generation that will force organizations to change the way they handle employee engagement.
Is this consensus the only perspective out there? Should HR join the band wagon and implement this trend because everyone is talking about it? How about we look at it from a different frame of reference?
One of the most expected transformation is related to transparency and feedback. Gen Z wants an unambiguous system in place – open door policies need to be implemented and not exist only on paper.
“iGen thrives on constant and unhesitant feedback.”
Have a look at the Gen Z’s older siblings – Gen Y. Years before Gen Z even knew what transparency and flexibility at the work place was, Gen Y had already set the rules and got the ball rolling. Organizations today are simply acknowledging the need for adaptability and are doing something about it.
Higher expectation from the management
“We judge you based on your social media profile. “
Gen Z always has an opinion and is scouring for an opportunity to state it. So, as an organization, you need to be involved and connected both on the office floor and through your social media platforms.
Way back in 2009, a popular Emmy award-winning TV series showed top-level bosses going undercover to find out what really happens at the factory floor. Back then television was a much more popular medium than Orkut or FaceBook. The idea of having your boss working by your side and experiencing your day was exhilarating – this is the kind of involvement Gen Z craves.
The TECH Connect
Gen Z grew up surrounded by iPads and smart phones, it is hard for them to perceive a world with no connectivity. Researchers have made it crystal clear that to bond with this generation, your organization needs to relook its technological reach.
“Get more connected, go social and run everything online.”
Stop, pause, and think. Would you bring in new tech [HR/IT], and change your regulatory and security policies to welcome in this generation? Will indulging in iGen’s deep love for gadgets really pay off for your organization?
HR policies or an organization’s guidelines are not intended to divide people. Early on, when Gen Y started working, they too were branded, and for a while they did show characteristics that were attributed to millennials. A few years on, they adapted, and the reason?
Gen X was coaching, mentoring and training them.
Should employee engagement policies be guided by generational mindsets? Gen Alpha will soon be here and this will be the generation that wouldn’t even know what Orkut was. Will adaptability for the sake of it bode well? Every generation brings in a new perspective, and employee engagement will always keep HR on its toes. So, give your white board a long, hard stare before you start implementing new polices.
A world-famous theme park chain went a little over board with their engagement strategy, the campaign was successful and they achieved what they intended to. But if you step back and look at their target audience, also their strategy, you would wonder if they really needed to do it. Check out the next part of this blog to learn about the theme park in focus and our view on engagement strategies for Gen Z.