Young professionals are taking over today’s workforce. According to data from the Pew Research Center, Millennials make up more than one-third of American workers today. But Millennials are old news. Are you ready for the next generation of professionals? Post-millennials, sometimes called Generation Z, are already active in American companies, making up 9 percent of the U.S. workforce.
“Post-millennial professionals account for 9 percent of the U.S. workforce.”
It’s pivotal for workers of all generations to cooperatively strive toward business goals. From an HR perspective, understanding the differences between staff demographics, especially how they relate to the workforce’s newest entrants, will help limit workplace disputes and create a more enjoyable, productive environment.
Common Gen Z character traits
Working-age Gen Zers haven’t been in the professional world for very long, so there’s still uncertainty about what employers should expect from them as well as what they expect from the workplace. In a piece for the Human Capital Institute, workforce management consultant Amy Hirsh Robinson noted that much of what these individuals value in the job environment “[has] yet to crystallize.”
However, according to Robinson, Gen Z already appears to be more adaptable than members of other generations. Robinson speculates that this could be the result of growing up during the Great Recession and seeing parents struggle a bit to make ends meet. These hardships pushed Gen Z to take control of their finances and do more with less, two strengths that can translate to creativity and versatility on the job. Members of Gen Z also seem more likely to stay on task without constant oversight from management.
In addition, the sociopolitical environment in which Gen Z employees grew up, a time of intense economic and ideological polarization, may have made them more tolerant and inclusive. Gen Z tends to be more open to multiple perspectives and willing to speak their own minds as well.
Bringing younger workers on board
There may be a bit of a learning curve for younger millennial and post-millennial workers immediately after the onboarding process. Specifically, as software entrepreneur Mike Kappel wrote in a guest blog post for Forbes, they might take longer to train.
HR, managers and senior co-workers should be prepared for such a possibility. While this may involve additional resources, the business will have intelligent, capable young talent who will appreciate the extra investment in their professional development. Additionally, it’s worthwhile to incorporate internships and mentorship in your hiring processes. Internships can help your business identify the best young workers before hiring them, and a dedicated mentorship initiative provides close guidance as new hires get their bearings. Deploying such programs as a one-two punch can convince Gen Z candidates that your organization is committed to their needs. No business can truly thrive without creativity and cooperation, and Gen Zers may be more dedicated to these causes than the generations that came before them.
Although Millennials are still the driving force behind employment today, HR should prepare for the inevitable and begin considering how to incorporate Gen Z priorities into their operations.