David and Jonah Stillman are the co-authors of a new book, Gen Z @ Work: How the Next Generation Is Transforming the Workplace. The publisher is HarperBusiness, and the book will be available on March 21.
How Will Gen Z Transform the Workplace?
According to the Stillmans, 2017, is the first year that Generation Z will enter the workforce. Born between 1995 and 2012, Gen Z is 72.8 million strong and ready to make their mark—in surprisingly distinctive ways from their Millennial counterparts. Generations expert David Stillman has teamed up with his 17-year-old son Jonah to introduce this next influential demographic in an essential new book that today’s leaders will need in order to properly recruit, retain, motivate, and manage the next generation.
Based on the first national studies of Gen Z’s workplace attitudes; interviews with hundreds of CEOs; cutting-edge case studies; and insights from Gen Zers themselves, GEN Z @ WORK offers the first comprehensive look at what the next generation of workers looks like, and what that means for the rest of us. According to original research from the father/son, Gen Xer/Gen Zer coauthor duo:
- 82 percent of Gen Z prefers face-to-face communication
- 50 percent of Gen Z would prefer their own office at a job instead of an open office concept
- 92.7 percent of Gen Z believe that technology is causing gaps with other generations
- 77 percent of Gen Z believe that a company’s level of diversity affects their decision to work there
- 61 percent of Gen Z consider constantly getting new experiences more important than climbing the corporate ladder
And compare Gen Zers with Millennials to see just a few of their many differences:
|Harry Potter||Hunger Games|
|Share stuff||Make stuff|
|Era of collaboration||Era of polarization|
|First gadget: iPod||First gadget: iPhone|
|Digital Pioneers||Digital Natives|
GEN Z @ WORK
GEN Z @ WORK maps out seven key traits that explain how dramatically Gen Z will reshape the workforce. From being the first generation to grow up during the recession yet also with the digital economy at their fingertips, to redefining what an office place should look like and offer employees, the Stillmans argue that this is going to be one of the most driven, fast-paced, and competitive workforces, determined and well equipped to create careers on their own terms.
The father/son’s dual perspective on each topic clearly illustrates Gen Z’s unique approach to work in contrast with previous generations. Here they both are describing the competitive nature of Gen Z:
The reality is that at work you don’t get three strikes, not everyone gets a turn at bat, we care a lot about the competition, and we definitely keep score. Boomers and Xers have struggled to create a sense of urgency with the Millennials who weren’t as motivated to win. Many are so quick to roll their eyes at Millennials for getting ninth-place trophies. Let’s remember, they weren’t the ones giving them out and don’t know a different world.”
Now, with competitive Gen Z showing up, collaborative Millennials will have to think twice. Giving a Gen Zer a “participation award” will definitely fall flat. After all, our parents were the first ones to throw them away. Our Gen X parents have taught us the art of winning. How to break down your goals and what it takes to reach for them.”
GEN Z @ WORK is also filled with current concrete examples of how Gen Z is already reshaping the workforce, including:
Gen Z doesn’t believe in paper resumes. JobSnap is an app that presents job opportunities to Gen Zers who then swipe left/right depending on if they are interested. If they are, they record a quick video and upload it. Their video is their resume. Companies using it include McDonalds, Panera Bread, Del Taco, Sears, Forever 21, American Girl.
The company that brought us WordPress is the perfect fit for Gen Z who embraces working remotely more than ever. As Gen Z sees it, they can work wherever their laptop and webcam can go. Automattic is ahead of the curve and employs more than 430 people but does not have one office.
Gen Z communicates in symbols where the rest of us communicate in words. The Oxford Dictionary showed how much they understand the impact of Gen Z by selecting as their word of the year the “tears of joy” emoji.
Gen Z expects everything to be customized. Nxtbook Media allows employees to come up with their own job titles. With job titles ranging from Experience Ninja to the Duke of Solutions, Gen Z now feel all the more proud and connected to their jobs.
With Gen Z thinking in sound bites and only having an 8-second attention span, Panera decided to break up their entire training process into very small chunks. In addition, because Gen Z is so focused on experiential learning, they had to also weave in the opportunity to practice what they learn throughout rather than wait until the training was all over.
Gen Z needs to see more real world relevance between what they are learning and how it applies to their future. Rather than Gen Z students learning IB Business or AP Economics in a classroom, VANTAGE puts Gen Z students on real world projects for companies like General Mills or 3M. These projects have the same academic rigor as a traditional class, and have proven to be more engaging.
Gen Z is questioning the value of Higher Education. Before they spend the money on college, they want to know how what they will learn will apply to their careers. Maryville University saw a decline in Gen Z students. As a result, the university developed a new curriculum with a local businesses that is more experiential and more applicable to what students needed to know in business. Ninety-four percent of graduates now have a job in their chosen field within three months of graduation and the school experienced a 75 percent increase in enrollment in the last five years since adopting this new approach of partnering with businesses.
With examples like these as well as hard data and practical advice, GEN Z @ WORK will give leaders at any size company the knowledge, tools, and excitement to successfully attract, welcome and retain this new generation.