Fighting stereotypes about Generation-Z in today’s workplace.
Updated: Mar 26
Greetings from Montreux, Switzerland dear readers. I am writing this piece of article mostly to express my feelings about how I see myself, as a member of Generation-Z, in the workplace of both our actual time period and in the near future.
As we all know, there are a lot of stereotypes about Generation-Z. We are perceived to be lazy, cannot forge meaningful relationships (no social skills), ‘always on our phones/ social media’ and not proactive enough. I really hope all the critics take into account the fact that we were not born in the ‘same’ kind of world in terms of technological advances and geopolitical situations, as well as average standard of living.
Generation-Z in the workplace.
Right now, is the time where the oldest generation-Z’s are entering the labour market at entry level positions, thus I wanted to share my opinions, which I guess are similar in some ways to others in generation-Z, about my ideal work life/ expectations. I am pretty sure my parents would be hesitant of such a way of building a career, but for me it makes sense.
A note to all employers. I understand the point about loyalty. Companies want to reduce the labour turnover rate, since in a way, it is more expensive to recruit new people each time. It is not because it is difficult to forge interpersonal relationships that we decide to change jobs. It is mostly because most youngsters nowadays want to discover the world.
Owing to the fact that I have been born during an era of greater and greater globalization, I actually get to see how other parts of the world are. I want to be able to be a part of that as well. I want to learn, not only new skills, but as well as, about other cultures, other food, basically, every ’other’ thing. For instance, I am from Mauritius, a tiny island off the east coast of Madagascar, 90% of students at high school level want to go out in the world and acquire new experiences.
One way of doing so, is by working in different cities or countries. In order to be able to follow such a career, the most important aspect would be geographical mobility while at the same time working. While doing so, this means I will not want to work in a small office space for 15-20 years, as have done previous generations. For instance, my own parents have been working in the same company for more than 15 years, and right now, I do not see myself doing the same. For instance, from my first internship experience I found out I liked to not only visit places as a tourist, but also, work in new cities or countries to really experience their lifestyle/ culture.
Points linking to other blog posts.
Personally, I thought I always wanted to do only accounting in my life, but while my time here and after my first internship, now my goal is to work on an average of two years in one location and then relocating to a different city or country and even if possible, in a different sector/ industry, as indicated in detail in the blog post of my colleague, Mr. Yue Hongyu (Edward) I believe this is the best way to continue acquiring new skills, while at the same time learning about other cultures as well as lifestyles and maybe even a new language or basics of a new language. For me this is the best way to experience personal growth and even reach the last stage of needs as explained by Maslow’s theory about the pyramid of needs, which is the self-actualization stage. If you want to read more about this specific part, you can find it in one of the blog posts of my colleague, Mr Francesco Liam Gullo.
Why employers find us lazy?
One feature of generation-Z is that we have a short attention span. In a way, we get bored quite easily with a monotonous job, how much ever passionate we can be about it. After a few years, I would want to diversify my skills and most probably want to work in a completely different industry. This inevitably leads to willingness to change jobs. This could be perceived the wrong way by certain employers, because they just think, we are lazy.
What could be done to change this perception?
On the other hand, multinational companies could even benefit from such a behaviour on the part of the upcoming generation, by moving such employees around on a yearly or two-year basis, thus keeping generation-z employees motivated.
If every employer having the resources to do so, actually try to start doing so with employees willing to move around frequently (every 2-3 years), maybe the perception about us being lazy, ‘always on social media’, not being able to forge healthy relationships, would finally change for the better.
How to mould us to become better?
Not only at the job level, but also at the educational level, if state schools took the initiative to fund international excursions with appropriate measures in place, companies would be more willing to do so. We would not only be culturally knowledgeable, but also, we would develop a very open mind since we are little gullible kids and become way better versions of ourselves as adults/ professional outstanding citizens.
Generation-Z in the workplace also expects to be fairly treated and not be labelled by stereotypes, such as, always being on the phone or being lazy. If we are not feeling trusted or empowered, we will never perform as well as we could. I have personally experienced it during my last internship. As soon as my manager started trusting me with tasks and let me do them on my own, by just overseeing the work I was doing, I automatically started performing better and felt more motivated to work the extra mile. In short, Generation-Z in the workplace wants to be EMPOWERED!
In this way, we are more willing to take initiative and eliminate the stereotypes about Generation-Z not being proactive enough. At the same time, we are very eager to learn. We want to please our superiors, but also please ourselves. If we do not feel happy ourselves, we will never be able to perform to our potential or even beyond that. We have the ‘I do not care about what others think about us’, but ironically we showcase only our best selves on social media. Of course, here I am talking about myself and not generalizing, but I feel that the greater part of generation-Z would feel the same.
I hope I have been able to highlight the measures that could be taken to avoid making negative stereotypes about Generation-Z in the workplace. I am NOT lazy. I HAVE social skills. I AM NOT always on social media. I AM proactive. If you found this article insightful, please like and do leave a comment if you do not agree with me or send and email to our lovely digital marketing lecturer, Ms C. Jollain.
Author: Mr Ravish Gopee, Hospitality Bachelor Student at Hotel Institute Montreux (HIM), from Mauritius.