Gen Z in the workplace: We can change the rules of the game!
Updated: Mar 26
Hello Gen Z and other generations!
You might be wondering which game am I talking about and why would we change the rules of a game which are already set? Well first let's talk about this generation that claims to be different than the others and has developed at the same time as smartphones: Gen Z.
We have finally finished school, now we are studying and are about to start our professional life. Yes, we are ready to conquer the world and we will do it our own way, after all every generation is unique.
In my case, I am part of Gen Z and I can say that I am surrounded 24/7 by people of this generation. I hear their opinions, their comments and believes everyday. I dare to say that I also know other generations very well, as most of my life I have been surrounded by baby boomers and especially millennials.
I am currently studying in Hotel Institute Montreux and part of our program is to take a 6 months’ internship after your first and second year of studies. This is one of the reason why I love this school, it combines both the theory and practice and it gives us the opportunity to actually experience the hospitality industry. So in my internship I had the chance to know how the workplace is and one thing that I realized and I am still sure about, based on my own and others’ experiences, is that the workplace is not prepare for Gen Z.
Since I was a kid I always heard that a job is more like a routine and that there are so many people in the world that hate what they are doing for a living but they do it anyway because they earn good money. Now for Gen Z this is quite the opposite. I remembered I read here in Z.lab that: “Gen Z wants to make their hobby their work” and I completely agree! (By the way, I encourage you to read that blog “Gen Z versus future recruiters”) Gen Z is more about passion than labels, we don't really look for the highest salary but we look for the best work environment. We don’t look for hierarchy; we want holacracy. We don’t look for bosses, we look for the nicest colleagues and leaders in order to become one.
We like to be heard and taken into consideration. New people especially from new generations means more creative and innovative ideas. If recruiters really wonder how to reach us, what a better source than a Gen Z itself. Ask us about our opinion, in the workplace, put us in contact with the Human Resources department. I am sure if we have some ideas or feedback for the company we are working at, they would like to hear it. At school, one of my teachers is always asking us (the students) our opinions about what we expect from the course and different activities. One of the best things is that she always listens carefully and applies what we have told her in class. It is incredible how she, despite being from another generation, can adapt herself so fast to our needs and wants. For instance, her class is entertaining because she perfectly knows how to catch our attention and she knows the learning method we like the most. Her course even has an Instagram page! I could say I barely see someone sleeping in her class, which is a good sign J I think she, like also some of the recruiters out there, has realized that we are the future (quite literally) and that our learning method are different than other generations.
We love responsibility and empowerment. Gen Z are ambitious and we are willing to face challenges everyday. I think this is part of living life at its fullest, which is one of Gen Z most important values.
During my internship before making any decision on my own, I always had to double check with my manager and yes that bother me a lot at the beginning. Then I explained my supervisors that I wanted empowerment. I was ready to take action, solve any problem and even exceed customer’s expectation. In fact, the times I did take decisions without anybody supervising I did get compliments and even got mentioned in Trip Advisor more than once.
More than people shouting at us and telling us what to do, we prefer people that lead by example and let us learn the way we believe is the most effective for us
One of my friends in Hotel Institute Montreux is currently working at a business school and every time she talks to me about her boss she refers to him more as a friend than a colleague or just somebody with a position higher than her. This has made her love her internship and even consider returning there after she graduates. She never felt as part of a hierarchy.
Being realistic, Hierarchy will always be present in the workplace and a perfect example is the hospitality industry. I experienced it myself. As a trainee my supervisor would sometimes take some seconds of his life to remind me that I was just a trainee and didn’t have the same importance and position as a normal employee. Funny enough he was a former student of a hospitality school in Switzerland. Wasn’t he a trainee once? Maybe you think that right now I am contradicting myself by saying that we can find hierarchy in the hospitality industry more than anywhere else and I continued my studies in this industry, right? That is exactly the reason why I am still here, because I strongly believe that we can change the way things are set. That is also one of Gen Z characteristics, we fight for what we are passionate about. In the future Gen Z will be the predominant generation at work, so we will be able to shape the hospitality and any other industry as we develop. Why not applying holacracy? Instead of having a position label, let's work on a mutual goal all together and focus on responsibilities and flexibility.
So, dear Gen Z let’s take action and change the rules of the game. We are entrepreneurs by nature and Gen Z as future leaders, managers, employees can turn this industry into a Holacracy. Let’s make an effort in shifting other generations mid set towards greater responsibility and autonomy. The workplace is waiting for us so let’s turn our expectations into a reality. If you share the same ideas with me or just want to let me know your opinion, leave a comment, I would be more than exited to read it :)
Author: Daniela Callo, Hospitality Bachelor student at Hotel Institute Montreux (from Peru)