Why is the understanding and focus on GenZ a necessity for Corporations nowadays?
Updated: Mar 26, 2021
GenZ is on the means of becoming the most populous generation comprising approximately 32% of the population. This rapid exponential growth has acted as a warning concerning the corporate world, leading to changes in the procedures used by companies to attract individuals. With that said, two questions were raised. What competitive advantages could corporations obtain, if emphasis is placed on the understanding of the “upcoming workforce”? And what differs between millennials and genZ in regards to workplace preferences? Being part of genZ myself, and having work experience with both generations in different corporations/institutions enables me to more intuitively identify the competitive advantages that this focus-switch may provide to Corporations, and also facilitating the recognition of disparities amongst both generations regarding workplace preferences.
To begin with, the major differences in perspectives, interests and ambitions between both generations mentioned previously have been generated by particular global Episodes. Tragedies such as the 9/11 and multiple economic recessions have played an important role in the change of mindset and preferences. Another gigantic influencer of change was unquestionably the Dot-com Bubble, in other words the creation of the internet. No wonder genZ is also known as the “iGeneration” the first digital natives.
The effects of these global incidents on the “upcoming workforce” are acutely obvious. We have never seen a generation more preoccupied and cautious when handling money and wary debt, as a result of witnessing first hand family members struggling financially and losing their jobs during the economic recessions. We have never seen a generation so dependent on technological devices and digital platforms, estimating that we log around 10 hours a day online according to global news survey. Naturally, corporations are obligated to adapt in order to survive. Concerning these adaptations, there are specific factors corporations should be focusing on. First and foremost, the importance of corporate social responsibility programs. GenZ is interested in community-oriented corporations, favoring ones with corporate social responsibility programs that align with their principles and morals. In other words, we are more interested in working for companies that prioritize in giving back to communities and that operate in an ethical way. This is highly noticeable when analyzing the increase in the payroll budget of Big tobacco and Oil corporations. Indicating that genZ only considers working for such companies if salaries are high and benefits exceptional. Another factor to consider when applying focus on the new “upcoming workforce” lies on the provision of career growth opportunities. A focus in starting careers with long-term goals is becoming more common, acknowledging that 27% of genZ have reported planning to spend one year or less within a company in their first job. Evidence of such actions are clearly spotted in the hospitality industry, having an increase in classmates conducting thorough research into corporate values of brands hoping to discover a company that best fits their character in order to increase chances of career growth opportunities. The absence of job development opportunities like mentoring, job shadowing and professional enrichment may lead to failure considering attraction and retention of the “upcoming workforce”. Experiencing this first hand during my first internship at a very well reputed hotel in Amsterdam, allows me to understand its importance in a more detailed way. The unprofessionalism and disorganisation of their training processes not only made me loose interest in undertaking future positions within the company, but also contributing to a decrease in levels of intrinsic motivation.
Moving on, workplace preferences have suffered several modifications. Regarding flexibility in terms of workspace preference, it is clear that genZ is twice more flexible then millenials. For starters, millenials are still very sympathetic with traditional corporate office environments, still requiring a large amount of in-person work in order to operate in a satisfactory manner. GenZ on the other hand, is much less concerned with the workspace environment. However, despite us having no preferred workspace there has been a 27% increase in home jobs in the past 2 years. Meaning, we are simply fed up with the traditional standard business hours, they are not accurate when evaluating an employee’s productivity rate. From a university student point of view, I am aware of which periods of the day I am the most productive. For me, I am the most productive from 6pm to 12pm, meaning that if I was operating under standard business hours I would be realistically useless. The growth in wanting to work at home will have a huge impact in the corporate world, due to the development of a detached workforce. About company’s size, genZ is more sensitive and particular than millenials. We don’t want to work for big corporations, we don’t want to be a number, we want to be recognized and appreciated. We understand the price of a small corporation, we value small environments where everyone knows each other and where everyone’s voice impacts general decision-making. Now, in relations to entrepreneurship aptitudes, genZ is far more enthusiastic. Growing up in an era ruled by entrepreneurs, seeing them achieve remarkable technological inventions has without a doubt up-lifted this risk-taking mentality, amplifying innovation and creativity amongst us, genZ.
To conclude, corporation’s must try to understand us, not only to differentiate themselves from the competitors but also to improve standards of living through the identification of generation differences. No preoccupation in regards to generation differences is a waste of potential talent and qualified people. We have never seen such a resourceful generation, we have never seen such a flexible workforce. My advice, adapt before you get sacked! Hopefully, after reading this article you have a better understanding on why corporations should be paying attention to genZ and if you agree with my viewpoints, please like and don’t hesitate to share. Don’t be shy to comment below your own opinions concerning genZ!
Author: Mr. João Francês Hospitality Bachelor Student at Hotel Institute Montreux (Portugal).