Meet Gen Z

Meet Gen Z
  • Opening Intro -

    If you still consider Millennials to be the new kids in town, you need to update your thinking.

    Millennials are on the verge of turning forty, and the next generation is about to get their first or even second job.

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So what does Gen Z value? What are they good at and how should they be understood?

Change is Expected

Gen Z has a different baseline from previous generations. Financial shock, technological revolution, radical political and social change were the only constants in Gen Z’s childhood and early adolescence.

Upheaval is what they know best, which left them more stressed and depressed than previous generations, but it also made them adaptable. Combined with the knowledge (and sometimes the misinformation) of the world at their fingertips, Gen Z may change their opinion on a dime, become an expert on the topic overnight, and start a political revolution the next day.

This is very tied to their relationship with technology.

Tech Savvy

Your average member of Gen Z doesn’t remember a time before widespread internet access, ubiquitous cell phones — and constant internet surveillance. As a result, they aren’t just tech-savvy, they’re tech natives.

Picking up a new computer program is nothing to them, and they’re heavily invested in the next big thing.

That’s good news for all the tech giants and top solar companies in the US; not only do they have a whole bunch of new potential employees hitting the job market, they’re also looking at the next generation of customers and investors coming into their own.

Fiscal Pragmatist

Unlike Millennials who feel unfulfilled if they don’t love their job, Gen Z works to live, and they want to live well. They also have different priorities in the workplace.

They may value privacy and independence at work more than their predecessors. If you aren’t letting them work from home in their state-of-the-art home office, you may want to dust off that old cubicle set up to help Gen Z employees feel more comfortable.

People Person Redefined

Technology has shaped everything in their lives from the way they learn to the way they socialize. Gen Z is just as social as any generation to come before, perhaps even more so, but they socialize a little differently.

They like face-to-face communication more than their predecessors, the Millennials, but their friends are even more widely scattered. It’s common for a young Gen Z to have friends in multiple states or even countries.

They may never have met these friends physically, but they may know their faces well, and those faces may look very different from the faces in their hometowns.

When socializing, they may not make eye contact as much as the older generations, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t social butterflies; they’ve just redefined what that means and what it looks like.

Difference is Normal

Speaking of looks: Millennials were known for their tolerance of difference, but Gen Z has taken that one step further. Since it’s not uncommon to have friends on other continents from a very early age, their definition of what ‘normal’ means or looks like is probably broader than any generation before.

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In the US, about half of them are non-white. Differences in race, sexuality, gender, style, and taste aren’t just tolerated or accepted; those differences have become the norm.

So don’t expect your Gen Z employee to understand your surprise if they show up to work with a new tattoo, a new hair color, or new pronouns. They’ve learned to adapt, and so can you.

Don’t underestimate Gen Z just because they walk around with their heads down and their headphones in. They know how to socialize; their network is probably bigger and broader than you know.

They know technology better than any generation before and their adaptability is off the charts. They may be young now, but they’re a powerful force of up-and-comers who are bound to make big changes as they move into adulthood.

Image Credit: meet gen z by twenty20.com

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