Workplace expert predicts Gen Z takes center stage in 2019

Stacey Engle

Fierce Conversations, a training company that teaches how to have effective conversations, recently released its 2019 workforce predictions, and it was no surprise that there was a lot about Generation Z.

Stacey Engle

There is no doubt that the makeup of organizations is rapidly shifting as baby boomers retire while millennials and Gen Z take over the majority of new jobs. With this fountain of youth comes a fearless, public and often tactless communication style, which is impacting the workplace in real ways.

“At Fierce, we help companies and individuals talk about what they truly need to talk about — tackling their toughest challenges and building relationships in the process,” said Stacey Engle, president of Fierce Conversations. “This year’s predictions highlight a growing awareness of the need to address problems head on – which a new generation of workers has thrust into the spotlight.”

Fierce through Engle predicts Generation Z will no longer be ignored. An estimated 61 million Gen Zs will apply for jobs in the U.S. next year, many entering the workforce for the first time. Organizations will be forced to adjust to this new reality in 2019, and in order to be successful, will need to find innovative ways to invest more heavily in their training from the get-go.

Fierce believes 2019 will be an area of growth in this regard, as organizations figure out the best way to engage with this new generation. A part of this will no doubt be providing the right resources to this tech-savvy generation to help them succeed both in the short and long term.

Gen Z grew up during the 2008 recession, with smartphones a way of life, and an on-demand economy that provided what they wanted, when they wanted it. They value different things, and it’s important for employees to understand these disparities.

Here’s what Engle had to say about how a business can attract Gen Z workers:

Be Authentic — Perhaps more than anything else, Gen Z values authenticity, and the workplace is no exception. Organizations that communicate openly, honestly and frequently will have a leg up on those with more archaic, stale communication systems in place.

Provide Job Stability & Opportunity Quickly — Not surprisingly, Gen Zers have an incredibly low attention span — only 8 seconds compared to 12 seconds for millennials, according to Vision Critical — and have a low threshold for boredom. To attract and guarantee your Gen Z workers stick with your organization for the long term, be open with details into the health and future of the company often, and provide insight into what an employee’s career trajectory could look like more frequently than a simple once-per-year performance review. Gen Z wants to feel immediately that they are secure in their job and can picture what could be on the horizon for them in the coming year, 5 years and even 10 years from now.

Make Social Welfare a Priority — Providing opportunities to give back both as an organization and individually is highly attractive to this generation, such as allowing time off for volunteering or matching donations.

Highlight Diversity Programs — This generation is more diverse than any other before it and is also more welcoming of those who are different than themselves. They seek organizations that not only are accepting of a diverse workforce, but encourage it and commit themselves to inclusion programs.

Technology Innovation – Organizations that are constantly updating their technology as the latest and greatest will prove successful in engaging Gen Z. Ensure everything from recruiting (video resumes!) to onboarding to internal learning and communication is done in a tech-savvy way, as this generation has come to expect it. They will want the ability to work anywhere and any way that they please and communicate with those they work with this way as well (from co-workers to company leaders).

Create In-Person Opportunities —While technology is important, do not make assumptions about technology use. This generation will still have a strong desire to travel and interact in-person. Do not swing the pendulum too far to only digital offerings.