Millennials have been in the workforce for over 15 years and the new generation is now slowly embarking on their working journey, and bosses may have different views of this new generation over the previous. This new generation is Generation Z, better known as Gen Z, with the oldest of the category being 24 years old in 2021.
Being born into the era of smartphones and widespread information available on the Internet, Gen Z's are known to be tech-natives and are self-reliant. Gen Z's grew up during the Great Recession and witness what it has done to the Millennials and Gen X, resulting in them being more practical and realistic when it comes to searching for a job. Gen Z's also tend to look for job security and long-term value over taking calculated risks.
However, there are certain misconceptions and myths about the Gen Z employee. As an HR recruitment agency, we care about what our clients and candidates think and feel about, so we will debunk these myths and misconceptions too.
A. They prefer to communicate online
Knowing that Gen Zers are tech-natives, alongside the fact that we are currently living in a pandemic, it is inevitable to assume that Gen Zers prefer to communicate online. It is true that most Gen Zers prefer to use technology to communicate with their friends and family, with the average time spent on social media is 6 hours 48 mins in a day.
However, Ryan Jenkins, a millennial and Gen Z expert, states that when it comes to communicating for work, 72 percent of surveyed Gen Zers prefer to communicate face-to-face. This is because when communicating face-to-face, increases the effectiveness of communication, as it allows better exchange of information since body language and facial expressions can be interpreted.
B. They think that they know it all
With the wide array of information readily available on the Internet for the usage of anyone, and Gen Zers being proficient with technology, it is unavoidable that people would think that Gen Zers know it all. It is not wrong that phrase is commonly used with Gen Zers, but Gen Zers are known to want to know it all.
Gen Zers are hungry for knowledge, and they want to be able to learn as much as they can. Being well-read and having access to the Internet to search for anything, Gen Zers want to be able to value-add, make a difference, and contribute to conversations.
3. They have a short attention span
Growing up in a time where there is an overload of information from a wide spread of sources, Gen Zers have grown to be able to filter out the information that does not really concern them. One of the reasons why Gen Zers have a short attention span is because they grew up with social media that has character limits. Social media apps such as Twitter, with a character count of 280, Gen Zers have adapted to the short sentences and find that long chunks of words are harder to read. Again, with the increased usage of TikTok, a platform where short videos are created and shared, it is yet inevitable that Gen Zers have a short attention span.
This misconception is not wrong exactly, but because they have short attention spans, they tend to be concise when communicating with others. This skill will promote effective and concise communication in workplaces, benefiting everyone.
With all these misconceptions and myths debunked, are these really what bosses think of Gen Zers? Some employers might still have such misconceptions about their Gen Z employees. Going forward, with the increased percentage of the working population coming from Gen Z, what do employers expect of Gen Zers when they join the workforce, and how can Gen Zers better prepare themselves?
Here are some things that employers would expect of their employees:
A. Time Management
Understanding that we, Gen Zers, have short attention spans, employers would expect, and in some cases, hope that we have good time management. We would have to learn how to prioritise the tasks, make sure that we meet the deadlines, and produce good results.
Here are some methods that you can follow to have better time management:
SMART goals: SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. It is used to help guide goal setting. To set a goal that states that by when and how you are going to complete the following tasks.
Pomodoro: This technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals that are separated by short breaks. This forces you to focus on your work for that short interval to enjoy your well-deserved break.
Have a to-do list: Having a list that constantly reminds you of what you have to do by the end of the day will motivate you to have better time management. What I do personally to put a time frame to the task that I’m supposed to do and I try to finish it within the stipulated time.
B. Workplace Etiquette
As you will be joining companies that comprise employees who are older than you, from Millennials to even the Boomer generation, it is important for you to understand the value and beliefs that they uphold. There will definitely be instances where you do not agree with what they believe in. Your older colleagues may demand and expect respect from you, but you may not see the same way. Regardless, be nice to them, remember to keep true to yourself, and not be swayed by what they try to shove down your throats. Office politics are bound to happen, think rationally, and try not to cancel anyone. After all, you will be working there for quite some time (if you are contract bounded).
Known to be self-reliant because of their knowledge of technology, employers may expect that you learn faster and be independent. You are your own responsibility, and you have to provide your own guidance when it comes to working.
But for those who just joined the workforce, do not be shy. As my supervisor said to me, there is no such thing as a stupid question. As long as you show that you are willing to learn, I am sure that your employers will be more than willing to teach you. Of course, you still have to manage your own learning. If you are a forgetful person, like I am, take down notes for your own understanding where you can refer.
All in all, for the Gen Zers who are just starting to embark on their working journey, do not be afraid of what the future will entail. Stay positive and try to learn as much as you can. If you are still looking for a job, check out the jobs available on our website!
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