When most people think of Gen Z, the image that comes to mind is that of a clueless youngster lounging around at home, scrolling through his or her phone.
Given this image, it’s hard to imagine that this demographic is the emerging generation in the workforce.
In an increasingly competitive economy, workers are expected to be resilient, diligent, innovative, flexible and cooperative. Businesses want employees who fit these descriptors, and if the public opinion of Gen Z is true, then hiring this demographic is out of the question. Thankfully for the state of our country’s economy, the public opinion of Gen Z is incorrect.
Sure, there is some merit to stereotypes, but the assumption that Gen Z can’t enter the workforce with a serious attitude and motivation to be productive is wrong.
Several studies, as well as those businesses who have already hired Gen Zers, have uncovered a number of surprising distinctions between this generation and their predecessors. Here are 8 reasons why Gen Z might be the hardest working generation yet.
1. Focused on the job.
Hanging above the heads of teenagers everywhere is the stereotype that they just aren’t focused on what’s truly important. For a business, what’s truly important is completing work and becoming successful.
People often assume that Gen Z is too distracted by trivialities like social media and their phones to become actively invested in their work.
In truth, the youngest members of the workforce are more focused on their jobs than previous generations.
Studies show that 58% of Gen Zers are willing to work overtime on weekends, as opposed to 35% of Millennials.
Compared to previous generations, Gen Z actually demonstrates more motivation to work and is more willing to accept opportunities to boost their performance in the workplace.
2. Accepting of feedback.
One of the most defining characteristics of Gen Z is their familiarity with social media and instant communication.
That connectedness has entered the workplace, as Gen Z seeks constant feedback on their performance within a company.
In contrast to the convention of annual performance reviews, regular feedback reflects the instant communication that Gen Z is used to. It also gives them an incentive to either keep up the good work or tighten up aspects of their work ethic, depending on the nature of reviews received.
The willingness of this youngest generation to accept feedback may in fact lead to a more effective business structure that allows workers to see how their contributions are affecting the company at all times.
3. Savvy with or without tech.
As the stereotype goes, Gen Z without technology is an impossibility. However, when translated to the workplace, Gen Z is much more flexible regarding the use of technology than they are in the public image.
One benefit of hiring Gen Z employees is that they are usually more tech savvy than older workers.
However, what may not be immediately evident is that these same employees are just as comfortable communicating without the use of technology.
The adaptability of Gen Z workers to either situation—with and without technology—marks them as more well-rounded communicators and workers than those of older demographics.
4. Embrace relocation.
Social media and the internet connect us with the rest of the world, and Gen Z is known for making use of those technologies. In addition, Gen Z simply travels more per year than older generations do.
According to a Mashable Gen Z study, 67% of Gen Zers would relocate for a new job, as opposed to 61% of Millennials. Another study, by CNBC, showed that 60 percent of Gen Z workers desired to work in more than one country during their lifetime.
Combining these results, it’s clear that Gen Z employees don’t mind relocation; in fact, they embrace it.
If older workers represent conventionality and tradition, then Gen Z represents flexibility. Perhaps it is the constantly changing nature of the internet and technology that seem to define Gen Z. Or perhaps it is simply that today’s youth are less opposed to change than older generations.
Whatever the case, one of the greatest benefits of hiring Gen Z over other demographics is their increased flexibility in all aspects of the workplace.
Working hours, payment, relocation, feedback and the use of technology all fall under this category. Flexible Gen Z workers can more effectively fit into today’s malleable business system.
6. Communication and collaboration.
Once again, the Gen Z’s blanket adoption of social media translates into the workplace as a virtue.
The use of social media and similar technology involves lots of communication—far more than typical members of older generations are used to.
Gen Z’s intimacy with mass communication certainly prepares them for the scope of interactions they’ll have to make with others in the workplace.
In addition, mass communication sharpens their collaboration skills, as they are used to speaking with others and being connected.
This trait should surprise no one. No matter how unkind public opinion has been to Gen Z when speaking about their work ethic, it has never disparaged their creativity.
In an age when Gen Z is given more tools for expression, it’s no wonder they’re more likely to spark innovation and think outside of the box when it matters.
As evidenced by the innovative ideas, apps and companies that are always popping up, the demand for Gen Z’s ingenuity has shown no signs of slowing down.
The last testament to Gen Z’s diligence doesn’t have to do with their role as employees, but with their role as pioneers.
It may come as no surprise that 55% of Gen Zers want to start their own business, given the current atmosphere of startups and companies popping up on every corner.
In truth, Gen Zers possess all the qualities of diligence, collaboration and tenacity to pursue success in the workplace.
Add to this an unwavering entrepreneurial spirit, and it’s clear that Gen Z has the potential to make enormous strides in the workplace.