From this article you will learn:
- What are the truths and myths about Generation Z?
- What attracts Generation Z to employers?
- How to prepare your company for Generation Z employees?
Those born after 1995 have entered the job market and already stirred up extreme emotions. Some praise them for their unprecedented knowledge of new technologies and freedom to use them and stand up for universal values, while others point to exorbitant expectations with respect to earnings and terms of employment as well as a lack of attachment to employers. Who is right?
We find the answer to this question in a rather surprising place. “When I see the young people today, I doubt the future of civilization,” “They love luxury (...) and they mess around all the time”. 
No, these are not quotes from articles about the generation just entering the job market, but the opinions of Aristotle and Socrates, respectively. Even if they sound surprisingly familiar.
Change, of course, raises and has always raised concerns. And Generation Z is definitely bringing such changes. If only because it is... relatively few in number. As experts note, the declining population and improving quality of life are leading to aging of the population and a decrease in the percentage of working people. 
Did you know that the percentage of people aged 15-24 was the highest in 2001? Young people accounted for 16.9% of the total population. Currently, the rate is more than 5 percentage points lower. 
The famous statement “I’ve got 10 others to take your place”, which stymied any creative change by Generation X (1965-1980) and Millenials (1981-1994), now no longer holds true. A “demanding attitude”, or rather assertiveness, of the younger generation is therefore not so much a generational issue as a natural tendency. Especially if we consider the so-called employee-focused market, i.e. the trend that has dominated in recent years.
So what are they really like, these notorious youngsters, and above all... is there anything to be afraid of?
Generation Z in a nutshell
- They are flexible
Yes, they often do not attach themselves to employers. However, as it turns out, employers themselves do not necessarily create the conditions for this. Over the past decades economists have come around to the view that employment stability may regularly decline due to the nature of the economy. 
To some extent, this coincides with Generation Z’s expectations. Its representatives are more likely than their predecessors to choose forms of employment that give them maximum flexibility, including in terms of working hours. For the youngest generation, being able to manage their own time at work is more important (27%) than for Generation Y (24%) and Generation X (19%).  For employers, this can mean a team that responds flexibly to change and faces it.
- Resilient to change
Karolina Messyasz, PhD, of the Faculty of Economics and Sociology of the University of Łódź, writing about Generation Z, reminds us that the impact of historical events during youth tends to persist over time as so-called cohort effects. In real terms, this is also reflected in the attitude to work. 
Growing up in a pandemic, zoomers learned to find their way around an uncertain situation in no time. Which is a definite plus for companies operating in a rapidly changing market. At the same time, this is a generation that for a long time will need psychological support from employers and additional training in soft skills , which they often simply did not have the chance to acquire. This is not their fault, of course, but a response to the times they grew up in.
- Very high digital competencies
Zoomers are sometimes referred to as Generation C (as in connected). Raised online, they take Internet activity for granted, as something inseparable from their lifestyle. 
Their deep attachment to the virtual world naturally translates into their professional lives as well. This, they say, is why they value the opportunity to work remotely so much, are eager to be in an international environment and appreciate the chance to carry out interesting projects.  No wonder – they have been fed with visions of Silicon Valley startup successes since childhood and want to create new things themselves, and preferably breakthrough ones.
- They have high expectations with respect to earnings
Generation Z is maturing in a very difficult economic situation, with changing conditions and constant uncertainty. At the same time, it is fed by the media with images of young millionaires, which does impact their ambitions and expectations. The study showed that zoomers like to save money and carefully plan their budget. This is most likely due to the need to become independent as soon as possible , which is further hampered by the complicated situation in the Polish housing market. Of course, employers can’t meet all of these expectations, but it’s worth understanding the needs behind them.
- They are individualistic
Yes, this stereotype, which has been repeated many times, contains a large grain of truth. However, researchers of the topic point out that putting “I” before “WE” is a general social trend, a tendency in neoliberal societies. “Issues such as education or labour have been shifted from the level of public/social problems to the individual level, where it is the individual’s job to make decisions, as well as bear responsibility for them”. 
Generation Z is accustomed to deciding for themselves, but also knows how to face consequences. This generation of born entrepreneurs, indeed, can be a challenge for managers, but definitely one worth meeting. Especially since, paradoxically, zoomers...
- Like to work in a group
Interestingly, when choosing a workplace, the most important criterion for the younger generation is good atmosphere and relationships with people (50%).  It is worth taking this into account and absolutely do not assume that integration for Generation Z will be futile. Of course, there are times when it is more difficult for them to communicate with their colleagues, but this is largely due to the fact that they are... a minority. Especially when juxtaposed with baby boomers, i.e. those born in the late 70’s and early 80’s.
- They don’t believe in systemic education
Only 54% of zoomers believe that education has an impact on their professional success . This makes a large percentage of them simply “not concerned about the diploma” but about real skills, which they often acquire outside of school by getting involved in various projects. At the same time, they pick up new skills in no time, and constantly being online makes them great at communicating in English. Interestingly, more than previous generations, they dream of the opportunity to develop. 
It is worth providing it to them, not necessarily by facilitating getting academic degrees, but through tailored courses and training (such as those available on the Youniversity platform as part of the MultiLife package).
- They believe in values
Even if they challenge our attachment to the master’s degree, it is worth learning from their approach to values. Zoomers are more likely to choose a company that is socially responsible, supports talent and levels the labour market playing field. When scanning employment opportunities, they also consider environmental issues, pro-social values and diversity. 
How to prepare the company for the new generation?
The answer to this question can be found in the generational characteristics of GenZ itself. It turns out that with some empathy and process adjustment, this is an easier task than one might think by flicking through the media scare-mongering about “demanding and overly assertive youth”.
- Act like app developers
The digital generation expects solutions from the world in which it functions. Experts argue that Generation Z functions far better in simple, intuitive frameworks.  So remember to simplify your processes and procedures.
- Focus on work-life balance
Not only respect the boundaries of Generation Z, but also provide solutions that emphasise work-life balance, as this is one of the key values for young employees. 
Remember that Generation Z chooses companies that provide benefits that help enrich their personal lives: interests, pursuing dreams or spending time in interesting ways.  Take advantage of a platform, such as MultiLife, from which they will be able to freely choose courses, apps and tips for furthering their interests.
- Let them... learn
Although education in the form of a degree is not the most important thing for them, they are used to quickly acquiring new skills and evolving like constantly updated applications. Generation Z relies on just in time learning  – they want to learn news and know “everything” as quickly as possible. And again – don’t force them into specific training, they will sense the trends perfectly on their own. Sometimes it will be a development series like “New Technologies in Business” from Youniversity, other times a Spanish course or breathing exercises. are also included in MultiLife, a benefit offering a huge range of diverse well-being tools.
- Allow them to work remotely
We have already written about ways to integrate distributed teams here. It is worth noting that hybrid work requires a slightly different approach to personnel management. However, it is definitely worth making such a change – if only to attract and retain young talent. Remember at the same time that zoomers still have a strong need to be in a group. They simply translate some of these relationships into the online environment. 
- Be flexible
Remember to have a variety of types of contracts and working hours – born individualists such as zoomers like to have a sense of agency and freedom of choice. Very often, such flexibility is a win-win situation, also for an employer who wants a responsive team, including at non-standard hours, rather than just “sitting in the office to clock in”.
- Motivate with specifics
For all their love of values and ideas, the younger generation views work very pragmatically. They like tangible gratification and appreciate the value of money . Importantly, they are motivated by being rewarded for results, rather than, for example, hours spent on a project . Of course, you still don’t have to rely on money alone – benefits are also very popular. However, it is important that the motivation is, actually, accurately defined.
- Rethink communication
The average attention span among young people today is less than 10 seconds. This is forcing companies to change their communications to be specific and substantive.  In addition, they expect openness and quick feedback . The myths associated with their excessive assertiveness may stem precisely from this communicative misunderstanding. It is worth rethinking this issue – bet on honesty, openness and short, clear messages.
- Provide opportunities to develop soft skills
This can be supported by training benefits. The right courses can work wonders in areas such as teamwork skills, resistance to stress, creativity or communication skills. They will also help zoomers’ assertiveness take a form that goes more in the direction of taking care to respect one’s boundaries while being kind to others rather than cultivating typically selfish behaviour. MultiLife users have many choices in this regard, from the “Emotional Intelligence of a Leader” course from Youniversity to unlimited audiobooks from the Legimi platform, such as: “Why Dreamers Will Save the World” or “Inspiring Leaders. How to Effectively Multiply Your Team’s potential”.
- Be ethical
Zoomers choose to apply to companies that are socially responsible . So it’s worth taking these needs into account and betting on strong CSR. The “pro bono” activity can also be extended to engaging employees to take care of their health (MultiLife provides preventive examination packages in this regard, and even individual e-consultations with an internist, dietician and personal trainer). Provided with such a package, zoomers will instantly notice the company’s concern for the well-being of the teams.
- Create diverse teams
The young dynamic team is a thing of the past, ridiculed by many memes. Experts emphasise that cross-generational teams are invaluable for companies, bringing a diversity of attitudes, experiences and energy. 
Zoomers are undoubtedly a challenge. Nowadays, however, the ability to respond to change is one of the key competencies, not only for employees, but for entire companies. It is good to know that in this regard, managers will have a strong ally in the younger generation.