Gen Z is born 1998:
Jen Z is raised by tech-savvy Generation X parents and many of her younger Generation Z peers are being raised by the tech-dependent Millennials.There was a relatively large technology gap between Millennials and their Baby Boomer parents, but Generation X has shrunk that gap with their Generation Z kids which has only accelerated the tech adoption of Generation Z.
- Generation Z Mindset: Generation Z will approach work with a DIY, work hard, and pragmatic mindset.
- Innovation Influencer: Parents
At age 8, Jen Z is an avid gamer which shapes her approach to collaboration. With 66 percent of Generation Z listing gaming as their main hobby, the International Olympic Committee is considering adding pro-gaming as an official sport .
- Generation Z Mindset: Generation Z gravitates towards gamified processes or procedures and are native to global communication and collaboration across virtual platforms.
- Innovation Influencer: Xbox
At age 9, Jen Z is given her first cell phone for the primary purpose of safety and logistics. However, she is soon exposed to the new smartphone that mom and dad own. Today, the average age for a child getting their first smartphone is 10.3 years-old. Smartphones mobilized Generation Z to text, socialize, and game on the go.
Also at this time, YouTube is growing in popularity and thanks to the easy to use Flip Video camera, Jen Z is empowered to create and share videos. Three-quarters of Generation Z watch YouTube at least weekly. YouTube becomes a go-to resource for entertainment, information, and how-tos.
- Generation Z Mindset: Generation Z is a video and mobile-centric generation where their mobile devices serve as the remote control of their lives.
- Innovation Influencer: Smartphone and YouTube
2008: Jen Z extends her digital communication.
At age 10, Jen Z doesn’t meet the age requirements of Facebook but that doesn’t stop her from lying about her age in order to create an account and begin communicating with friends. While Millennials helped push social media into the mainstream, Generation Z can’t remember a world where social media didn’t exist. Today, 39 percent of kids get a social media account at 11.4 years-old.
Millennials were digital pioneers, but Generation Z is the true digital natives. They have not had to adapt to technology because the only world they know is a hyper-connected one where 2 out of 7 people on the planet use Facebook.
- Generation Z Mindset: Generation Z is quick to adopt new communication channels and prefers real-time, transparent, and collaborative digital communications.
- Innovation Influencer: Facebook
2009: Jen Z benefits from content curation.
At age 11, Jen Z enters middle school with a smart device and the world’s information curated into blank search boxes. Jen Z and her peers have become adept researchers and very resourceful due to their early Internet access. In fact, 43% of Generation Z teens prefer a digital approach to learning and find it easiest to learn from the Internet.
Generation Z treats the Internet as their external brain and therefore approach problems in a whole new way, unlike any generation before them. They do not consider parents or teachers as the authority but rather the Internet as the authority.
- Generation Z Mindset: Generation Z wants teachers and managers to not be the sole source of their learning but rather supplement their learning — coaching them through their questions, mistakes, and successes.
- Innovation Influencer: Search Engines
2010: Jen Z lives an interconnected life.
At age 12, Jen Z, on a daily basis, utilizes 4-5 screens (mobile, TV, laptop, tablet, or game device). She begins collaborating with peers online inside the classroom (and via Google Docs by 2012), continuing the work on the way home via a smartphone or tablet (Apple releases the first iPad this year), and then finishes her homework on a laptop at home. Generation Z is executing work in unprecedented ways.
Jen Z is becoming increasingly aware of all of the interconnected and “smart” devices (wearables, smart toys, drones, etc.) that impact her life. It’s forecasted that 8.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2017, up 31 percent from 2016, and will reach 20.4 billion by 2020. Eventually, Generation Z will live in a world with 1 trillion interconnected devices that will forever re-shape how they live, work, and play.
- Generation Z Mindset: Generation Z has developed a much higher instinctual relationship with technology and the increasingly interconnected world shifts their expectations for how work can and should be executed.
- Innovation Influencer: iPad and Internet of Things
2012: Jen Z seeks deeper social connections.
At age 14, Jen Z is on Twitter and a power user of the 2010-released social media platform, Instagram. Instagram becomes an immediate hit among Generation Z. Instagram shifts Generation Z’s communication preferences towards images, short videos, and a mobile-first approach.
Jen Z is also growing weary of the superficiality she sees throughout social media. By 2014, 25% of Generation Z had quit their parents’ and older siblings’ social network. To fill the growing desire for a truer to life network, the anonymous social network, Whisper, launches and quickly nets millions of users. Jen Z also prefers Snapchat (launched in 2011) which offers a more real and honest connection for users.
- Generation Z Mindset: Generation Z prioritizes honest, transparent, and authentic messaging from friends, leaders, employers, and brands.
- Innovation Influencer: Instagram and Snapchat
2013: Jen Z establishes a digital brand.
At age 15, Jen Z discovers the social network and blogging platform, Tumblr, which provides her a global platform to share her ideas, passions, and opinions. Due to the rise in popularity of blogging/vlogging and Apple’s App Store (launched in 2008), Jen Z is becoming savvy at building her own digital assets (blog, website, apps, etc.)
Generation Z are creators, contributors, and collaborators. Technology has empowered them to have a voice, to streamline and systemize, and to simplify complex problems because after all, “There’s an app for that.”
- Generation Z Mindset: Generation Z expects to co-create with brands, contribute on teams, and collaborate with managers; and they expect innovation from their employers, leaders, and brands.
- Innovation Influencer: Tumblr and Apple’s App Store
2015: Jen Z launches her career early.
At age 17, Jen Z enters the workplace via an internship while a senior in high school. Sixty percent of companies agree that students will need to begin to focus on their careers in high school in order to compete for internships and jobs in the future. No wonder LinkedIn recently decided to lower their minimum age required to create an account to 13.
Jen Z is eager to launch her full-time career but, much like Millennials, expects a short tenure. Eighty-three percent of today’s students believe that 3 years or less is the appropriate amount of time to spend at their first job. Generation Z will use Glassdoor.comto make sure the job and employer are the appropriate fit.
- Generation Z Mindset: Generation Z are self-starters, self-learners, and self-motivators seeking swift impact at work.
- Innovation Influencer: LinkedIn and Glassdoor
2016: Jen Z explores entrepreneurship.
At age 18, Jen Z realizes how easy it can be to become an entrepreneur and turn an idea into reality by creating an account on Kickstarter, the global crowdfunding platform. The popularity of the show Shark Tank and the seemingly overnight success stories of Mark Zuckerberg and Evan Spiegel bring entrepreneurship front and center for Generation Z.
Sixty-one percent of high school students and forty-three percent of college students sad they would rather be an entrepreneur than an employee when they graduate.
- Generation Z Mindset: Generation Z place a premium on entrepreneurship, innovation, and “side hustles.”
- Innovation Influencer: Kickstarter
2017: Jen Z re-wires work.
At age 19, technology continues to impact Jen Z’s life and begins to shape her expectations of work.
- Pokemon Go: Generation Z showed through the record-breaking success of Pokemon Go that they are ready for augmented reality (and soon virtual reality) experiences at work.
- Snapchat, Instagram, Musical.ly, and GroupMe: Generation Z’s expectation of the frequency, medium, and delivery of communications at work has changed.
- WeWork: Generation Z has widespread availability to workspace and entrepreneurial communities as WeWork expands in seven short years to 218 locations in 53 cities around the world reshaping where and when work gets done.
- App Store: Generation Z experienced a shift from BYOD (bring your own device) to work to BYOA (bring your own application) as application creation becomes accessible and challenges how work is structured and executed.
- YouTube: Generation Z grew up on a steady diet of YouTube tutorial videos and will expect innovative workplace learning and development via video.
- Alexa, Google Home, and Siri: Generation Z is open to integrating more artificial intelligence into their work lives as more and more AI-enabled devices enter their homes and pockets.
- Houseparty and Activision Blizzard (Call of Duty, Destiny, or World of Warcraft):Generation Z seeks innovative tools and games to connect with peers and colleagues.
- GoPro: Generation Z is inspired to seek experiences and new adventures (inside and outside of work) since they can capture it all on HD video.
2020: JEN Z enters the WORKforce.
Generation Z will work, sell, B2B buy, communicate, and ultimately lead differently than previous generations. The leaders who understand the values, expectations and behaviors of Generation Z will be better positioned for next generation success.
- Generation Z Mindset: Generation Z will leverage the diversity of thought and experience of their generation to create innovative solutions for tomorrow’s complex problems.
- Innovation Influencer: TBD
Companies are likely to welcome Gen Z into their workplaces a lot sooner than expected. Gen Z is seriously considering forgoing a traditional college education to go work for a company that provides college-like training. In fact, 75% of Gen Z say there are other ways of getting a good education than going to college.
With the looming flood of young talent into the workplace, companies must be ready to recruit and retain this next generation.
As many young adults strongly consider bypassing college to move straight into the workplace, companies are challenged with positioning themselves to acquire the next generation of top talent a lot sooner than expected
Companies must deliver an exceptional candidate experience. Gen Z is much less likely to do business with a company where they have had a poor experience as a job applicant than previous generations. Companies must identify any friction points (non-mobile friendly career pages, slow communications, etc.) that exist throughout the entire candidate experience and work toward creating an effortless, timely, and relevant candidate experience.
Companies should also utilize innovative technology. A new generation requires new recruiting tactics. AI, machine learning, and analytics have changed the recruiting landscape.
Pymetrics uses neuroscience games and bias-free artificial intelligence (AI) to predictively match people with jobs where they’ll perform at the highest levels. Google Hire is a recruiting app that helps distribute jobs, identify and attract candidates, build relationships, and manage the interview process. Mya and Wade & Wendy offer chatbots that automate the process from resume to interview. Innovative recruiting tools such as these will give companies a competitive advantage when recruiting Gen Z.
Lastly, companies should be actively managing their employer brand on Glassdoor.com. Seventy percent of candidates look to [company] reviews before they make career decisions and 69% are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand (e.g., responds to reviews, updates their profile, shares updates on the cutler and work environment). With over 10 million of the 32 million unique monthly users on Glassdoor being Millennials and Gen Z, it’s a must that companies leverage Glassdoor. SAP for example, has an employee whose full-time job is to monitor Glassdoor, where they look at reviews, respond to reviews, and act on the trends and/or feedback.
Fromm: How can companies retain Gen Z?
Jenkins: Promote diversity and inclusion. Seventy-seven percent of Gen Z say that a company’s level of diversity affects their decision to work there. Not only will an inclusive organizational culture attract Gen Z– the most diverse workforce to date–but organizations with inclusive cultures are two times as likely to meet or exceed financial targets, three times as likely to be high-performing, six times more likely to be innovative and agile, and eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes.
Also to retain Gen Z, create a more fluid organization. Seventy-five percent of Gen Z would be interested in a situation in which they could have multiple roles within one place of employment. Growing up with ubiquitous connectivity, evolving mobile technology, and in a growing gig economy has altered how Gen Z views employment. Gen Z will question what it is to be an employee. To be positioned as an ideal employer in the eyes of Gen Z, companies should consider becoming more fluid by using rotational programs, shadowing, and offering more learning and development opportunities.
Fromm: How can companies use learning and development to engage Gen Z employees?
Jenkins: Offering robust professional development opportunities is critical. Gen Z grew up with YouTube, the world’s largest on-demand how-to video library, at their fingertips, which means organizations must offer innovative solutions to appease their appetite for on-demand learning.
Such microlearning opportunities can satisfy Gen Z expectations and preferences, in that it provides training in small learning units and short-term learning activities delivered in a convenient and accessible manner. Content is distributed (ideally on-demand and mobile-first) in mini-bursts, typically 2-15 minutes in length.