The future of organisational landscape looks LIT! The latest generation entering the workforce in the near future is about to reinvent leadership and work styles, alike. With values as their guiding star, Gen-Zers are here to revolutionise everything we know about the corporate world. As the first digital native generation, using technology to influence the world around is child’s play to them.
And, like with any inter-generational shift, leaders are going to reinvent their styles in accordance with the new kids on the block. With an alleged attention span of less than 7 second, Gen Z is nothing like their elder predecessors.
Every generation is shaped by the technology available and the psychological impact of world events surrounding their developing hearts. In case of Gen Z, digital nativity ensures that they are adaptable to all and any form of futuristic technological development. This makes them the future of the business world, in every sense of the world. At the same time, having grown up watching their millennial counterparts struggle with the Great Recession, and facing a global pandemic all before their late 20s has shaped their unique outlook on things.
Let’s take a deeper look into what all makes Gen Z the unicorn of workforce generations –
Mind over money
Perhaps what truly makes this new generation different from their predecessors is their relationship with money. Unlike their immediate elders, Gen Z places values over financial stability. A recent Deloitte survey revealed that Gen Z employees need their leaders to walk their talk. Companies who fail to live by the values they represent are likely to lose their Gen Z talent to other organisations. Quick at changing jobs and sometimes even professions, Gen Z has no time for false gods. And, simply refuse to be impressed by numbers alone.
Diversity and inclusivity reigns supreme when it comes to this Insta-ready generation. For leaders and organisations looking to hire and retain high performing Gen Zers, this is important to note. Not only does this generation stand by ethical values, but is willing to speak up whenever they feel like its being overlooked. With the power of social media in their hands, Gen Z’S power remains formidable. Thus, leaders need to start embracing their organisational values as absolute. Or they may lose high performing new comers, in the blink of an eye.
The disruption caused by two pandemic stricken years has robbed this new generation of multiple life forming milestones and rituals. From throwing off their graduation caps in the air to experiencing college life beyond a virtual screen – Gen Z has missed out on a lot. These seemingly inconsequential rites of passage are known to go a long way when it comes to character and skills development. Without having collaborated over group projects in real time, and sharing last minute assignment pressures with their friends, Gen Z is more disconnected from each other than ever. Add to it, the perceived connection built over social media and online platforms, and we have a problem on our hands.
In most cases, learning occurred in the presence of family members. House-bound and juggling multiple responsibilities fail to provide a conducive environment for instructions, without any preparation. Adjustments have been made to grades, types of assignments, and everything in between. All this, though effective in the moment, is bound to have long term impact on this generation. The cultural transition between college and professional life is hard enough. And the added baggage of the past two years worth of disruption is bound to make things worse.
EQ trumps IQ
The importance of emotional intelligence, regardless of the industry in question, cannot be overstated. It not only includes empathy, but also self-awareness, motivation, and the ability to motivate, align with other social skills. These are not only essential for maintaining inter-personal relationships, but also determine effective leadership. And, it’s a skill that can both, be taught and learned. Employees who work towards developing their emotional intelligence have been proved to do better, and lead better.
And this very fact offers both, a challenge and opportunity for the new generation of leaders. Gen Z has faced a massive upheaval in their induction years, thanks to the pandemic. The lack of face-to-face interactions with their colleagues and leaders has put a huge dent in their growth as emotionally intelligent people. Lack of social interactions has deprived them of the chance of learning by observing the behaviour of their leaders and mentors. They also are facing a lack of direction when it comes to discovering what motivates and inspires them. This means that they’ll need more time to do undertake this self-exploration journey. And leaders looking to hire and help them need to play their part well. Organisations and leaders will have to come up with programs and other ways to help their youngest employees find their values, and path in life. Soft skills no longer can take a backseat. In fact, calling them soft skills takes away their importance. Instead, these are life skills that need to be developed and taught effectively, across companies sand industries, alike.
When all is said and done, this generation brings with it a chance for companies to shape the future. Leaders and managers have the chance to shape future leaders and trailblazers. Having experienced adversities and challenges unlike any other generation, Gen Z is bound to bring with a fresh, unique perspective. With the right blend of resilience and humility, this generation can transform the business world, for the better. Leaders should be prepared to utilise these formative experiences by providing structured support and guidance. It’s up to them to help ease the difficult transition that faces this generation of young leaders and help them reach their full potential.