It seems like only yesterday we were talking about Millennials entering the workplace, but it’s already time to start thinking about their successors – Generation Z. (Doesn’t that make us feel old!)
Generation Z is generally taken to be the generation born between the mid-1990s and the mid-2000s. It’s true that this demographic is technically Millennial, but there are some striking differences between this generation and its older sibling.
So, what are the differences? What are they looking for from their career? And perhaps most important of all, how you can make sure you attract the best and brightest to your finance teams?
They value security
Generation Z was at a formative age when the 2008 crash happened. They saw first-hand what it did to their parents and it’s had an effect on their thinking about their careers. They’re more likely than Millennials to want to stay with one employer than to move around. Whether this is a trend that has lasting implications is yet to be seen.
But they want clear opportunities for advancement
Generation Z might see the advantages of staying with a single employer, but they won’t stay unthinkingly. This group is highly motivated by opportunities for advancement – 34% cite this as their most important motivation.
It means you’ll need to demonstrate how you develop your team and invest in its future.
They start with why
When surveyed, 42% of Generation Y said money would motivate them to work harder and stay with their employer. In contrast, it’s only a motivator for 28% of Generation Z. That’s a massive dip.
Far more likely to be a concern for Generation Z is the ‘why’. Simon Sinek’s renowned business book Start with Why posited that consumers don’t care what you do – they care why you do it. This is something that chimes strongly with Generation Z, who want to know how the organisation they’re working for benefits the wider world.
They want their work to be more productive and less repetitive
Entry-level roles have a reputation for being repetitive. But Generation Z members are much less likely than their predecessors to put up with what they see as meaningless tasks. They know that technology can do these things better – and they’re right. The capabilities of AI are advancing rapidly and tools to automate travel, expense and invoice are already transforming the workplace and dramatically reducing the need for manual data input.
If you’re going to attract the best Generation Z-ers by giving them the meaningful work they crave, you need to make sure you’ve got the tools and technology in place before they arrive.
But they’re not in thrall to technology
While this generation can see the advantages technology brings, they’re not in thrall to it. In fact, they express concern about the way technology is impacting on their ability to maintain interpersonal relationships.
By automating manual tasks, not only do you empower Generation Z employees to do the meaningful work they want, you also help them develop their skills in key areas and improve the productivity of your team – Paul Jackson, Head of Finance at London charity Thames Reach, said of the decision to implement Concur Invoice: “My team spends their time in a more intellectual way, chasing, training, meeting with people one-on-one and having to be creative and come up with solutions. I see people who are more challenged and more fulfilled.”
Does this generation reflect recent shifts in workplace practices?
In many ways, it could be said that the desires of Generation Z chime with what organisations already know and have been seeking to implement.
If you want a loyal, productive workforce, you have to do two things. Have the HR and career development initiatives in place that will make employees feel valued. And harness what technology has to offer to make work meaningful and productive.
How is your business responding to these challenges?