Getting to Know Generation Z: Understands that Systems are Broken


Getting to Know Generation Z [Series]

Part 9: Understands that Systems are Broken

It has been said, that Generation Z understands that systems are broken.  In their lifetime, they have watched the collapse and fall of financial systems, political systems, and community systems.  Regardless of the location of and scale of the fall, this generation more than any other, has seen the result of what those that came before them once thought was secure.  They understand that interdependency does not guarantee safety, but that it leads toward more complexity and at times risk.  

Will Generation Z drive more localization and less interdependency, or will they be the “fixer’s” of our complex systems in our globalized world?  Will they truly be the generation that resists becoming a part of the problems in our broken systems?  Will they drive the next big paradigm shift? 

As a challenge, the next time one of your newest contributors to the workforce brings up an idea, or presents a problem, take a minute to engage with them and truly understand their perspective. Encourage their ideas and enthusiasm toward implementing simple solutions.  Remember, it is through small change that big change happens. 

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Getting to Know Generation Z: Preference Toward Being Conservative About Money

Getting to Know Generation Z [Series]

Part 8: Preference Toward Being Conservative and Pragmatic About Money

Growing up during the Great Recession, Generation Z has a tendency toward conservative and pragmatic attitudes about money.  Many of these individuals experienced the impact that the fall in the banking, housing, and automotive industries had on their everyday lives.  Whether having experienced the shift from a life of abundance to a life necessity, the loss of their family’s home, or watching their friends and extended family endure these challenges, this generation understands that nothing is guaranteed.  This experience has left them approaching money from a pragmatic and conservative viewpoint.  Questioning:  Is this really necessary?  Is there a better, less expensive way?  What is the return on investment?  Is spending X guaranteed to fix Y? 

This pragmatic and conservative attitude toward money only fuels the need for us to build Business Acumen in our employees so that 1) Leaders can answer questions on cost, spending, and budgeting and 2) To enhance fact based decision making that supports a holistic viewpoint in regards to spend and strategy.   

How prepared are the leaders in your organization to answer financial driven questions about business decisions? 

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Getting to Know Generation Z: Generation Z and The Internet

Getting to Know Generation Z [Series]

Part 7: Generation Z and The Internet

Research described in the book, Generation Z Goes to College by Corey Seemiller portrays Generation Z

As seeing the internet as a tool to socialize and also gain information that they can apply to real life.  In college, Seemiller describes Generation Z as, “liking their learning to be practical and hands-on and want their professors to help them engage with and apply the content rather than simply share what they could otherwise find on their own online.”  

In the work environment, this preference can be best coupled with the rise in organizational communities of practice where individuals form specialized groups with the goal of gaining knowledge in a specific field/topic.  Although sometimes virtual in nature and often seen as just an on-line resource, the intent of these groups are not meant to be a passive place to find information, but rather as an active source for one to share ideas, gain knowledge and to contribute and collaborate with others in a specific field or topic.  This ideal application of communities of practice enables the community to help expand learning through immediate applied application of learning and feedback. 

Does your organization currently have any Communities of Practice?  If so, are they passive information repositories or active learning environments? 

How comfortable are you with using video to convey a message to others?

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Getting to Know Generation Z: On Camera Presence

Getting to Know Generation Z [Series]

Part 6: On Camera Presence

Having been photographed and recorded all their lives, Generation Z is no stranger to the power that one’s personal presence can have on influencing others.  From the time members of this generation were born, their parents were posting photographs and videos of them on-line and sharing their every move with others.  Recording and playing back these interactions has only served to enhance their on-camera presence and speaking skills as this generation, more than any other has lived under the scrutiny of a camera and in the world of “likes”.  This generation has also tried to redefine social media into a more personal medium with their use of Snapchat and Instagram over Facebook.   Generation Z knows how to look into the camera and make the audience feel as if they are speaking just to them, a skill that many of us are just learning that Generation Z has been practicing all their life.  As they enter into the workforce, they will be the first to volunteer to make an informational video or communicate via a video message to the workforce.  Capitalize on this natural tendency early on and help them refine their skills and develop them even more. 

How comfortable are you with using video to convey a message to others?

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Getting to Know Generation Z: Preference for Immediacy in Delivery of Goods and Services

Getting to Know Generation Z [Series]

Part 5: Preference for Immediacy in Delivery of Goods and Services

Growing up in an on-demand economy, Generation Z has a strong preference and expectation of immediacy when it comes to the delivery of products and services.  This is the generation that has grown up with the ability to have almost anything delivered to them on demand despite physical location or the availability of brick and mortar stores.  They have learned that all it takes is a computer, and with the click of a mouse access is granted as long as you are willing to pay for it. 

Translate this into the workplace and Generation Z brings in an elevated expectation for on-time delivery and heightened expectation for service to the customer (both internal and external).  When faced with delivery obstacles, they will be the ones to question the obstacle and put processes in place to reinforce that the right item is always available at the right time to the right person. 

Do your current systems and processes help or hinder immediacy in delivery? 

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Getting to Know Generation Z: Preference for Person to Person Contact

Getting to Know Generation Z [Series]

PART 4: Preference for Person to Person Contact

To all of us who have worried about the impact that technology and social media might be having on face to face communication and human interaction; have no fear, Generation Z is here! 

Although Generation Z grew up in highly technological environments with the on-line classroom, virtual and simulated environments, and technology embedded in the way they live and communicate; they still have a preference to connect on a personal level.  In other words, Generation Z is comfortable utilizing technology to connect and bridge the global world, but they hold a preference for person to person contact.  ‘

So what does this mean for the workplace? 

  • Increased face-to-face meetings
  • A preference for being in the office in a social environment over working from home in an isolated environment
  • A preference for learning in a social setting through applied group discussion that can build upon concepts that they can read and understand on their own
  • An ease and preference to utilize technology to accomplish goals through smarter and faster means
  • A preference towards managing by getting out of the office to where the work is being done over managing from behind a desk and through email

What impact would moving toward some of these preferences have on your organization?   

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17 of the Biggest Differences Between Managers and Leaders

17 of the Biggest Differences Between Managers and Leaders 

The words “leader” and “manager” are often used interchangeably, but they mean two completely different things. 

For instance, a manager tells their employees what to do, while a leader encourages them. A manager accepts the status quo, while a leader challenges it. 

Resourceful Manager, a website that offers information, training, and tools to supervisors trying to solve management and business problems, put together the following infographic that outlines 17 of the biggest differences between managers and leaders:

Getting to Know Generation Z: The Desire for Purpose and Fulfillment

Getting to Know Generation Z [Series]

PART 3: The Desire for Purpose and Fulfillment

Generation Z wants more than just a job, they seek a job with purpose, a sense of fulfillment that helps to move the world forward.  As leader’s in organizations, how might we better convey organizational purpose to our employees and encourage them to explore and nurture meaning and fulfillment within their roles? 

Start with a clear vision.  Revisit the history and vision of your organization and department.  Most organizations are not start-ups and their founding stories have been lost in mergers, acquisitions and growth.  Recount why your organization exists and share it with your employees.  Then emphasize why their individual roles are important and add value.  In addition, encourage employees to develop a vision (purpose) statement for themselves.  What do they see their purpose in life to be?  Does this align with their career path and goals? 

Utilize recognition techniques to convey the link between individual contributions and reaching departmental and company goals.  Create an atmosphere of appreciation and positivity where one might find meaning in being part of a team; part of something larger than themselves. 

Actively engage in one-on-one’s look for opportunities to help your employees align their overarching purpose with their role.  Encourage them to also look for opportunities that might provide a sense of purpose while fostering an entrepreneurial mindset.   

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Getting to Know Generation Z: the Entrepreneurial Mindset [Series]

Getting to Know Generation Z [Series]

PART 2: The Entrepreneurial Mindset

An entrepreneurial mindset is not synonymous with becoming an entrepreneur.  Generation Z tends to gravitate toward an Entrepreneurial Mindset; a mindset that has been described by The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship as the skills and behaviors that include initiative and self-direction, risk-taking, flexibility and adaptability, creativity and innovation, and critical thinking and problem-solving.  Others have described an Entrepreneurial Mindset as the ability to see opportunities, organize resources and create value.  Many of these attributes fall into the category of what many leaders feel are missing today in their workforce and would welcome experienced employees who display these skills and behaviors.  Therein lies the question around how to foster and encourage the use of these attributes in someone who is new to the industry.  What are the boundaries for creativity?  How much risk should someone new to the workforce take prior to consulting someone?  And how can we help the entering workforce gain visibly and opportunity in putting their critical thinking and problem-solving skills to work? 

Do you know someone who has an entrepreneurial mindset within your organization today?  How might you coach, teach and mentor them to ensure that these attributes are appreciated and not stifled? 

Click Here for Part 1

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Getting to Know Generation Z: the Intrapersonal and Independent Learners [Series]

Getting to Know Generation Z [Series]

PART 1: The Intrapersonal and Independent Learners

Research described in the book, Generation Z Goes to College by Corey Seemiller portrays Generation Z as having a preference for intrapersonal and independent learning over group work, yet they like to do their work alongside others in a social manner when studying.  Translate that from entering college to entering the workforce, and what does that mean for organizations in how they develop and deliver training, build and modify physical workspace, and collaborate across teams? 

  • Develop and Deliver Training:  Growing up in a time where computer technology has influenced individual on-line learning.  Generation Z is no stranger to independent learning platforms that foster intrapersonal learning; learning that is described as introspective and independent where learners are aware of their own thinking and have the ability to analyze the way in which they think and feel.  Translate this into the formal and informal training environment and organization’s will need to incorporate independent thinking activities and self-reflection activities into training curriculum while providing support and training for working and contributing in group settings. 
  • Build and Modify Physical Workspace:  In an effort to manage costs and increase collaboration, many organizations have already shifted to an open work space environment.  Changes in the physical workspace range from no doors and shorter walls to much larger changes such as assigned work areas where you pick your seat based on availability when you arrive at work.  While these changes are met with mixed feelings from the other 3 generations, to Generation Z, this type of office environment is a natural extension of the educational environment that they have been a part of all of their lives. 
  • Collaboration Across Teams:  Delivering timely and quality products and services to customers requires collaboration across teams.  As on a sports team, work environments require cooperation and a group effort to achieve goals.  Generation Z thrives in social settings that are ripe environments for spontaneous cross collaboration and creativity to generate ideas, while independently working on assigned actions.  Through boundary management and expectation setting, both collaboration and independence can both occur. 

We would love to hear from you.  In what ways does your organization already support these preferences of Generation Z?

Click Here for Part 2

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