Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Gen Z – How will You Handle Them?

In college, while sitting in my Social Psychology class, I had studied the importance that the environment plays in building someone’s personality. Today, I am experiencing it. We have had differences with our parents, elders, teachers and the like in the past; however, what we did not realize then was the difference in values, thoughts and interests between them and us. All generations look at (say), gender biases, music, family, work, etc…in different ways, which seem perfect for them individually, but flawed for others.

Generation Z or the Internet Connected Generation, is by far the newest and most complex pedigree that humanity is experiencing. Before I share my thoughts on handling Gen Z in the corporate world, it is imperative for us to understand few basic traits of Gen Y, i.e. what WE bring to the table.

One of the most accomplished generations with respect to professionalism, dynamism, knowledge and perspicacity, Gen Y is known to be ethnically and racially diverse. They believe in being committed to a brand until something titanically negative happens. They believe in leading their life their way; however, also ensuring that it is in line with the family / corporate values and norms. They ensure that they are involved with their community and in other social development passions. Not only this, education plays a very important role in their life. At the workplace, they believe in achieving targets as a team. Gen Y also believes in sharing ‘Best Practices’ with each other.

Looking at these areas, lets see where Gen Z stands and more than anything else, how will you handle them when they start working with you.

Gen Z is full of competition and this attribute is what Gen Y (Parents) is creating in them. A sense of individualism is what we will get to see. To ensure teamwork, you may have to put in lots of extra innovative effort as a manager. They will do anything to stick to their identity…”Watch it! They are like Glassware, HandleWith Care”.

Since they were born in the era where they were surrounded with their parents’ smart phones, tablets, LCD’s, etc… expect them to be very smart and unbeatable at technical expertise and that is why they are called ‘Digital Natives’. Once they hit the corporate world, you will realize that everything for them needs to be digitized and manual work will be shrugged away. Be prepared to see those open doors of super-fast communication that we keep knocking as of today. Their cognitive ability will be at lightning speed. At every step they will challenge the status quo and will start putting a question mark on the traditional ways of working by labeling them as archaic.

Gen Z is ‘plugged in’ 24 x 7 and they breathe technology. Multitasking for them is as easy as pie. Keep them stimulated at all times to relish their high production levels.

Z-yer’s believe in experiential learning. You cannot just tell them that they were right or wrong…give them valid reasons, quoting instances. They like to be made accountable for things, so give them responsibilities, but also ensure to stay at the background. Bossism does not work with this pedigree. Give them logic for all that needs to be done.

Early to the corporate world is what this genre believes in. They are ok to continue with their studies alongside work. It will become very challenging for organizations to successfully absorb the best candidate. For these applicants, what was a new development a year back, is now basic necessity. Companies will have to attract them not only monetarily, but also through other employee benefit schemes, etc.

Public reprimand is absolutely intolerable for Z-yer’s. You do that as a manager and be sure to lose them. In stead, work on their positives and subtly, yet firmly share the ‘what’ aspect in their areas of improvement along with the ‘how to improve’ plan. Share constructive feedback with them. Very soon we may witness the so-called one-time appraisal process becoming biannual or quarter-based, as this generation will look for regular inputs and a concrete, realistic self-growth chart for their enhancement.

The power to make radical changes is in the hands of this coming generation, so hone their skills accordingly. They should know when to get aggressive and when to get assertive. They may sound like trouble, but given the right working environment you can harness the best of this generation and let them lead your business into the future.


  1. Dear Rosy,
    Thanks a lot for this interesting article. l completely agree with every words...

  2. There is another similar good article about Generation Y, which i recently read, so thought of sharing the same.


    Aditya Grover