How often do you see a young person’s fingers moving at the speed of light tapping on their cell phone screens? It’s not a secret that Generation Z is the most tech savvy in the world today. We use the Internet solely for communicating with others, keeping up with the latest and greatest around town, and expressing our feelings through digital words. We are often referred to as the iGeneration for the reason that we use our iPhones to communicate with others that may be sitting right next to us. (Yes, that really does happen.) It can definitely be useful in our society today, but isn’t there a key component we are missing? It has been said that Generation Z-ers lack face-to-face communication skills. Have you ever been talking to a young person and suddenly see their eyes glaze over? We aren’t listening. This generation struggles with paying attention for long periods of time, so when they hear something outside their zone of interest, CLICK!, ears turn off and our day-dreaming begins.
Generation Z are those just entering the workplace. They are the ones that will be running the world in just a few short decades. I think it’s important to get a sneak peek into the way Generation Z is living in order to understand how they will function in the workplace. Growing up in the age of technology, cell phones, iPods, laptops, and most importantly, the Internet, were all items that nearly every kid had the privilege of owning. Because of this, we struggle building relationships in person, but texting or typing on a computer is something that comes naturally. Forced to speak in front of an audience? This is many in Generation Z’s worst nightmare due to our “speak through a computer” lifestyle. We seek instant gratification; we want to finish the task RIGHT NOW! The Internet gives us this gratification and anything outside of that computer screen makes us restless.
On the other hand, what is unique about Generation Z that will completely change the outlook on life in the workplace with us? We have a completely different vision and dream of what we can do and how we can do it. We are great multi-taskers and can juggle many different tasks all at once. Studies have shown that in the next 10 years Generation Z-ers will be working jobs that today we can’t even imagine. This will be made possible because of the unique skill sets we possess that make us well-rounded individuals. Give us something to do that will be productive for both us and the company as a whole, fantastic! We desire to be given tasks that will keep us busy so we won’t get bored and become un-useful. We need specific goals and something to strive for in order to feel successful.
How can YOU as employers engage us? 1. Focus on building relationships with us. We work well in small work groups with others that have similar interests. 2. Give us clearly defined roles with strict instructions and structured schedules. 3. “Eyes on the prize.” Show us the end goal to the projects we are working on and how they affect the company as a whole. 4. Give us jobs that create excitement while also maintaining that sense of organization and productivity. As they say, “12 is the new 20,” and we will progress faster than any other generation thus far has. My generation has a diverse outlook on life, but we are focused on changing the world to make it a better place for both ourselves, as well as those around us.
“Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation. You will have opportunities beyond anything we’ve ever known.”
Katie Samson is a senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in Advertising & Public Relations. She is participating in the Intern program at C&A Industries, working in several different departments and on a wide range of projects. Katie is a social media guru who has a passion for finding just what makes others unique, and helping them bring out their best characteristics. When Katie is not working, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, running, and hanging out on the lake.