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Over the past few years, businesses have done exceptionally well to create workplaces and working experiences that support not one but two distinct generations: Generation X and Generation Y. However, what organisations must be aware of is that Generation Z are now starting to build their own careers… and it’s just 7 years until the oldest members of Generation Alpha are sending their CVs in!

So… is your business ready for the next generation?

Acknowledging Differences

Equality has long been important in the workplace. However, with another new generation entering the workforce, the term ‘equality’ is becoming somewhat redundant. Quite simply, businesses can’t afford to treat everyone in exactly the same way. They must be ready and willing to acknowledge the differences in the next generation and build equitable processes that both satisfy and delight.

One of the biggest mistakes that a business can make over the next few years is to keep on using the same recruitment processes, the same onboarding techniques, and the same retention practises as they used for Millennials. It’s time to adapt to ensure you’re attracting the right talent and getting the most from your resources.

Preparing for Success

An important question for businesses to be asking today is ‘what does the next generation want?’. There’s no single answer. But here are some things to consider:

  • Shifting the meaning of ‘culture’

‘Culture’ in the workplace is often used to refer to the hiring of people who fit in. Until recently, it’s been important for employees to get along. But Generation Z don’t need to be friends with everyone to communicate, collaborate, and work together.

Research shows that Gen Z-ers are much more willing than previous generations to join forces with those with different views to work towards a shared goal, which means businesses should be building a value-based, not popularity-based culture.

  • Investing in wellbeing

Reports suggest that Generation Z have lower levels of emotional wellbeing than Gen X and Millennials.  And it’s not surprising. They were born into an economy facing a financial crisis, and are trying to launch a career during a global health crisis!

If you haven’t already started to incorporate wellbeing into your processes, now is the time. It’s important for businesses to understand the impact of burnout, identify the signs of poor mental health, and implement measures to support employees.

  • Introducing role flexibility

Generation Z are focused on getting the job done… regardless of how they do it. They’re results-driven, not process-driven. Not only do Gen Z-ers want to be able to work independently, they also don’t want to be restricted by title or department.

One factor that businesses today may wish to consider is organisational structure. While hierarchy is important, the value of structure is declining. More flexibility for employees to drive results through flexible means could help to attract new talent.

  • Moving away from tradition

Organisations have typically not looked upon remote working favourably. However, the pandemic demonstrated that businesses can certainly thrive even without an office full of workers, and flexibility is likely to become a top candidate preference.

In fact, more than half of all Gen Z-ers say they’d consider quitting a job if unable to work from home at least part of the time. Where possible and practical, businesses should be striving to move away from tradition and embrace modern practises.

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