Every new Apple release causes panic across businesses, retailers, and consumers around the world. Each new product sets the bar of innovation for competitors and changes consumer preferences dramatically. In order to maintain competitiveness, businesses are forced to keep up and adapt to new trends and technologies.
The same goes for new generations entering the workforce.
Although less frequent, picture the release of new generations into the workforce like a new release from Apple- bringing digital disruption to businesses, who then have to learn and adapt to their new work habits and preferences.
So, who is the next ‘release’ into the workforce? It’s Generation Z, otherwise known as iGen.
Who are they?
Generation Z (iGen) will be the next generation of employees to join the workforce. Their newly defined behaviours and characteristics call for change from workplace management.
Born form the year 2000 until now, Gen Z will represent 20% of the workforce by 2020, primarily in entry-level and part-time jobs. With the said attention span shorter than a goldfish (9 seconds), at only a mere 8 seconds, they take a different approach to learning and working standards. They are true digital natives, with no memory of a time when smartphones didn’t exist. They have never experienced dial-up internet, MySpace, Limewire, or MSN. Technology has never really been a struggle for them… it’s intuitive, it’s fast, and it’s seamlessly integrated into their everyday lives.
How do they affect the business?
With Gen Z representing 22% of the Canadian population alone, it is no question that they will have an impact on how businesses operate. They already have a large influence on businesses as consumers- in the U.S, Gen Z’s collective allowance accounts for an astonishing $44 billion a year, and that doesn’t even account for income from part time jobs. Retailers are shifting to meet these consumers in a more relatable way, introducing technology and digital touchpoints everywhere possible.
As Gen Z begins to enter the workplace, businesses need to make shifts in management styles in order to better engage and motivate their youngest employees. Retailers and restaurants in particular are beginning to hire Gen Z employees in part-time positions. They will primarily consist of teenagers ages 15 to 16, who didn’t grow up watching Saturday morning cartoons and playing Bop It. They’re growing up watching Netflix on their iPads and playing Pokémon Go, so understanding their need for technology will help to create engagement strategies that are best fitted for their lifestyle.
Three ways businesses can engage Gen Z
1. Video Content. With unlimited information available at their fingertips, Gen Z are forced to minimize the quantity of unnecessary information they are exposed to everyday. 85% of Gen Z visit Youtube more than any other website. It has become the second largest search engine in the world, behind google- creating a trend towards video content for learning purposes.
2. Bite-Sized Information. Having the attention span of only 8 seconds means that from a learning standpoint, you have to get your point across quickly. Microlearning is essential for this generation. It is the process of breaking down information into bite sized pieces so that it may be easily understood and quickly absorbed. By using this approach, businesses can assure that they will maintain the attention of their new Gen Z employees
3. Smartphone Apps. Smartphones in the workplace have now transformed from a want to a need for employees. What some employers may view as a distraction, could actually be leveraged as a tool that will help drive engagement, motivation, and long-term benefits for your business. Using apps as a workplace tool, you’ll be able to facilitate communication, create data compilation, and improve employee engagement. Apps like Nudge Rewards can help in providing these benefits for your business, by having employees use their smartphones at work. Gen Z will be using their smartphones at work anyways, so why not leverage this channel to engage, train, and teach them along the way?
iGen is coming into the workforce faster than you may think. Are you ready for their new features? New operating systems? It may be time to start thinking about how your business will adapt. Before you know it, the next generation will be on its way in… and who knows what Apple will be cooking up this time.