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Encountering a New Generation: An exclusive look into Generation Z

Group of young workers sitting at wooden table speaking.

In our Generation Z series, we’ve explored the characteristics, values, and motivators unique to this generation and delved into their educational preferences and drivers. We’ve also examined how this generation interacts with and what it expects from the modern workplace.

And, in our recent post, we took a look at what’s trending among Gen Zs in the workplace, while inferring a few predictions for the future workplace.

Now, we bring you an inside perspective on a Generation Z perspective on the workplace and rising workplace trends in this exclusive interview with a Gen Z.

An exclusive Gen Z conversation

Recent research, polls, and statistics have offered insights into what Generation Z expects from the workplace–and from life.

However, what better way to understand the motivations and drivers of a Gen Z than to ask them ourselves? To that end, we’d like to introduce to you Hayley Jones. Our lead Generation Z Advisor recently sat down with Jones to learn more about her and her experiences in the workplace.

Hayley Jones is a 25-year-old member of Generation Z. Currently residing in the upstate of South Carolina, she spends her days working full-time at two jobs: one as Head Infant Teacher at a local daycare; the other as the sole owner and operator of Hales Berries, LLC.

On education

Education, and specifically university education, is extremely important to Generation Z. Jones herself is a testament to this. Like many members of Generation Z, Jones pursued a university education after high school, obtaining a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of South Carolina-Upstate.

When asked what factors led her to choose this degree, Jones said that she “felt a bachelor’s degree would open more doors” for her in the workplace. Interestingly, her educational path reflects recent research indicating that most Gen Zs pursue a bachelor or master degree–often in Business Administration.

On workplace expectations and values

Every generation has its own workplace ideals, expectations, and priorities. So does Generation Z. Offering her thoughts on the ideal workplace, Jones said, “For me, the ideal workplace consists of a positive work culture with good communication between employees of every level, the ability to have a good work-life balance, support and accountability, and a place where you can grow in various ways.”

Though there’s likely no perfect workplace, certain factors aid us in deciding where we work. For Jones, the factors that matter most to her are location, workplace culture, and pay.. The importance of workplace culture is shared by many Gen Zs, as this Gallup survey found.

Discussing the important of pay as compared to workplace culture, Jones shared:

“Pay is an important factor for me when deciding on a new career path, but I’ll gladly take a slight pay cut for a healthy, enjoyable workplace culture. Although we work to get paid, I value a workplace where my happiness and mental health are as important as my duties.”

Jones’ comment confirms what we know about the Generation Z mindset: they’re far more driven by a workplace’s environment and the effects it may have on their mental health than other factors–even pay.

Having access to a mentor relationship with employers is a much sought after factor in the workplace among Gen Zs. Jones agrees. She, too, values a mentoring relationship with an employer:

“I believe a mentor/mentee approach is best. I believe there should be a level of mutual respect for each other and that each person should take the time to really get to know someone and their strengths, weaknesses, etc.”

Thoughts on workplace trends

One recent trend on the rise among the newest generation of workers is unlimited paid time off. Sharing her opinion, Jones offered this comment:

“In a perfect world, unlimited paid time off sounds great. However, it could cause a lot of issues for the workplace as a whole if proper regulations aren’t put in place. Many workplaces already suffer from being short staffed, so that would be my biggest concern if there were no limit on the amount of days someone could be off and paid for. On the other hand, many workplaces do not offer enough paid time off and are not always understanding of unfortunate life circumstances that are out of employees’ control.”

Another trend that has transformed the workplace–especially during the pandemic–is remote work. So how does this Gen Z feel about remote work? As Jones puts it:

“I think working remotely is a great option for many individuals and can help create a positive work-life balance. I would most likely take a job that gave me the option to have a hybrid schedule over one that did not.”

Gen Z defined

Because every generation displays unique characteristics, it can be difficult for those on the outside to understand the newest generation of workers. It’s important, then, to invite new generations to define themselves. With that in mind, Jones offered what she believes are defining characteristics of Generation Z: “”Entrepreneurial, tech-savvy, diverse, and accepting”. Her perspective supports recent Deloitte research that revealed Generation Z to be a generation of inclusion and acceptance.

To employers and members of preceding generations, Jones offered this advice:

“I think it’s important for other generations to know that this new generation places importance on mental health and well-being in every aspect of their life– more than previous generations have. We speak up and stand up for what we believe in more than has been done in the past. We are cautious of our financial and life decisions. We make mistakes, but we are learning.”

A primer for employers

In an ever-changing market in a volatile world, one thing is certain: Generation Zs will become the leaders of our companies, our communities, and our country. Organizations that take action now to learn about, understand, and adapt to the unique values and expectations Gen Zs offer the workplace will likely fare well as this up-and-coming generation fills our workplaces. . Organizations that don’t could be sidelined.

Our Generation Z: An Employer’s Primer is designed to help business leaders, like you, get to know this invaluable workforce resource better. What’s more, this primer is entirely on us.

Looking for more resources on Generation Z? Check out our Gen Z Video series, or delve into our Gen Z Blog Series.

And, be sure to check out Hayley Jones’ independently owned and operated Hales Berries, LLC.

© 2023 The Growth Group, LLC - All rights reserved.

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