by Andi Croft
As we move further into the 2020s, new and ambitious generations of professionals will come to the forefront of startups around the world. Gen Z represents the generation born between 1997 and 2012, following in the footsteps of millennials who came before them.
According to the World Economic Forum projections, around 27% of the global workforce will be made up of Gen Z by 2025, prompting CEOs and managers to rethink their hiring, onboarding, and engagement pipelines. What does Gen Z bring to the table in terms of expectations, skill sets, and career plans? How will they contribute to the future of startups as we know them? Let’s find out.
1. Strong Feelings About Job Expectations
One of the things Gen Z professionals feel strongly about is the job expectations they’re about to face. When onboarding Gen Z individuals, it’s crucial that you communicate their job descriptions to them. They don’t like being kept in the dark about what exactly they’re supposed to do in your company. This can be somewhat difficult in startup environments where many job positions are fluid when it comes to responsibilities.
However, at least some duties associated with a job position should be made clear from the start to retain Gen Z individuals. Failing to do so will result in them looking for work elsewhere or voicing their concerns over what was discussed and promised during initial job interviews. This isn’t an unrealistic expectation, but it will push many CEOs and managers to rethink hiring people for their startups.
2. Independence over Teamwork
Gen Z prefers to work alone instead of working in tightly-knit groups. While this may seem antithetical to startup cultures, Gen Z is ideally suited to work as specialists in various fields. According to Yahoo! Finance, Gen Z isn’t interested in working in industries like retail, education, or different government sectors. This makes Gen Z professionals ideally suited for positions like SEO specialist, graphic designer, customer support agent, etc.
Job positions that allow individuals to thrive based on their own merits are exactly what these professionals are looking for. Melissa Mauro, content manager at TrustMyPaper, says: “When it comes to interpersonal communication and business writing (emails, etc.), they can use the quality essay services to help them out with writing. Gen Z prefers to speak instead of texting, making collaboration a bit difficult, making them far more suitable for an independent, specialist work placement within startups.”
3. Smartphone App Reliant
While they don’t prefer to chat with their colleagues and acquaintances outright, Gen Z people love to use smartphone apps. Productivity apps, note apps, and various other applications created to make life more convenient are very popular with the Gen Z crowd.
If you’re a startup working on a smartphone app of your own, Gen Z is very likely to be intrigued by working on it and apply for your job listings. Likewise, if you’re using an internal app for remote project management and job delegation, your Gen Z employees will love using it. Smartphone apps are an irreplaceable part of everyday Gen Z life, and as a startup manager, you should consider this before onboarding them.
4. A Competitive Spirit
Gen Z loves to compete with one another, which can translate well into working with others in a startup. The Gen Z crowd is competitive by nature, and you can use this to your advantage to design unique reward and KPI tracking systems in your company.
By enticing Gen Z individuals with various metrics to keep track of, you’ll be able to engage them and retain them for longer. This is particularly useful during onboarding, where you can create specific tutorial mechanisms and tests for Gen Z professionals to go through. They don’t prefer working in a team, so hiring Gen Z specialists and tracking their performance via creative KPIs will certainly help keep them engaged.
5. Open to Long-Term Commitment
When a Gen Z professional feels connected to a project or a cause, they’ll be very likely to give it all. This is great for long-term employment prospects since Gen Z is not interested in short-term commitments. Instead, they love working on projects long-term and doing their best to see things through.
This is an excellent prospect for startups since many startups work on launching various platforms, websites, and apps. Having a dedicated group of Gen Z individuals working on a certain product long-term will make them familiar with the ins and outs of your project.
6. Work Schedule Flexibility
Lastly, Gen Z isn’t bound by traditional 9-to-5 job expectations. Instead, they’re open to remote work, hybrid work, and other arrangements if they’re made upfront. This makes it easy for startups to hire Gen Z professionals from abroad and have them work online, for example. However, some Gen Z will prefer working in the office, so there are no rules as to what works and doesn’t work.
What’s essential is that Gen Z professionals are flexible and open to discussing anything you might need as an employer. As long as you respect their expectations and present your ideas openly and without leaving anything unsaid, there’s very little they won’t go for in terms of work arrangements.
The presence of Gen Z professionals in startups around the world is nothing short of transformative and a net positive. These individuals are passionate about the causes they contribute to and have strong feelings about the kinds of companies they want to work in. Most importantly, they harken back to before social media and instant messaging, often preferring to speak directly with their colleagues and managers rather than write to them.
If you’re looking for independent individuals who think outside the proverbial box, hiring Gen Z professionals is the way to go. Only time will tell what the generation following Gen Z will look like in the professional sense. Until then, it’s high time to embrace all the quirks and intricacies tied to working with Generation Z.
Andi Croft is a freelance writer interested in topics related to business, technology, and travel. She has a passion for meeting people from all walks of life and bringing along the latest tech to enhance her adventures.