Generation Z

a Generation set apart from others
In combination with younger Millennials, our work environments are once again to be faced with a new onslaught of necessary change as Generation Z enters the workforce.

For several years businesses around the world have spent billions of dollars to effectively engage and accommodate the Millennial generation and their difference in methodological approach to business. It is stated that the Millennial generation is by far the most researched generation to date, yet many businesses are still struggling to ensure healthy relational interactions and engagement between generations in the workplace.

Right on the heels of the Millennial generation we find Generation Z, or just Gen Z, or as some would prefer; iGen.

This generation is not the same as the Millennials, nor can the same strategies be applied as we prepare for a healthy way to engage and accommodate them in our work environments.

Gen Z is a generation currently between the ages of 12 - 20 (South African context). This might, and ‘is’ different for various countries and geographical regions as generations are not by definition defined by age, but rather by their uniqueness in behavior.

However, early research studies already done about this generation indicates that in combination with the younger Millennials, our work environments are once again to be faced with a new onslaught of necessary change. Change that will determine our relevance and ability to create space for new ways of thinking and application.

Generation Z and their relation to Technology

Gen Z is the first generation that does not know a world without technology. From the day they can remember technology has been part of their lives and used in various formats to automate their lifestyle. It is therefore safe to say that Generation Z is not as much ‘tech-savvy’ as they are ‘tech-depended’, and should this be a key component within every business’ strategy when engaging with them.

Four essential cultural values

Another core component for engaging healthily with Gen Z, and for all generations in that matter, is to be cautious about labeling. Various studies have indicated that although part of a broader group expression of behavior, each individual remains unique in their application of the behavioral trend. Generation Z is extremely sensitive towards this and requires a fare opportunity to proof themselves before being labeled and categorized.

A third and final point of interest for this conversation is the reality that every generation, including Gen Z, are searching for a much greater expression of authenticity when engaging with the long-term vision of the organisation.

In our study done, we have discovered four(4) essential cultural expressions of authenticity in the workplace, and it is proving itself to become an advantageous element towards:

- Increased productivity,
- Increased communication,
- Increased creativity, and
- Increased collaboration.

When each of the four cultural expressions are applied in a relational context to each other, an overall culture is developed within the organisation to engage more effectively with and between each generation; creating the perfect platform for the development of a healthy InterGenerational work environment’.
The survival of every business and organisation relies on the effectiveness in which they intentionally engage and create space within their existing work environments for generations such as Gen Z.
Adriaan is a futuristic thinker towards Organisational Development within the context of Generational Behaviour patterns.

He is the founding director of the 'Generation Index' and is passionate about Africa and her people. Over his 23 years of cross-border travels, he had the opportunity to visit close to 40 nations, of which the majority were in Africa. His travels and interactions with business and the 'not-for-profit' sector helped him to realise the immense disconnect between generations within the workplace, and the incredible loss of intellectual knowledge due to the lack of engagement between younger and older.

Adriaan believes that Africa is an awakening giant and that her full potential can be realised through her majority population; the young people (67% under the age of 25).

Adriaan holds a Masters degree in Global Leadership; Intercultural Studies from the University of Gloucester, UK.

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