Every generation brings change to the workforce, some create subtle ripples while others introduce a seismic shift to the working world. Generation Z, those born between 1997-2013 who will comprise 30% of the workforce by 2030, fall into the latter category—but in a spectacularly positive way that could change the way recruitment professionals attract talent.
Gen Z workers possess a unique entrepreneurial spirit that hasn’t been seen in the past few generations. In fact, we’re already seeing it. This generation’s mindset is characterized by a need for autonomy, a passion for innovation, and a willingness to take calculated risks in order to stand apart. To tap into the full potential of the generation currently emerging in the workforce, organizations must understand and support Gen Z’s unwavering entrepreneurial spirit. Keep scrolling to discover some ways to best use and attract this generation’s talents.
Understanding Gen Z’s Mindset
Gen Zers have grown up with rapid technological advancement, economic uncertainty (including a global pandemic), and 24/7 access to news and information at their fingertips. These factors have shaped their values and expectations, contributing to a distinctly entrepreneurial spirit. Unlike previous generations that prioritized job security and stability, Gen Z workers prioritize autonomy, value innovation and seize opportunities to make a meaningful impact.
- Desire for Autonomy – Gen Zers crave independence and control over their work. They are highly motivated by autonomous decision-making and shaping their own professional journeys. Traditional hierarchies of top-down management do not resonate well with this generation, making it important that organizations rethink their approach with autonomy in mind.
- Passion for Innovation – Born into the digital age, Gen Z is the most tech-savvy generation to date and therefore naturally inclined to embrace new innovations. They are also quick to identify areas of improvement, and harnessing that tendency can lead to disruptive ideas in the workplace.
- Willingness to Take Risks – Gen Zers are not afraid to take calculated risks and experiment. They’re able to learn from their failures and pivot when something doesn’t go their way. By creating a work environment that encourages smart risk-taking without consequences for failure, they are encouraged to think innovatively and try again.
Organizations tapping into the entrepreneurial spirit of Gen Zers will no doubt experience game-changing results. Gen Zers’ passion for innovation and their natural instinct to think outside the box will lead to the development of groundbreaking new products, never-before-offered services and creative solutions to persistent problems. By fostering work cultures that embrace their unique qualities, businesses can position themselves as agile and forward-thinking companies, attracting Gen Z workers and reaping the benefits of what they have to offer.
Fostering a Culture of Innovation and Creativity
Creating the ideal work culture that nurtures Gen Zers’ strengths can take many forms. Companies should consider encouraging brainstorming sessions where employees across all levels of the organization can share ideas and insights. Formalized idea competitions also serve as an effective way to foster innovation and creativity, with the winner’s idea put into motion as a legitimate company initiative. Develop workforce programs that present opportunities for continuous improvement and learning, upskilling, mentorship, and exposure to new technologies to keep Gen Zers engaged and invested in their professional growth. Any efforts that foster a growth mindset culture, where learning, taking on challenges, and embracing failure are all part of the process, will demonstrate to Gen Zers that they are a fit for your company.
Empowering Autonomy and Decision-Making
Gen Zers crave autonomy, which is perhaps the biggest change to the modern-day workforce, which still prioritizes hierarchy and weekly 1:1 check-in meetings to monitor work and progress. However, Gen Zers are steadfast in their desire to self-govern their work in accordance with their own morality and how they work most productively.
To meet their needs, move away from hierarchical structures and adopt a flatter organizational model that creates a more even playing field. This change encourages open communication and collaboration and empowers employees to take ownership of their projects. Institute distributed decision-making, where changes are made at various levels of the organization and not just at the top. This empowers Gen Z employees to make decisions based on their expertise and can lead to faster and more innovative problem-solving. This sense of ownership motivates Gen Zers to take initiative and deliver meaningful results.
Creating Intrapreneurship Opportunities
Intrapreneurship is a system that encourages employees to act like an entrepreneur even though they’re working within an organization. For Gen Zers, this gives them a sense of ownership over their work and encourages their entrepreneurial endeavors. Encourage Gen Zers to develop and pitch their innovative ideas, providing them with the necessary resources and support to turn their concepts into reality. Create a supportive environment where failure is seen as an opportunity to learn and grow, so your Gen Z workers feel confident in taking risks and innovating.
Use Technology and Digital Platforms
Any opportunity to incorporate technology into the workplace will be received favorably by Gen Zers. Establish innovation labs where employees can experiment with new technologies and explore their ideas. Use digital collaboration tools that facilitate real-time communication between employees and cross-functional teams. Also, consider embracing crowdsourcing platforms that allow employees to contribute ideas, provide feedback, and collaborate.
Leveraging technology is key for Gen Zers when it comes to the hiring process. They expect a multi-channel approach to communications, leveraging text, email, and video calls throughout the process. Prioritizing multiple forms of technology during the hiring process helps Gen Zers understand that you are a tech-centric company.
Leveraging Gen Zers’ entrepreneurial spirit is crucial for driving innovation and staying competitive in the workplace of the near future. With a big change in mentality from the previous generations, organizations are currently finding it difficult to incorporate Gen Zers into their workforce—with 74% of hiring managers saying they are the most difficult generation to deal with in the workplace. However, the changes required to attract these workers will come with qualities that will benefit companies in various ways. By making these mind shifts, organizations will find themselves positioned as industry leaders attracting the brightest young minds, who will help them realize success well into the future.
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