Great expectations: facing the demands of the digital generation
Many Gen Z entrants have started their working lives video-conferencing from home in the pandemic. Their technology behaviour will require employers to rethink their office offer in the race for talent, according to a new report from Logitech
Millennials have been reshaping workplace expectations for the past decade. This shift in demographics has created an opportunity for organisations to rethink how they attract and retain the best new talent. However, just as many companies are adapting to the demands of the Millennials (born between 1980 and 1994), a new demographic has emerged into the workforce, equipped with their own list of demands: Gen Z (born 1995 – 2012).
A new report by Logitech – Work, Technology and the Next Generation – explores the expectations of new entrants to the workforce and what this means for organisations hoping to recruit the brightest talent. The report, developed in partnership with WORKTECH Academy, discusses vital differences between Millennials and Generation Z in terms of work styles, ideology and expectations around technology.
Millennials versus Generation Z
Generation Z is often seen as an extension of the Millennial generation. While both generations are considered ‘digital natives’, the two generations differ in terms of behaviour and outlook. This disparity is particularly evident in their attitudes to technology. Generation Zers have never known a world without the internet and social media, they are digital dependants. Technology informs every aspect of their lives from box set streaming to social media and monitoring global news. Generally, Gen Z workers are very visual and video technology is a key feature for them.
‘Gen Z are not awe-struck by what digital technology can offer; they are simply impatient when it under-performs…’
Millennials, on the other hand, feel much safer behind a keyboard or touchpad. While video is important, it does not dominate their social world. Email and instant messaging is their first port of call before video-calling another colleague. While these differentiators may seem small, they impact the potential for collaboration between the two generations in the workplace. As Millennials begin to move into leadership positions, they will need to understand how best to communicate and collaborate with their new Gen Z teams.
The Logitech report goes on to highlight the importance of a video-first approach in the workplace. Not only has this trend accelerated during the global Covid-19 pandemic, it is also of critical importance to the Gen Zers, who are entering the workplace for the first time. Many Gen Z workers will have entered the workforce during the pandemic, working from home using personal video-based services coupled with fast wi-fi. Now that organisations are attempting to coax their workforce back into the office, the selling point will be its ability to offer a better digital experience to the one employees have at home.
Before the pandemic, many offices did not have the video infrastructure to support the level of video-based interaction that Generation Z would expect. Now, organisations have the opportunity to equip their offices to tempt their workforce back into the physical workplace. There was a sense that organisations were beginning to adapt and transform their workspaces for agile working to accommodate Millennial expectations before the pandemic, but now the Gen Z cohort is arriving and tech-enabled spaces are not only an expectation, they are a requirement.
The Gen Z WISH list
The report concludes by outlining a Generation Z WISH list which helps organisations to navigate the needs and expectations of emergent workforce cohorts – WISH stands for Wellness, Individual, Sustainability and an Holistic approach.
As the workplace continues to adapt to the changing expectations of employees, it is clear that the digital demands of Gen Z will take precedent in the post-pandemic workplace. Organisations that have the best chance of success are those that ensure they have the right technologies, tools and working conditions.
Read the full Logitech report, Work, Technology and the Next Generation, here.