Just when organizations have finally gotten comfortable designing tech for Millennials and hiring them, it’s already time to focus on the next generation and how they will affect the tech industry. Generation Z are those born in the mid 1990’s through the mid 2000’s, and they actually outnumber Millennials in America with over 60 million enjoying technology and entering the workforce.
As the first true digital natives, their impact cannot be underestimated. Here is how the tech industry must adapt to Generation Z.
Privacy and Trust
Generation Z has grown up with more connectivity than any prior generation, and as such they are on hyper alert when it comes to digital privacy. While Millennials are aware and worried about privacy issues, those in Generation Z are even more concerned, with 63% worried about protecting their identity. Tech companies need to recognize this increased concern for privacy and take it into account when creating new apps, devices, and programs.
When it comes to trust, Generation Z relies on personal references over traditional reviews and is skeptical of outside influence. For a tech organization that is looking to hire the oldest members of this generation as they currently graduate college, this is of the utmost importance. A solid employment reference program can help encourage any Gen Z employees you hire to bring their friends aboard. More broadly speaking, when selling and designing tech, this level of trust also affects the social component of any program or technological device.
The influence of social media on Generation Z is one of the biggest factors in how its members should be approached. Open to divulging many private details, they want the power to decide which personal facts to share and where to share them. They prefer communication that doesn’t leave trails, such as Snapchat, and are more likely to use smartphones in social settings. 42% say that social media has a direct impact on how they feel about themselves.
This relationship with social media means many things for the tech industry. Once again, it is information that must be taken into account as new technology emerges. In order to succeed, social aspects must be written into new applications and software. Implementing stringent user privacy controls with transparency specific to social sharing is also essential. Generation Z will be looking for this in any emerging tech that they decide to use or cast aside, and their collective decision can spell success or failure for a product launch.
Given their digital nature, many in Generation Z may be more inclined to consider online learning over traditional learning in looking to further their education. Online learning may feel more intuitive to them as nearly all of the social interactions in online programs happen digitally. This predisposition to social media and technology also necessitates a closer look at Generation Z as potential tech employees.
Hiring Generation Z
As Generation Z begins to graduate college and enter the workforce, it is absolutely essential to consider them in a new light when it comes to hiring. These new workers value benefitting the larger world, immediate benefits, and customized career paths. Such desires need to be taken seriously and attended to in the hiring, onboarding, and ongoing employee management process.
Make clear how your organization contributes to society, whether through direct operations or by providing paid volunteering time off to your staff. Consider offering partial repayment of student loans. Enact a mentorship program for new employees so that they can be guided into the personalized career path they want by experienced managers. Encourage work life balance in their new IT role. In other words, think outside of the box and away from stale practices. Ensure that Generation Z feels like they can fit into a new job, and they will reward you with their talent and expertise in all things digital.
Adapt to Generation Z
While it would surely be easier for a company to put off considering Generation Z, it would be wise to instead plan for the future that they will bring to the tech industry. Change can be difficult, but if an organization takes charge now before the full force of Generation Z ages into society, then that change can be a positive one. The digital intuitiveness that the next generation will bring, both as tech consumers and IT employees, will breathe a new life into an evolving industry.