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Human Resources: the generation Z at work

Tourism Monitoring Network, Transat Tourism Chair

They’re expecting to work with the latest technologies, but prioritize face to face communication. They demand flexibility in hours and methods… Will the Z shake up the workplace just like the Y did before them?

Rédigé par Claudine Barry translated by Joséphine Foucher le Jeudi 11 Juin 2015

Most of the Z would like to make their hobby their work. They express consciousness towards the environment and social commitment of individuals and companies. © lenets_tan -
Most of the Z would like to make their hobby their work. They express consciousness towards the environment and social commitment of individuals and companies. © lenets_tan -
Young people born after 1995 (or 1990, depending on sources) that make up the generation Z are beginning to enter the job market.

Experts analyze their behavior globally as well as that of the adolescents who constitute tomorrow’s workforce.

What do they aspire to?

A pyramid hierarchy, codes of conduct instituted by older adults, orders; all of that is outdated in the eyes of 16 to 20 year olds.

Surveys conducted by the companies BNP and Ford indicated that 50 to 72% of these young people are expecting to get into the business world. The word “enterprise” has have a rather negative connotation to them since it refers to terms such as “complicated” and “ruthless.”

Most of the Z would like to turn their hobby into their work. They show sensitivity towards the environment and social commitments of individuals and companies alike.

According to a study conducted by the American firm Sparks & Honey, one fourth of young people between 16 and 19 do volunteer work. Children of the economic crisis and of discourse around climate change, they have a rather realistic attitude towards the future, less optimistic than the Ys.

Offer flexibility

Born in the digital era, the Z generation knows how to profit from technologies to gain in efficiency. It aspires to finding a balance between personal an professional life.

Since technological tools create a line that is more and more blurry between these two dimensions, the Z expect flexibility from their employer in terms of hours, but also their work location, when possible. Considering their high resourcefulness, they want to be given some freedom to reach their goals.

As suggests Éric Delcroix, adviser in human resources, fix yourself objectives and let them find a way to reach them. The results could be surprising.

Their technological know-how is part of their identity, or at least their culture. The possibilities that new technologies offer are plentiful and the Z hope to integrate them in their way of working.

By offering them a degree of freedom to this effect, by enabling them to consult social networks during work hours, they will be grateful to you. Especially since they hate the idea of not being connected.

Exploit their entrepreneurial itch

They need challenges to not get bored.

Provide them with projects, additional responsibilities that are on par with their centers of interest, such as the elaboration of a campaign on social media or the management of the company’s blog.

While other workers could perceive these functions are over-work, many Z find pleasure and feel more implicated in the organization thanks to these visible actions.

Keeping the Z in the company will be a major challenge. They need to see possibilities for growth, to be stimulated by training and improvement to not turn to another organization that will bring them more in the long run.

Dialogue, openness, and transparence

A study of Ipsos Reid and Randstad Canada bring forth that successful brands amongst young people are those that developed a bidirectional dialogue.

The authors believe that it will be the same in the job market. Companies have to give them the chance of expressing themselves and they must listen to them.

The mobilization of employees will go through this dialogue, the sharing of ideas, and a true possibility of integrating those within the company. The Z are creative and have to feel that they’re participating in the organization’s success.

In this spirit of dialogue, the Z valorize a mentorship approach. The Ipsos Reid and Randstad survey reveals that 34% of the surveyed between 16 and 20 years old especially hope that their boss accompanies them and gives them regular feedback.

Furthermore, the capacity to communicate proves to be the most looked for capacity in a leader, far beyond honesty, confidence, commitment, vision, and patience. Meaning, the mentor is there to answer their questions, accompanies and supports them in their professional advancement.

According to that same study, face to face conversation proves to be the best way to communicate at work for the Z. A videoconference (Skype, Facetime etc.), allowing a visual contact, has made the Z used to see their counterpart, whereas the Y are more inclined to communicate by email at work.

Be informed

Of course, these are all generalities.

But better acclimate the most rapidly possible to the major trends that will paint the workplace in the next few years rather than ending up flabbergasted, as companies did when the Y generation arrived in their workforce.

Tourism Monitoring Network, Transat Tourism Chair - Human Resources: the generation Z at work


- Alsop, Ronald. « Why bosses won’t like generation Z », BBC, 5 mars 2015.

- Benhamou, Laurence. « Génération Z, écran total », La Presse, 11 février 2015.

- De San Isidoro, Adrian. « Comment manager la génération Z », Journal du Net, 16 mars 2015.

- Gioia, Joice. « Preparing for generation Z », Hotel Business Review, article consulté le 19 mars 2015.

- Randstad Canada. « De Y à Z : le guide sur la prochaine génération d’employés », 2015.

- Schmouker, Olivier. « Tout, absolument tout, sur la génération Z! », Les Affaires, 2 mars 2015.

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Tags : generation z

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