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Is Your Organization Ready For Generation Z?

You see them in trams, on squares and in trendy coffee tents. Their cell phones and other cuddly screens are always in hand. Swiping, making selfies and whatsappend. And they don't care about the hierarchical power relations. No idea what it's about? About Generation Z.

The elders of generation Z (born between 1992 and 2012) are already entering the labor market, and you find the youth spoiled, then brace yourself because now the workforce is shrinking, the government is withdrawing and the technology is developing faster than ever, will we really need this new tech generation.

Born networkers

Generation Z consists of born networkers who will enforce drastic changes in the way we currently work. This generation grows up in a 24/7 information society and has few limitations, can quickly find information and filter and zap through life. In the meantime, political and economic relations are changing, natural sources are coming under further pressure, and confidence in large multinationals is also decreasing.

Other pecking order

Institutions that have traditionally been able to count on respect will have to deal with the innate distrust of generation Z. This generation holds them responsible for the irresponsible way in which economic and natural sources have been dealt with. Moreover, she is used to negotiating and deciding with her from home. Hierarchical relations, where ownership is undesirable, the generation hardly knows. She knows a very different pecking order. This generation is part of social networks, in which everyone, irrespective of the position, is directly approachable. Whoever adds the most value to the network deserves the most respect regardless of age or position.

Organizations are also seen by them as networks. Every member of a well-functioning and attractive network forms a crucial link within the whole. If the (online) reputation of this network isn't good, young people will not want to be part of it. And one thing is certain: Window-dressing is counter-productive because they look right through it.

An organization that wants to make optimum use of the talents of young and old, the old-fashioned work ethic - be present, do what the boss says, keep your mouth and remain loyal to your company - must be replaced by a "network ethos" where "the manager" young and old supports and inspires. The requirement to be present if this isn't strictly necessary, as well as lack of ownership, will no longer be accepted by this generation. Commuters prefer to do as little as possible and in other areas this generation is less willing to sacrifice the balance between work and private life to the career. Young people decide for themselves where and when they do and they don't intend to change this because they have entered into an employment contract.

Will your organization suffer from this?

Perhaps. Are the relationships within your organization still very hierarchical and the presence culture is still leading, then it'll take a while. But if your organization is already experimenting with new ways of working, then the arrival of this generation will mainly be a stimulating factor to really do it differently. Greener and focused on adding value with transparent communication and reward structures. Perhaps your organizations will become even faster an organization that contributes to the whole and therefore earns the most respect (and market share).
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