With only half of Hong Kong employees believing that their organisation is well prepared to meet the demands of Generation Z – according to Randstad Hong Kong’s Workmonitor survey 2015 – it’s fair to say there’s work to do.
Let’s look at this new generation; what opportunities (and challenges) they bring compared to those that went before them and how HK businesses can integrate them into the workforce.
More connected than ever before, Generation Z has had an instinctive use of tablets and smartphones since day one. The increasing ease, affordability and practicality of technology has been coupled with progressive education curriculums that include coding, resulting in a generation who are ambitious, super-savvy and well prepared for today’s digitally connected world of work.
Generation Z-ers are empowered. As technology has evolved to give every user a voice, from ‘likes’ to online news, to shopping and debate, democracy is something that Generation Z will simply expect from whatever organisation they pitch up in. Drawn to careers that combine an ability to make a personal, meaningful impact with good financial reward and a flexible work-life balance, the concept of a glass ceiling has little relevance to these individuals with 84 per cent saying they are aiming for the top jobs [Randstad Survey 2017].
Here are my top five things Hong Kong businesses can do to welcome Generation Z, maximise their potential and integrate them into the workforce:
A work life that has meaning - Nearly 75 per cent of Generation Z believe that work should have a greater meaning [Monster global survey 2016], with only 37 per cent of Generation Z in China naming money as their main source of happiness [OMG China 2016]. A clear organisational purpose (with greater meaning than financial), a business strategy that gives back and a flexible working culture will go a long way.
Open, easy communication - It’s all about open, accessible, transparent and two-way communication for Generation Z. They want to know how they fit into the business strategy, challenge that strategy with new ideas and play a part in the future development of the company. Create the right platforms to make that happen.
Human connections and lots of feedback - Generation Z may have grown up with texting, emailing and social media, but they’re still looking for face-to-face communication on the job. They want genuine connections that go beyond technology, as well as authentic and frequent feedback. Ensure your people managers are trained and ready.
Mixing through mentorship - A great way of maximising productivity in a multi-generational workforce is through mentorship, where older workers pass on knowledge and leadership skills, while the younger generations share fresh perspectives, particularly when it comes to technology.
Talent development - Upward mobility for Generation Z is a hot topic across Hong Kong. To keep this generation switched on, employers will need to provide rich learning opportunities, forward thinking approaches to performance management and recognition and rapid advancement opportunities. Generation Z wants to learn.
To successfully integrate Generation Z into the workplace, employers need to understand their motivations, strengths and weaknesses and work out how to balance these against the perspectives, skillsets and work styles that already exist. We say to all of our clients in Asia that one of the best ways to do this is by asking them - because there’s nothing this generation loves more than to play a part in the development of its own destiny.
Jane Sparrow is a culture expert, author and founder and director at The Culture Builders.
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