GenZ Doesn’t Want Your Stupid Millennial Office Happy Hour!

Guess what 2018 will be the year GenZ’s get us to stop talking about Millennials and this just in, all those ‘after hour’ work happy hours you think your employees love so much, well, GenZ hates them and they’ll hate you for expecting them to go to them!

Hello, Employee Experience! Turns out all of us don’t like the same things, and GenZ is much more cautious and career-focused than their much older Millennial peers. A recent article in Wired had this to say:

The college student survey allows a more precise look at in-person social interaction, as it asks students how many hours a week they spend on those activities. College students in 2016 (These are GenZ, not Millennials)  (vs. the late 1980s) spent four fewer hours a week socializing with their friends and three fewer hours a week partying—so seven hours a week less on in-person social interaction. That means iGen’ers (or GenZ) were seeing their friends in person an hour less a day than GenX’ers and early Millennials did. An hour a day less spent with friends is an hour a day less spent building social skills, negotiating relationships, and navigating emotions. Some parents might see it as an hour a day saved for more productive activities, but the time has not been replaced with homework; it’s been replaced with screen time.

Basically, GenZs don’t want your forced socialization. They would rather be at home gaming, watching Netflix or hanging out in much smaller more intimate settings. So, your weekly office happy hour is like torture to GenZers.

Another factor playing into this is alcohol is more unpopular with GenZ than any generation before them. So, if you are having a group office interaction, your youngest employees would more likely prefer it be a non-alcohol affair, especially if it’s a work event.

GenZ has grown up with Snap and IG and they know better than anyone what happens when you get in drunk in front of people – it lives on forever and is embarrassing!  Combine this with being more career-focused as a generation and GenZers would just prefer to have other types of fun than drinking.

It’s not that they’re completely different than their older peers, but from a career standpoint, they’re probably more like they’re GenX parents in terms of thinking work is about work and not a party. They go to work to focus on their career, not socialize.

So, what should you do for GenZ when replacing the office happy hour? Here are few ideas:

Weekly Netflix Series “Meet”-Up – Everyone in their own comfortable place all watching the same show at the same time and interacting on Twitter or Snap or IG or whatever messaging app fits your culture. But without actually physically meeting up!

Encourage smaller one-on-one employee interactions – It doesn’t mean these younger employees won’t create many relationships across your company. They would just prefer one or two people at a time versus larger social interactions.

Plan fun events that are dry, or that aren’t centered around alcohol. GenZers are not prude, and they are fine with people making the decision to drink, but they won’t want to choose to hang out at a work event where the sole purpose is getting drunk.

Ahh! Something and someone new to talk about! Isn’t this refreshing!?

4 thoughts on “GenZ Doesn’t Want Your Stupid Millennial Office Happy Hour!

  1. This rings true as the mother of a Gen Z’er. I’m wondering how the lack of social skills and the preference for hiding behind a screen will impact the business world as they enter – any thoughts?

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