Statistically, Generation Z makes up the largest population of any other age grouping in the United States of America. Most companies already realize this, and if not, they probably should be reading this post. Companies are almost obligated to structure their environments so that they are appealing and welcoming to our generation. If they choose not to conform, they will likely deteriorate as Baby Boomers simply cannot work forever. There is often much speculation about what is most important to us when it comes to choosing a company. Based on my peers and experience thus far, the best thing a company can offer a Generation Z individual is flexibility.
When I say flexibility, this can encompass a few things. For some of my peers, flexibility can mean the ability to work from home once or twice every other week. I’ve noticed that this is something that is engrained in most start-up cultures as they fully understand the impact Generation Z is going to have on the workforce. For other people, flexibility could present itself in a lenient dress code. Most of these companies have something written in their policy that tells employees to dress appropriately if you have meetings with clients or other third parties. I advise against wearing your normal t-shirt, jeans, and gym shoes combo if you are scheduled to meet with important stakeholders in the company. But, hey that’s just me!
Another area where a company can be flexible is with a food budget. There is nothing more appealing to people in my generation than free food. Granted, almost all generations would be happy with a free meal. However, people in Generation Z are transitioning from college campuses where Ramen Noodles and peanut butter jelly sandwiches could frequently be dinner for the night. At my workplace Rivian, free lunch is served every Monday and Thursday in addition to free dinner four days out the week. Probably one of the best perks that I’ve encountered so far.
While a couple of the topics that I just discussed are certainly great perks, flexibility for me is a company’s ability to adapt to the changing environment. What I mean is that even if a company has been doing something a certain way for 50 years, how resistant are they when a more efficient way is introduced. A company who is set in their ways can be very frustrating to a person in Generation Z because we often bring new and innovative ways to get things done.
In today’s day and age, businesses have to be dynamic in their ability to change because of how rapid society is changing. Technology is progressing at such a fast pace, companies who do not adapt will be left in the dust. I like to think that companies bring people of my age in for a new and fresh perspective. When a company doesn’t respect or appreciate your opinion, that’s almost a deal breaker in most situations. The business world is changing before our eyes and Generation Z has a lot to do with that. Companies like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn have created environments that breathe flexibility and creativity. Generation Z is taking over the workforce whether you want to believe it or not, what is your company going to do to in response?
Jonathan Sutherlin is a human resource professional with experience in the engineering and automotive industry. Currently going for his Master’s in Organizational Change Leadership in a hybrid program at Western Michigan University. He is very passionate about reading, philanthropy, basketball, and fitness. You can connect with Jonathan on LinkedIn or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. When Jonathan is not at work trying to impact lives, you can either catch him in the gym or nose deep in a good book!