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Workforce Optimization and Generation Z: What to Know

January 31, 2017

It's easy to get tunnel vision when it comes to workforce optimization, and for the last few years, most have been focused on millennials. Given that millennials are now better than a third of the overall workforce, and the oldest millennials are now in their 30s, the end result is that most of the changes that can be made for millennials have already been made. The NICE blog recently summed up points to consider when dealing with Generation Z.

Already, Generation Z is proving different from its millennial predecessors in several ways. While millennials were all about digital operations in pretty much everything, many Generation Z members still visit shopping malls, for example, and have been shown to use paper cash as often as digital payments.  There's a lot more than that, though, especially as relates to workforce optimization.

One, Generation Z is used to personalization in everything. A fairly standard marketing tactic, personalization has long been used to establish a better connection with customers. Years of being addressed in this fashion has left Generation Z expecting it, and forward-thinking businesses are responding with custom dashboards and coaching strategies.

Two, Generation Z is easily more career-focused than the millennials are, and is interested in a clear path of advancement. A focus on immediate benefits will be especially helpful, and using contests and gamification methods should prove useful as well since these have clear goals and finish quickly.

Three, Generation Z will be much harder to track with social media; Generation Z favors anonymous social media and Snapchat, and favors in-person communications. Those mobile workforce measures won't be wasted, but be sure to keep some means open for the Generation Z staffer to make contact. Generation Z also overwhelmingly favors transparency, so overcommunicating with Generation Z staff might be a better side to err on than undercommunicating.

Finally, Generation Z has a clearly entrepreneurial nature. This may lead to a lot of moonlighting and side jobs. Taking advantage of this philosophy will require businesses to think more like startups; use time as a reward just as much as or even more than money. Extra vacation, flexible schedules, or better training and education can be particularly motivating here.

If this sounds different from the millennial, or even the Generation X, staffer, it should.  Where millennials wanted to be part of something bigger than just a job, Generation Z wants to get the most out of that job while still focusing on its own passions. There's a lot of changes that can be made, and making these now will help ensure that businesses can find Generation Z staffers ready to work, especially when the Baby Boomers start retiring in earnest.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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