March 14, 2023 | By Questco Companies
Before the pandemic, being present in the workplace was the expectation. Business leaders considered remote work a reward that required a lot of trust. Once pandemic restrictions turned remote work into a necessity, working from home became more commonplace.
However, the move to remote work has bred some unhealthy misconceptions about Generation Z. Leaders who ascribe to following these stereotypes are less likely to recruit this diverse and dynamic generation successfully.
When you learn more about the ways Gen Z employees actually relate to remote work, you can better adapt your recruitment practices. Here, we explore three myths about Gen Z’s remote work to uncover what this generation really seeks from employers.
Myth 1: Gen Z Prefers Remote Work to an Office
For many Gen Z adults, the experience entering the workforce was shaped by COVID restrictions. Remote was the norm instead of a desired perk. Yet, research shows this isn’t necessarily a preference for Gen Z workers.
The 2022 Career Interest Survey conducted by the National Society of High School Scholars and reported by CNBC, revealed that only 23% of survey respondents express that remote work is important. Additionally, 63% of Gen Z want in-person training from their employers compared to only 13% in favor of online training.
One reason the myth exists is because of a generational disconnect in expectation of what a “leader” should do. Gen Z isn’t looking for a traditional authority figure; they want a mentor and ally.
Research shows that 82% of Gen Z employees seek mentorship from their supervisors, and 73% say they feel motivated to do a better job when they feel their supervisor cares about them. Furthermore, 71% say they miss interacting with co-workers in person rather than receiving written reports or digital communication.
To get Gen Z through the door, you may want to consider adopting a hybrid workplace rather than going fully remote.
Myth 2: Gen Z Wants to Communicate Via Instant Messaging
When surveyed, 82% of managers said Gen Zers prefer to communicate via instant message. However, new research reveals that 83% of working Gen Zers actually prefer face-to-face interaction with managers.
Over half of Gen Z employees want to receive feedback several times a week, but only 50% of their managers provide feedback that frequently. Perhaps more surprisingly, 59% of Gen Z employees prefer to receive recognition in a face-to-face discussion with managers rather than verbal praise or recognition in a team meeting. Gen Z employees seek guidance and mentorship from employers. Instant messaging, as opposed to face-to-face communication, limits the potential for company leaders and direct supervisors to act as mentors and allies to Gen Z employees.
If you want to keep your Gen Z employees, you need to get more personal. That means video calls instead of long instant messages.
Myth 3: Gen Z Is Self Absorbed
A quick Google search shows that many adults believe Gen Z is self-absorbed. Research provides evidence that most people believe younger adults are inherently more narcissistic than older generations.
Yet, evidence shows that Gen Z may be the most philanthropic generation in today’s workforce.
Generation Z represents the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in U.S. history. For many Gen Z employees, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is required, not optional for a company. Sixty-seven percent of Gen Z workers reported having witnessed discrimination or bias based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity in a workplace setting, while 44% reported having personally experienced such discrimination.
As a result, 83% of Gen Z candidates said that a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is important when choosing an employer.
But it would be a mistake to think Gen Z’s focus stops there.
Gen Z is concerned about climate change, gun violence, and other social and political issues. In fact, 70% of Gen Z survey respondents are involved in a social or political cause. Seventy-three percent buy or advocate for brands based on their beliefs and values. A study conducted by Pew Research found that over 70% of Gen Z job candidates want to ensure that an employer’s brand is aligned with their own values before taking a job.
So, if you want to attract Gen Z, you need to take DEI and other social issues into account. What are you willing to stand for that Gen Z would appreciate?
Attract Gen Z with Flexibility, Not Remote Work
Gen Z employees want connectedness, a meaningful career, and an opportunity to make a difference. Employers must build flexibility into work schedules to attract this younger generation instead of enforcing remote work.
As your understanding of the expectations of Gen Z improves, you’ll find it easier to extract their full potential. Employers should offer Gen Z employees the opportunity for in-person work when possible.
If remote work is the only option, consider ways to integrate more face-to-face communication versus emails or instant messaging. Prepare to meet for reasons beyond work projects, like discussing goals, challenges, and how you can support them in reaching their career goals. Generation Z wants to be coached, and they want allies. This is difficult to achieve when communication only exists on an “as-needed” basis.