- Gen Z, typically defined as the 72 million people born between 1997 and 2012, are a different breed of worker and leader.
- What’s unusual about Gen Z is the degree to which they see themselves as the ones who will course-correct what the previous generations have done wrong.
- Gen Z leaders are already changing the workplace; their more direct and blended approach to work and personal life are going to impact how we work in the future.
By 2025, Gen Z will make up more than a quarter of the entire U.S. workforce.
Gen Z (also called Zoomers) may be young, but they are also the most diverse generation and the most tech-savvy.
What’s unusual about Gen Z is the degree to which they see themselves as the ones who will course-correct what the previous generations have done wrong.
When business leaders look at Zoomers, they see a generation that isn’t afraid to publicly take powerful people to task, boycott organizations, or tackle difficult issues – especially when they arise in the workplace.
In a widely noted piece headlined, “The 37-Year-Olds Are Afraid of the 23-Year-Olds Who Work for Them,” employers said they were taken aback by “the new boldness in the way Gen Z dictates taste.”
Gen Z, typically defined as the 72 million people born between 1997 and 2012, are a different breed of worker and leader.
Their unique perspective on careers and approach to management style will transform workplaces as they start to move into leadership roles within their organization.
“As Gen Zers are about to step onto the world stage, the impact of their entry will be swift and profound, its effects rippling through the workplace, retail consumption, technology, politics, and culture. Radically different than Millennials, this generation has an entirely unique perspective on careers and how to define success in life and in the workforce,” according to Deloitte.
The National Honor Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) is training these future leaders at more than 700 chapters at colleges and universities across the country, with more than 1.5 million current members.
NSLS President, Neil Khaund, gave his insight as to how Gen Z leaders are already changing the workplace and how their more direct and blended approach to work and personal life are going to impact how we work in the future.
Allwork.Space: What unique perspective do Gen Z leaders have on careers and approach to management style?
Neil Khaund: Gen Z is the first truly digital native generation. They’re also the most diverse and educated generation in US history.
But aside from that, Gen Z has grown up during major global social movements like BLM and #MeToo, and those events have really shaped how Gen Z views political and social activism — along with the role they expect brands to play in driving social and political change.
This generation is deeply passionate about making a difference, volunteering, and activism. And when they choose a career path, they need to feel connected to the mission and vision of their organization.
Allwork.Space: How are these leaders already changing the workplace?
Gen Z leaders are already blurring the lines between personal values and company values. Ten years ago, companies would rarely get political or make a statement in support of social issues.
These days companies have to make a statement and choose a side — because consumers demand it. Much of this push for brands to become more vocal about the issues they support has been driven by Gen Z consumers and as they move up in the corporate world, we expect to see more of this change being spearheaded internally.
Gen Z’s biggest workforce transformation will be in driving the change they want to see in the world through their respective companies.
Gen Z’s approach to the workplace and leadership are one of the things that drive our mission at the NSLS — making sure that we’re helping teach and guide Gen Z on the skills they need to continue to influence change and become leaders in our global community. And also helping other generations better understand how to connect and communicate with Gen Zers to maximize their impact.
Allwork.Space: How do Gen Z leaders ensure inclusivity and diversity?
According to the Pew Research Center, Gen Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation the US has ever seen, so one of the ways they’re ensuring inclusivity and diversity is just by showing up.
They’ve already been instrumental in pushing companies to be more inclusive from the outside, as consumers. And as they develop further in their careers, they’ll continue to hire more diverse teams because they’ve grown up seeing the benefits of gathering diverse perspectives and viewpoints.
Allwork.Space: Can we expect Gen Z to lead innovation of remote and hybrid work-from-home models?
Because Gen Z has grown up with technology playing a huge role in their lives, it’s intuitive to them. They understand the nuances of digital communication and how to use technology to be more productive.
A lot of more traditional companies have struggled to become digital first over the past few years, culling together clunky technology platforms that don’t play well with each other.
Gen Z leaders have a stronger understanding of how technology can be used to make work better and easier, and also where technology falls short. This puts them at a real advantage when it comes to managing the remote and hybrid work setups of the future.