Gen Z is coming: 7 ways they're different from millennials

If you're expecting Generation Z employees to be similar to their millennial coworkers, you're in for a surprise, argues entrepreneur Deep Patel.

Even though they were born just a few years later than their millennial predecessors, the members of Generation Z are a distinctive bunch.

Writing for Forbes, Patel breaks down seven ways Gen Z will differ from millennials in the workplace:

1: Motivation

Although millennials are often seen as motivated by an organization's mission, Patel argues that Gen Z gravitates towards security and money.

As many Gen Z individuals watched family members struggle through the Great Recession, some will prioritize job stability in their career search, he writes.

2: Competitiveness

Unlike millennials, who are said to prioritize a collaborative work environment, Gen Z employees will likely seek awards based on their individual success rather than the team's success, explains Patel.

3: Multitasking

Gen Z employees will multitask on the job—even more than their millennial counterparts, warns Patel.

According to Patel, Gen Z's familiarity with constant connection means multitasking comes naturally. If you catch a Gen Z employee checking their phone at work, rest assured they're probably just checking their updates before returning to the task at hand, he explains. 

4: Entrepreneurship

About 72% of Gen Z high school students want to start a business, according to a 2014 report by Millennial Branding. According to Patel, Gen Z's entrepreneurial spirit signals a willingness to work hard and soak up knowledge.

5: Communication

Unlike millennials, Gen Z is interested in talking face-to-face, rather than through a computer screen, notes Patel. According to the Millennial Branding report, just over half of Gen Z employees prefer in-person discussions over email communication.

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6: Digital mastery

While millennials are often described as digital natives, Patel points out that many millennials actually grew up with landlines and dial-up internet.

 Gen Z, on the other hand, has likely never known a world without the smartphone, so they can more easily pick up new technologies and software, notes Patel.

7: Compromise

Like the generations before them, Gen Z expects offices to cater to their needs, argues Patel.

For example, Salesforce recently featured a musical performance by Bruno Mars at their annual conference, notes Patel. While a conference concert may have been unheard a decade ago, many companies are now re-evaluating their offerings to entice the next generation of employees, he writes.

While every individual will arrive at the office with their own unique outlook and interests, the above generalizations may help leaders prepare to welcome the next wave of workers, notes Patel (Patel, Forbes, 9/25).

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