Gen Z has typically been seen as a lazy generation that does nothing but play on their phones all the time. They call off, do the bare minimum and are unreliable employees. This generation born after 1997 and on even voices their opinions on social media and causes viral trends like quiet quitting.
This view isn’t entirely true. Making assumptions about a few individuals and applying it to an entire generation is not a fair thing to do. We challenge companies to look at the individual rather than the stereotype of the group.
Social Media Experts
Stereotype: An individual who’s grown up in the digital age, with social media and cell phones is going to be a genius social media marketer.
In reality: Assumptions can be very dangerous. When asked about the misconceptions companies have regarding Gen Z, social media marketer Marisa Sullivan notes, “I think Gen Z is in a very unique position in the social media management industry. I believe that these large companies see young people and automatically assume that, because we are young, we are also all-knowing when it comes to social media. However, that’s not always the case!”
This generation spends about 24-48 hours a month on the social media platform TikTok, however that does not make them inherently social media experts. There is a lot more that goes into social media than snapping a selfie and adding a caption (unless you’re a Kardashian). Some people are born with social media skills and others need experience and training. This is true regardless of your age.
Lazy Employees and Quiet Quitters
Stereotype: Gen-Z is the laziest generation. They’re looking to cash big checks and expect to put in little time and effort.
In reality: Some people are looking to do the bare minimum and make money, others are genuinely excited to work hard. “Yes, I love work-life balance, but there are so many Gen-Zers, me, and friends I had in college, that want to prove themselves and that will go the extra mile to do it,” states Marisa. Just like in any other generation, there are people who want to go above and beyond.
This idea of an entire generation being lazy is an overstatement. We all know someone that we work with that isn’t the best employee. Anyone of any age can be lazy. This characteristic is not copyrighted solely by Gen Z.
You may argue, this lazy generation is the cause of the “Quiet Quitting” movement. Marisa notes, “I also see companies viewing Gen Z as “lazy”, and with the recent trend of “quite quitting” we’re only reinforcing that belief! This quite-quitting trend is only leading Gen-Z and others towards burn out. I see this: clock in, jiggle your mouse (if you work from home) and do what you can to get a check. But where is that passion?”
Although Gen Z may be more vocal on social media about quiet quitting and their willingness to set boundaries, they aren’t the only ones participating in this trend. As we mentioned in a previous blog post on quiet quitting, this movement is nothing new in the workforce. It simply has a new name. The generations before Gen Z were labeled as unengaged and companies turned their focus to workplace culture.
Quiet quitting itself is not limited to someone born after 1997. Rather than play into the blame game, we should tackle the reason anyone would rather do a job that leaves them feeling unfulfilled. Maybe they feel burnt out and/or underappreciated. In that case, individuals should find a career doing something they actually enjoy. Everyone should strive to find a work environment that stimulates them and views them as the great employees they are.
Stereotype: This generation bounces jobs frequently. They’re only in it for the money and nothing else.
In reality: Although this may appear true, many people in the job market are hopping from job to job… hello the Great Resignation! Whether this trend is correct or not, people change jobs to capitalize on better opportunities. We cannot limit this trend to Gen Z. Marisa mentioned the ambition that Gen Z has and that “each new experience is a thrill.” These experiences feed into great employees. The more opportunities an individual has to experience new things, the more seasoned they quickly become. Learning is of the essence. The willingness to learn speaks volumes about this generation.
Maybe Gen Z does job hop, but no different than any other generation at this time. According to CNBC, “Upwards of 4 million people voluntarily [have been] quitting every month for more than a year now.” Of these 4 million individuals, Gen X resignations have increased 33%, while people under 40 saw resignations increase by 32%, according to Business Insider. In other words, that 32% is divided among both Gen Z and Millennials.
What is Gen Z, Actually?
This generation can be an opportunity for companies to grow and adapt new and exciting ideas. Gen Z is ready for the challenge! Companies should take a chance on this generation. Marisa notes, “Of course someone my age, right out of college won’t have the experiences as someone in the same game, years older. However, I’ve seen how driven Gen Z can be!”
Not to mention that companies should aim to be more inclusive and steer clear from discriminatory hiring practices. Yes, Gen Z is younger and less experienced, but they hold so much potential. Marisa talked about the ambition of Gen Z and she shared, “When you’re young, you’re full of new ideas.”
These out-of-the-box ideas can drive real change and real success within your organization. Utilize this critical point in a Gen Zer’s career to focus on personal and professional development. Help them unlock their potential and reap the rewards. These individuals can become the next great leaders in the workforce.
Stereotyping is a slippery slope. Not all individuals are the same nor should they be. Focus on the individual. Dig deep into who they are. Do they have a growth mindset? Are they excited to learn? Are they buzzing with ideas and enthusiasm? Take the chance. A company should look to Gen Z as an opportunity, not a curse.
Do you want to learn more about including Gen Z in your organization? Grab one of our free office hours today! We’d love to hear from you.