People have been talking about a “generation gap” for, well, generations. Each successive generation is greeted with handwringing about “kids today.” The current crop of young people, born between 1995 and 2012 and known as Gen Z, is no exception. Thus, Working with Gen Z is written to bring clarity to how to deal with this generation in the workplace.
The book first characterizes Gen Z, discussing its members’ preferences, with special attention given to their use of technology. Subsequent chapters discuss how businesses can recruit and retain Gen Zers. For example, the authors note that Gen Z is serious about issues like rising student debt, climate change, and equity, diversity, and inclusion. Making a business friendlier with respect to these matters can help attract and keep these young employees.
The authors also outline Gen Z’s preferences concerning their office and work habits. They report that Gen Zers themselves identified four characteristics that affect their workplace preferences: their tendency to multitask; preference for privacy (they saw older generations suffer by revealing too much on social media); reliance on technology; and entrepreneurial behavor. Gen Z wants co-workers to be open-minded, listen to them, and give them a seat at the table.
Finally, the book discusses how to lead Gen Z. Turns out it’s not much different from leading anyone else: It relies on listening, keeping commitments, establishing relationships, etc.
The authors write in friendly, engaging, well-edited prose. They support their arguments with reputable research. However, although they remind readers to beware of stereotyping generations, inevitably they make sweeping generalizations about incredibly diverse groups that include tens of millions of people.
Still, this is a solid work that offers insight into the changing world of work. It’s a valuable read for managers “of a certain age” as well as for younger job seekers who want to understand what the oldsters are saying about them.