So why is this generation so different from those before? Generation Z is the first to grow up in the online world. Continuously connected their whole lives via the internet and social media, Generation Z has always had reams of information at their fingertips. Exposed to information and opinions from people worldwide, Generation Z has increasingly been able to form their views on global social and environmental issues, which may diverge from those of their parents.
An increasingly uncertain world, confounded by the availability of information on the internet, increased the mental burden carried by Generation Z throughout their upbringing. As a result, more and more young people suffer from mental health issues. Climate change, for example, has led to many young people experiencing 'eco anxiety', a chronic fear of environmental catastrophe.
Increased autonomy of thought and expression, combined with the uncertainty of the world they have grown up in, means Generation Z has strong ethical and environmental values. They prioritise mental health and a better work-life balance. The most environmentally conscious generation yet, Generation Z want their careers to have a broader purpose for the environment and society.
Generation Z's drive to impact their careers whilst prioritising their well-being extends to what they are looking for in employers. Increasingly, employers will need to demonstrate their commitment to global societal challenges, including sustainability, climate change, and the well-being of their employees. Many Generation Zs are willing to settle for less pay or financial certainty in exchange for a career that aligns with their values and their desired lifestyle.
Mission Performance recognised the potential in this younger generation and has recruited several people from Generation Z in recent years. All of whom were either Apprentices or Kickstarters, and all eventually went on to secure full-time roles in larger organisations. Mission Performance recognised that they would be unable to hold onto them for long, but nonetheless coached and developed them to succeed in their roles at Mission Performance and beyond. Combining purposeful coaching and responsibility for real projects, these young people were given the freedom to spread their wings and Mission Performance benefited immensely from the time they spent with them.
Mission Performance also learnt a vast amount from them by putting them in charge of Social Media, for example, and the broader marketing brief to promote Mission Performance’s proposition in new ways to different audiences. To do this effectively, some calculated and supported risks were taken to give them freedom within boundaries to operate. This approach chimes with Mission Performance’s ‘To Lead’ practice area, and in this respect, Mission is ‘practising what they preach’.
To win this generation's hearts and minds, employers like Mission Performance must adapt to changing their roles and businesses to attract this new generation. In addition, organisations should look to learn from this new generation. The old models of running businesses are becoming less relevant. Whether you like it or not, the future of business and employment will be driven by the values and expectations of Generation Z. Organisations cannot afford to ignore their wider social and ethical purpose anymore.