This is more so in Africa, as the continent boasts the youngest population on the planet. In 2022, Statista, an online platform specialized in the market and consumer data, reported that the 23 countries with the lowest median age in Africa are also the countries with the lowest median age worldwide.
As a result, the current demographic more likely to constitute the majority of the workforce in Africa, is the youth demographic, particularly the millennial generation, which falls between the ages of 23 to 38.
However, numerous young adults across the continent who fall under the Gen Z category are already making their way into the job market.
Gen Z, a generation born between 1997 and 2012, is already making waves in the business world due to its unique behaviors, expectations, and values. As a result, employers must learn how to manage Gen Z in the workplace to effectively tap into their potential and foster a productive working environment.
One of the most important aspects of managing Gen Z in the workplace is understanding their values. Gen Z is a generation that values diversity, collaboration, and innovation. Their ideologies surrounding diversity and identity cannot be overstated, and as such should be addressed with the utmost comprehension.
With this new generation, managers would have no choice but to separate a person’s identity from the value they bring to the workplace. Things hairstyle choices or clothing choices would be overlooked, barring an excessively indecent wardrobe choice.
The outdated narrative that appearance or orientation affects a person’s ability to be productive would for some time be a bone of contention before it would eventually be phased out. Given that many African communities still hold on to traditional values and belief systems, this shift may be lengthy, but it is ultimately inevitable.
In a highly competitive market space, employers would be forced to prioritize these values when creating policies and procedures in the workplace to effectively tap into the young minds filled with ultra-modern business solutions, otherwise, they risk falling behind.
The second tip to managing a Gen Z workforce is understanding and adapting to the speed of tech evolutions. The Gen Z generation is highly skilled and tech-savvy and always looking for ways to make processes more efficient. This would mean that they are very inclined to automate most of their processes and would be more adept at employing the use of A. I tools.
Employers must stay up to date on the latest technology trends, and make these readily available. Gen Z is a generation that has grown up with technology, and they expect employers to provide the same level of technology that they are used to in their personal lives.
Thirdly, employers would have to focus on creating a collaborative and flexible environment. Gen Z is a generation that values collaboration and open communication, so employers must create an atmosphere where employees can easily work together and share ideas. There is nothing more demoralizing to a young person than making them feel unheard.
As for flexibility, the global pandemic of 2020 was arguably one of the most tragic events in humanity’s history and as such stands as a bitter period to revisit. However, if there was a silver lining to this devastating event, it's the fact that humans figured out how to work outside of the office space.
The events of the pandemic proved that humans don’t need to go to the office and work absurd hours to be effective, so much so that in this situational case study, numerous companies across the globe have, as a result, decided to adopt a complete work-from-home system or at the very least, a hybrid system.
This trend must be prevalent when managing a Gen Z workforce, as this generation believes more in the work smart ideology than work hard.
The simple fact that we’ve seen flexible working hours boost productivity proves that there is no need for uncomfortable or grueling working policies. Companies with a rigid working system must begin to adopt more flexible models, to accommodate a generation that fully understands how impractical it is to be in the office every day.
In conclusion, managing Gen Z in the workplace requires employers to understand their values and expectations and to create a collaborative and flexible environment. Employers must stay up to date on the latest technology trends to provide a conducive working environment for Gen Z employees. By following these tips, employers can effectively manage Gen Z in the workplace and unlock the potential of this new generation of workers.