Have you met the Centennials?
If you thought that Millennials were difficult to understand at work, you are yet to be introduced to Generation Z, also known as the Centennials. Full of fresh ideas, youthful optimism and a desire to change the world as they know it, the youngest ones to join the workforce these days have begun to catch our attention with their technology-inspired ideas and innovative opinions about work.
Young, enthusiastic, and always hungry to learn and do more, this new breed of employees is startlingly different from even the millennials - a generation that has been well-known in their rights in the corporate landscape.
Though the Centennials are yet to make a definite impression, one thing’s for sure - in the next two decades, they are all set to be the majority of the working population as we know it.
Fact vs fiction
To the uninitiated, Centennials are a mysterious bunch. To those who are yet to encounter them at work, they are rumored to be lazy, arrogant job-switchers who have been brainwashed by technology. But in reality, this is farthest from the truth.
Take, for example, Nick. Barely 22, when he joined us, he was already on his third job. Of course, I was taken aback. At 22, I was a shy fresher with no real idea of what lay ahead. But Nick was nothing like me. Within just a year of graduating, he had worked his way past the junior designations and was working his way towards becoming a team lead. Of course, he was full of newfangled ideas that often took me by surprise, but they were impressive. Much like his determination.
Centennials are armed with the ability to understand and even manipulate technology. And while Centennials do try to question archaic office practices, they are also very persistent. When faced with a problem, they understand the importance of solving it before moving on to the next. According to the Robert Half Research, Centennials “believe they will need to work harder compared to those in past generations to have a satisfying and fulfilling professional life.”
More aware and concerned about issues that plague the world, Centennials know how important it is to share that awareness. With enough proof on their side, they are known to be assertive and hold their grounds. Hence they are not only heard at work but are also able to drive change in a way previous generations weren't able to.
With their quick learning abilities and ace tech skills, it is a rather well-known fact that Centennials are offered promotions very often at work. While this is, of course, a matter of prestige, to the Centennials, it is just another opportunity to make the most of their careers - especially when it means a better opportunity with every switch.
What makes Gen Z special
Though they are young, what sets the Centennials apart from other young generations to have entered the workforce is a simple fact that they are always hungry to learn more. As a result, not only are their skills more refined, unlike past generations, they have a fair idea about finances, investments and other boring details that older generations typically learned on the job. Inspired by their knowledge of social equality, they value innovation, collaboration, and clear communication.
As the first generation who is truly aware of every little nuance of the digital landscape, they don’t shy away from the internet. This means that they do consume more information online than we can even imagine, and are determined to teach themselves even the most menial skills to perform better.
When it comes to social learning, they welcome it too. Learning platforms for them are vast and endless. Being natural innovators, they have the ability to gamify even the most tedious tutorials and tasks and learn from it.
Their ability to fully utilize the learning ecosystem unveils something rather interesting if you think about it. They enjoy breaking down complex subjects into easy to understand & interesting formats. And when they fail, they do not shy away from asking for help.
The future of work is here
During my interactions with Nick, I realized something that most of us fail to. The Centennials often intimidate us, the older generations, with their smartphones and watches and their non-traditional ways of learning or new age problem-solving approach. What we fail to do in these situations is look beyond the facade that makes us judge them so.
Not very often in my life have I met people who have learned by doing, by failing and then trying again. Not only can the Centennials learn digitally, but they also inadvertently learn how to apply all the knowledge practically and be self-sufficient.
But if a generation is so self-sufficient, why do we even have to help?
Knowledge and Learning, as we all know is an essential part of life. Be it at work, or even otherwise. As generations who have learned and taught, the least we can do is make the knowledge more accessible to the Centennials which encourages them to keep learning.
By having a technology-first learning approach combined with social and experiential learning, we can help them grow to be one of the most successful generations ever. Now, why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that transformation? At the end of the day, the times are changing and we need to be ready for the Future of Work