Generation Z begins with those who were born in around 1997 – 2012, it’s predicted that by 2025, the Gen Z will make up about 27% of the workforce, globally. Because of this, Gen Z has become one of the key focuses in the corporate world, especially the HR specialists.  Coaches, are you ready for the Gen Z?

The Gen Z, generally, are dubbed “Digital Natives”, simply because they are the first social generation to have grown up with access to the internet and portable digital technology from a young age, even though they are not necessarily digitally literate. The Gen Z is also generally recognized as well-behaved, abstemious, and risk-averse.  Nonetheless, in my observation, I saw the signs for emotional, introverted, simple-hearted, intelligent, withdrawal symptoms, etc.

The question is: Why? Where do these Gen Z’s symptoms come from?  To get the answer, we need to trace back to the environment they grew up with. Let’s do a simple analysis and fact check:

  1. Gen Z is the first social generation to have grown up with access to the internet and portable digital technology.
  1. The parents of Gen Z are mostly Gen X (1966 – 1976).
  1. The women in Gen X are mostly highly educated, i.e. 32.4% have a college degree. Overall, Gen X was the generation with the most college degree as of 2018 (35%).
  1. Gen X parents were those who would pay attention to children’s feelings, emotions and voices; in other words, they were the generation that started to respect children like a friend.
  1. The environment and the financial condition of Gen Z growing up are good, they do not have to worry about money, less burdern and pressure in giving their parents a better material life; in other words, Gen X does not count on their children for better material life.
  1. The Gen Z grew up in a protected environment full of care and love. That means they have not suffered much from life difficulties or agony. Even if they have some kind of failures or challenges, they are surrounded with love, care, understanding, encouragement, etc.
  1. They are more intelligent because they have the access to the internet, they can learn anything and everything easily from the internet. They have a vast pool of resources to tap on, and they have highly educated parents to look up to or to emulate.

These couple of years, I have been either mentoring or coaching the Gen Z from the Toastmasters clubs, especially the university clubs, in addition to my daughter. Here are the characteristics I have observed:

  1. Generally, they are introverted, no question on this.
  1. They are emotional because their hearts are simple, they do not hide their emotions or feelings, but the way to show their emotions is to be silent and quiet, they simply withdraw themselves and ignore the outside world.
  1. They are intuitive and intelligent. In their mind, they are clear about what’s going on, and in their hearts, they can sense and know who is genuine.
  1. They will not say “Yes” when they are not willing, but neither will they say a “direct NO”. If you can connect with them, they will explain to you, otherwise, the way they say “NO” by being silent or not responsive.
  1. Generally, they are more passive. If you can connect with them well, they will work with you, but you have to be patient and be specific.
  1. They don’t take blame or accusation well. Even when they have made mistakes, they expect you to talk to them with love and care.

In a nutshell, we can see that the environment Gen Z grew up with is a utopia, whereas the outside world or the corporate world could be a dystopia.  At home, they are told that they could have everything and anything, they are free to express their mind and emotions; regrettably they are not trained to face the outside world when they have to leave home for work.  There’s no transition from the utopia to the dystopia, so coaches, are you ready to coach the Gen Z?  If you are not, I am! I specialize in Gen Z coaching and am looking forward to coach more of them!

Written by Elysia Teh, Certified Professional Coach and HRDF Certified Trainer

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