6 reasons you’ll need to rethink your Generation Z strategy, as it joins your workforce

Barbara Hodge, Editor
Posted: 08/24/2017

Just when you thought you had your SSO newbies sorted out… you have to question what you are doing all over again.

Be careful about the brand new generation entering your workforce soon. Not just is it 23 million strong, but it’s going to flooding your offices by the end of the decade.

Meet Generation Z: a confidence-filled group that doesn’t want to miss a thing, has the shortest attention span of any generation yet (!) and isn’t quite as open as its predecessors – the Millennials – from whom they learned that not everything needs to be shared online.

“If you try to treat those in Generation Z (born in the mid- to late ‘90s, mostly to Generation X parents) like you treated Millennials (born in the early ‘80s to mid- ‘90s, mostly to Baby Boomer parents), it will backfire on you,” says Matt Stewart, co-founder of College Works Painting. “This generation is unique. And now they are starting to enter the workforce.”

Thanks to his role at College Works Painting, which offers internships that help undergraduate students gain real-life business management experience, Stewart has gained a first-hand look at both the Millennials and Generation Z – and there certainly are differences between the two: 

  1. According to best selling author and generations expert David Stillman, you won’t find those in Generation Z frequenting Facebook or Twitter as much as their predecessors. Keenly aware of software monitoring, they are more likely to share their worlds on apps such as Snapchat or Instagram. Often dubbed Digital Natives, Millennials are much more likely to share their lives in the open on platforms such as Facebook.

  2. Being culturally connected is more important to those in Generation Z than to Millennials, with many more Gen Zers suffering from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) than Millennials. Though Stewart doesn’t see this as a hard and fast rule.

  3. Those in Generation Z have grown up with smart phones, tablets, 3-D, 4-D and 360-degree photography just to name a few norms. According to Stillman, keeping the attention of a Gen Zer is harder than ever. Their average attention span is eight seconds, compared to the 12-second attention span of Millennials. 
Millennials are driven to succeed by helicopter parents who watch their every move, while Generation Z finds encouragement from parents who encourage independent thinking, want them to achieve on their own and are fed up with not receiving equal pay for equal success at work.

  4. According to Forbes, social entrepreneurship is important to Generation Z, a group that is driven to volunteer and choose a career in which they can make a difference. On the other hand, there are those who hope the Millennials will become more civic-minded as they grow older, but it’s not been witnessed as of yet.

  5. Generation Z children were raised in classrooms that focused on diversity and collaboration. Despite this, they tend to be more private than Millennials, perhaps as a result of seeing many of the downfalls of previous generations.

  6. Because those in Generation Z feel pressure to gain corporate experience early, they are competing with Millennials who are more likely to wait to gain that same type of experience. The good news for Millennials, who are more likely to chase jobs in the corporate world, is that 72 percent of Generation Zers wish to take what they learn and apply it to their own business, versus 64 percent of Millennials who have the same goal.


Matt Stewart is co-founder of College Works Painting, which provides real-world business experience for thousands of college students each year. The award-winning program also offers high-quality house-painting services for homeowners.

Barbara Hodge, Editor
Posted: 08/24/2017