Gen Zers walk into the workplace with one foot out the door—slandering them won’t solve the future-of-work conundrum

Gen Z’s reputation precedes them, as new criticisms of them being “lazy” and “difficult to work with” seem to occur almost daily. Whether analyzed in research or referenced in pop culture moments, there’s no doubt that the idea that Gen Z “lacks a work ethic” has an impact on how everyone views the most young members of the workforce.

Pessimistic views surrounding Gen Z’s defining characteristics prove that employers can’t completely shake their outdated ideas about what work should look like. If we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, it’s that normal doesn’t exist anymore – or at least like it did five years ago. As the most diverse generation in history asserts its influence, many business leaders are instinctively reacting in panic to pressures to once again change the way we work.

The most misunderstood of all generations

Reports of rigid mandates to return to power continue to make headlines, even though this directly contradicts the flexibility many young workers seek. However, clinging to outdated ways of thinking is not in a company’s best interest. Despite their young age, Generation Z already makes up about 20% of the total workforce and is soon expected to outnumber baby boomers for the first time in the United States, which will only increase their influence over work place.

Unfortunately, a handful of leaders don’t see or work with Gen Z that way. While many attempt to fit their organizations into a mold that is no longer relevant, members of Generation Z are taking a stand and using public platforms to explain why their ideologies around work should not view them as lazy.

To avoid negative criticism surrounding their companies and, therefore, harm hiring and retention, a reframing of what work looks like is necessary to successfully accommodate the new generation of workers.

According to Jabra Attention to Gaps Report, it’s not a lack of connection or perceived effort that binds Gen Z to terms like “quitting out” and “lazy jobs for girls.” 48% of Gen Z respondents surveyed in Jabra’s study plan to change jobs in the next year. Why would they stay at a company that refuses to meet them halfway or calls them lazy, even after multiple rounds of interviews to get the job?

A struggle to be respected in business

As a society, we’re still trying to figure out what exactly the future of work will look like. As the battles for hybrid flexibility continue, new career options have also emerged – including streamers, influencers and serial entrepreneurs – providing Gen Z with new opportunities beyond traditional corporate roles. How can we blame the failings of the entire workforce on a generation, when the inability of leaders to adapt coincides with the emergence of more attractive and flexible job offers?

Gen Zers enter the workplace with one foot out the door because they are destined to fail. After graduating from college and starting their careers at the height of the pandemic, Gen Z’s ambitions to forge their own path are now seen as a right. This is an unfair perception that we must reverse, bearing in mind the defining circumstances of recent years.

For example, there is frustration expressed when Gen Zers give up their professional bandwidth, fight for flexibility, or position themselves for promotion after leaving the role. just above their job description.

Instead of thinking about their own procedures and training, business leaders rely on these generational frictions and reinforce top-down hierarchical rules. By refusing to recognize Gen Z’s unique career beginnings (remote schooling, working, and a quarantine mindset), business growth is expected to stagnate or even decline.

In a society where job opportunities are endless, it should come as no surprise that it pays to bet on yourself if your values ​​are ignored. Gen Z is doing everything they’ve been asked to do their whole lives – getting good grades, graduating from college, starting a career – and yet they struggle to be respected.

The future of work is Generation Z. Their impact will be deep and far-reaching. Organizations that recognize the misunderstandings around this generation’s reputation will be well-positioned to thrive in an increasingly dynamic landscape, whatever the next challenge inspires change.

Holger Reisinger is senior vice president of Jabra’s Enterprise Video business unit.

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Sara Adm

Aimant les mots, Sara Smith a commencé à écrire dès son plus jeune âge. En tant qu'éditeur en chef de son journal scolaire, il met en valeur ses compétences en racontant des récits impactants. Smith a ensuite étudié le journalisme à l'université Columbia, où il est diplômé en tête de sa classe. Après avoir étudié au New York Times, Sara décroche un poste de journaliste de nouvelles. Depuis dix ans, il a couvert des événements majeurs tels que les élections présidentielles et les catastrophes naturelles. Il a été acclamé pour sa capacité à créer des récits captivants qui capturent l'expérience humaine.
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