Gen Z, Boomers Have Surprising Common Ground on Technology

Generation Z

Everyone involved in HCM technology—from product designers to HR teams—seems laser-focused on anticipating the needs of younger workers. But a survey from ServiceNow Canada shows that Gen Z’s expectations may not be as challenging as everyone thinks. In some ways, in fact, this younger generation is downright traditional.

ServiceNow Canada surveyed 1,500 Canadian employees for a study on Gen Z and the future of work. It turns that, like their Baby Boomer colleagues, they prefer face-to-face meetings, value job security and like the idea of building their career at one company.

A new survey finds Gen Z's attitudes about technology may be downright traditional. @ServiceNew #HR #HRTech Click To Tweet

The survey’s conclusions align with other research. Last year, a survey by GfK Consumer Life found that Gen Z is less likely than your average Millennial to like the idea of being “always reachable.” The market research firm speculated that because it’s grown up with technology (being “digital natives” and all that), Gen Z is less likely to think new technology’s cool in its own right and more likely to worry about its unexpected consequences.

The challenge is there’s a big disconnect between what Gen Z thinks and what older workers (and managers) believe they think. For example, 58 percent of Gen Zs would rather talk with their manager in person, rather than text or instant message. But only 17 percent older respondents assume that. Almost two-thirds—62 percent—assume they’d prefer to connect by text.

Generation Z is Not Gen Y

Lumping Gen Z in with Millennials can also be a mistake. For one thing, Gen Z doesn’t want to job hop. Eighty-four percent would rather build their career in one workplace. But that doesn’t mean they’re complacent. Eighty-five percent are ready to change jobs when they’re unhappy, and 83 percent would move to advance their career.

Not surprisingly, this generation’s comfortable with technology and believes it should be as easy to use at work as it is at home. In particular, Gen Z likes mobile tech and wants to use more of it. Sixty-two percent prefer mobile devices for communications, though only 55 percent have it. Fifty-percent want to use it for collaboration, but only 44 percent say they have the tools.

And those pitches you hear about adopting futuristic technology because Gen Z expects it is apparently, well, a bit ahead of their time. Only one in five Gen Z are looking to use artificial reality or virtual reality at work. 

Finally, Gen Z feels somewhat undervalued. While few older workers believe they can learn much from the younger generation—aside from using digital and social platforms—Gen Z’s members say they have a lot to share in areas like open-mindedness and creative problem-solving.  

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