Monday, 03 June 2019 11:38

Generation Z want automated processes, ‘strong technology’ in workplace: report

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Generation Z want automated processes, ‘strong technology’ in workplace: report Image Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Australia’s Gen Zers — or those born between 1996 and 2012 — want to be part of an organisation that has automated processes and strong technology in place, or they will not stay for long, according to a newly released workplace study.

According to the study, by process management and automation vendor Nintex, the Gen Z group — the “soon-to-be largest generation” of Australians — illustrates they are driven by personal preferences, values, and distinctions they develop in university that follow them into the workforce.

And the study — "The Gen Z Effect in Australia: Understanding your newest employees’ views on work, corporate culture, automation and you" — revealed that this generation of young Australians are ready to engage and grow in a company provided they have direct supervisors who invest in their career development and commit to in-person meetings.

“This study finds that work flexibility is more important than salary for this generation,” Nintex notes.

The Australian study includes data and comparisons to Gen Zers in New Zealand.

“Gen Z is very different from the Millennial generation that we’ve been working to better understand and retain since they started entering the workforce in late 90s,” says Nintex chief evangelist Ryan Duguid.

“What this youngest generation wants is for their employers to support their career aspirations, regularly communicate in person and reward them as they achieve goals.”

According to Nintex, the Gen Z Effect in Australia study provides strong evidence that the youngest working generation’s self-perception and identity is deeply tied to their jobs.

And Nintex says it will be critical for business leaders and managers of Gen Z employees to ensure these individuals find meaning in their roles and do not hinder their ambition with inefficient or broken business processes.

“Process management and automation capabilities can play a decisive role in helping to foster the kind of workplaces that help Gen Z flourish and build their careers. Technologies like the Nintex Process Cloud platform were designed to help companies improve how people work by making it easy to manage, automate and optimise every business process with powerful technology to keep employees engaged, customers happy, and to outpace business competitors,” Duguid says.

“While technology continues to evolve at a rapid clip, it’s important to recognise that the success of every organisation ultimately depends on its people.

“Employees play a critical role in cultivating your corporate culture as well as the success of continually improving business processes to ensure your organisation runs well.”

Key findings:

  • Flexibility drives Gen Z job selection: There is a significant disconnect in what business decision makers believe drives Gen Z job selection and the reality. While company leaders think that company values (54%), work flexibility (43%) and company culture (33%) are the top three determining factors in their job selection process, Gen Z job hunters are more practical. Thirty-seven percent of Gen Zers indicate that flexibility is their key determining factor in job selection, but salary (33%) and work-life balance (31%) follow closely behind.
  • Gen Z craves face-to-face coaching: While the stereotype may be that Gen Z lives through their smartphones, this study shows this generation in the workplace wants in-person coaching and feedback from their managers. Nearly 90% prefer in-person check-ins with their manager over virtual meetings. More than half (54%) want every single check-in to be in person, rather than through collaboration platforms. Decision makers are supporting their youngest employees’ urge to share. Leaders universally (97%) say their companies offer a way for employees to make suggestions for process, technology or tools improvements; 39% say their company very frequently adopts new technologies when suggested by a Gen Z employee.
  • Gen Z has little patience for malfunctioning technologies: When Gen Z encounters tech problems at work, fewer than half (46%) say they’ll submit a formal request. Instead, the majority (53%) will take matters into their own hands. Building on previous research from Nintex, America’s ‘Most Broken Processes’, Gen Z cites broken IT processes as one of the leading factors that would drive them to look for a new job sooner than planned, only behind finding a higher-paying job and lack of learning opportunities. Because malfunctioning technology has such a significant negative impact on Gen Z job satisfaction, decision makers should consider their approach to tech troubleshooting.
  • More than three-quarters (78%) of decision makers say Gen Z employees are more tech savvy than they are, and Gen Z picks up the slack as a result. Nearly 90% of Gen Z employees have been   asked to fix a superior’s tech issue when it is not their job, with about half (49%) saying this happens extremely often.
  • Gen Zers look inward to decide career path: Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Gen Z selected their university focus based on “personal interest” with only one-third selecting it based on preparation for a “specific career path”. This emphasis on self-satisfaction is reflected in Gen Z’s view of their identity as well as their work.When asked how they regard the relationship between work and their personal identity, 31% of Gen Z employees say their job is their identity, so their work must embody their values and interests.   Decision makers appreciate how Gen Zers’ desire for meaning at work may impact their longevity, likely because they feel the same way. Forty-three percent of decision makers believe Gen Zers are likely to leave their job sooner than planned if they are not doing meaningful work. Fifty percent of leaders surveyed indicate they would leave their current job for the same reason.
  • When asked how they regard the relationship between work and their personal identity, 31% of Gen Z employees say their job is their identity, so their work must embody their values and  interests.   Decision makers appreciate how Gen Zers’ desire for meaning at work may impact their longevity, likely because they feel the same way. Forty-three percent of decision makers believe Gen Zers are likely to leave their job sooner than planned if they are not doing meaningful work. Fifty percent of leaders surveyed indicate they would leave their current job for the same reason.
  • Gen Z sees AI offering potential, but job security concerns temper their enthusiasm: Ninety-two percent of Gen Z employees think AI and automation have the potential to make their jobs easier, but 64% of them also view these technologies as having negative job security impact. An even larger majority (95%) of decision makers see automation benefiting jobs, and also express more long-term concern. Eighty-three percent are concerned about the impact of AI on their job security, with 30% of those company leaders being “very concerned”.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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