04 Jun Y and Z generations: life and work online
Findings by scientists suggest that generations of people born all over the world have similar characteristics. According to the scientists, nowadays the job market is getting dominated by Y and Z generation: people who like to be seen, evaluated and have a strong sense of individualism.
Can’t live without technology
To describe generation Y (30 year olds and slightly younger), ISM Executive School consultant Arvydas Buta used the research data, which uncovered the following common characteristics: quite optimistic, morally sound, social, caring for environment. Y generation is very concerned with their work environment and meaning. These are also people that value social contacts and teamwork and are also proficient multitaskers.
“Although Y generation values teamwork they also give priority to independence from management. However, the most notable attribute of Y generation is “digitization” (computers, internet, smartphones, tables, gaming consoles, gadgets, etc.). They can hardly imagine a life without being connected.” – says Dr. Buta.
New “i” generation is coming
All of that is also becoming very important to the young, Z generation, which consists of the current teenagers and twenty-year-olds. In many ways, Z generation is very similar to the Y generation, but they tend to have stronger individualistic tendencies which were likely brought upon by increased digitization.
According to Dr. A. Buta, it is likely that in the near future we won’t be talking about two separate generations Y and Z, but a single “igeneration” which was foreshadowed or even established during Steve Job’s time at Apple, right when the gadgets with “i” at the start of their name were released.
“If in the past Rene Descartes considered thinking as humanity’s existential basis (cogito ergo sum – I think, therefore, I am), nowadays the focus has shifted towards “I am seen, therefore, I am”. – Dr. Buta explains.
Thirst for acknowledgement
According to Dr. Buta, just staying connected is not enough anymore, one must be seen. It is unclear how important staying connected would be if no one would react to that action. Facebook and other social networks have been very smart about using people’s social instincts and comfort of commonality by introducing “liking” for their own marketing purposes therefore encouraging participation in certain communities and social groups.
Anyone who receives “like” or response to their message – receives it as an award which in turn triggers a neurohumoral response to a sense of commonality and acceptance. These kinds of brain responses – much like hunger, thirst, sex – are insatiable. You want more and more. However these reactions are not often triggered in working environment.
“It is uncommon to praise for good performance in our workplaces,” – explains Dr. Buta “it is much more common to discuss problems which tends to propagate negative feelings. It’s being online, chatter among colleagues, obtaining approval that are the small things encouraging closer cooperation, motivation and positive emotions. Of course, such praise could be obtained just by using verbal communication but the share popularity of social networks prove that verbal praise is not sufficient.”
All of these tendencies apply to Z generation who already grew up with more praise from parents than Y generation and certainly much more than older, X generation.
Prohibition is not effective
Some organizations limit their employees’ access to social networks during work hours, arguing that online activity negatively influences attention span and interferes with duties. However, according Dr. Buta, this doesn’t solve the main issue.
“Such positive distractions are much better alternative than frustration and stress, caused by inability to get online. A myriad of research has shown that regular short breaks during workday not only allows to catch one’s breath but also increases efficiency, productivity, helps creative thinking and problem solving processes”.
Software tools for internal communication
CEO of JSC “BŪTENTA”, Ms. Daiva Jankuvienė confirms the existence of demand for internal communication platform for employees and this demand is growing. According to her, employers expressed interest in controlling this process, so it would not interfere with productive work, thus leading into emergence of software tools, designed to cater to this demand.
“By answering to the demand of the market, we have developed a new-generation business management tool called B-NOVO Business Social. This tool is designed as an internal communications platform and incorporates functions that create a social media platform inside the organization. Employees are organically connected together according to the organizational structure however temporary project teams and discussion participants can join in as well. This allows not only flexible and fast communication, but also gives a familiar, social network-like platform for modern employees to use.” – Ms. Jankuviene explains the benefits of such system.