S.I.N. Implant System - Generation Z and the risk of “paper culture” in organizations

* By Felipe Leonard, CEO and president of S.I.N. Implant System

According to an estimate by the United Nations (UN), one third of the global population today is generation Z (born between 1995 and 2009).

A timeline of this period would certainly include the fall of the Berlin Wall, the attack on the Twin Towers and the rise of China as a superpower, as well as the technological revolution and cultural changes such as the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Generation Z, or Gen Z, emerged in the social and cultural effervescence of the turn of the millennium and that makes all the difference in the behavioral DNA of this group that is actively shaping in our times.

The World Economic Forum points out that Generation Z will make up 27% of the world's workforce by 2025.

The fact is that digital natives come to corporate environments looking for more fluid work relationships, work days based on completing tasks, the valuing of skills (to the detriment of degrees and specializations) and also greater attention to their needs and new possibilities.

Moreover, according to a study by Euromonitor International, Generation Z will become the world's largest consumer base by 2030. As consumers, they demand a package of authenticity, innovation and transformative values. They are responsible spenders, taking into account cost-benefits.

So what does this have to do with organizational culture? Everything. The generation that, today, is between 12 and 27 years of age was born and grew up entirely in the online environment, as described by Marc Prensky in 2001. This means that they grew up with Google, read entire trilogies as e-books, made virtual friendships etc. But they yearn, at the same time, for experiences, benefits and transformations... real ones. Something that involves commitment, sustainability, tolerance, diversity, inclusion and the common good.

A study of trends by McKinsey concluded that this group is highly critical and pragmatic when it comes to making decisions and relating to institutions – including professionally.

And here is where the dilemma arises. How, then, can we retain talent in the Information Age?

The answer may be the end of ‘paper culture.’ That is, we should abandon corporate codes that, on paper, are very nice and attractive, but, in practice, are not really experienced in offices and corridors. Moreover, they are not even incorporated by leaders or at different levels of the organization; nor do they involve or embrace the “base employees” on the front line dealing with customers. Organizations much less hold them as fundamental elements in the creation and maintenance of the natural and necessary culture for the company. In other words, organizations need to review and become more conscious of what is expressed in the mission-vision-values triad. We need fewer promises and more action, with a more concrete alignment between discourse and practices.

Taking a real position and collective construction is what will strengthen the image of organizations, in harmony between what is written and what is done.

We have to prioritize coherence and transparency to foster healthy relationships in all spheres.

More than a generational challenge, the change in mindset involves running a business as a whole.

Thus, organizational culture should be like a living organism, molded and transformed, at all times, by the experiences and voices of employees.

In the space shared between organizations and their public, we need empathy, above all, to ensure an efficient and effective culture. Active listening, vigorous dialogue and collaboration should be the driving force of the organization as a whole.

Company development should take into account the understanding of the other, their individuality and their vision of the world.

Personal values should be the basis for establishing organizational culture, which, in turn, needs dynamism, since human beings are complex and always active.

Why is this so critical? Because the long-term success and survival of an organization depends on it. As Peter Drucker, the “father of modern management,” warned us a few decades ago: “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

We are different today than we were yesterday, and what we will be tomorrow. And companies need to have an empathic vision to better accommodate the expectations of individuals in their strategies and processes.

This means that company culture should be written and rewritten. This is the antidote for frustrated Generation Z professionals, right after onboarding.

Only then we will have organizational cultures in reality, and not just on paper.

 

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