Seventy-two per cent of managers believe their Gen Z employees are more tech-savvy than they are, which may explain why the vast majority of them are weighing on the kind of buying decisions that preoccupy those in B2B sales and marketing, a recent study from Nintex suggests.
In its report, The Gen Z Effect On The U.S. Workplace, Bellvue, Wash-based Nintex interviewed 500 business decision makers as well as 1,000 people who fall into the Gen Z demographic. The results suggested Gen Z are more focused on the interests of their company than their own personal enrichment, and that they are considered the go-to people for tech issues by their Boomer, Gen X or even Millennial coworkers.
Perhaps as a result, the voice of Gen Z is being heard on buying committees. According to Nintex — which makes workflow automation software — 80 per cent of decision makers their organization had adopted technology based specifically on a suggestion from a Gen Z employee. Those in the Gen Z demo are also not above going rogue in terms of the tools they use personally on the job.
“When deciding between two apps — the app their company tells them to use and the one they know will most effectively handle the task — the overwhelming majority of Gen Z (79%) will go with the latter,” the Nintex report said.
“Gen Z employees tend to be more vocal, not afraid to speak up and challenge the status quo. That will likely become even more true as they grow and mature in their careers,” Terry Simpson, technical evangelist at Nintex, told B2B News Network. “If the business has a need, and Gen Z employees see a product or service that can resolve the pain associated with that need, they will likely influence the purchase.”
Perhaps more than their peers, the Gen Z population has grown up in a culture of always having technology and the internet as a resource, Simpson pointed out. They also tend to be very comfortable with technology, and in many ways are accustomed to instant gratification both in consuming services and in buying technology. In fact, 88 per cent said they believe artificial intelligence (AI) will make their jobs easier.
On the other hand, they may be more prone to distraction, complicating the task of targeting them as buyers. Simpson said personalization may be even more important here than it is with other segments today.
“Marketing groups are challenged to break through this noise and communicate a motivating message. The messaging must be laser-focused on specific pain points and needs,” Simpson said. “As tech brands identify opportunities, they should specifically focus on Gen Z as potential buyers and purchase influencers.”
Being slightly older than Gen Z, Millennials have a somewhat higher level of appreciation and maturity, grew up in an age of transition where they witnessed the birth of the internet, pervasive technology and collaboration Simpson added. Both Millennials and Gen Z are more comfortable with technology, however, and faster adopters, than baby boomers. That means the relationship between each group as coworkers will also require careful management and coaching.
“They should work together during implementation projects. Boomers tend to be more resistant to change – and technology — and will most likely need a longer implementation timeline when their companies acquire new tech,” Simpson said.
The good news is that turnover may not be as bad for Gen Z within B2B firms, or those targeting buyers within them. The Nintex report showed 60 per cent of Gen Z expect to remain at their first job past the one-year mark, with 71 per cent planning two years or more.