With a population of 472 million, Generation Z (GenZ) in India is the largest in the world. GenZ is the newest generation and includes people born between 1995 and 2015 — and comprises 1.8 billion people, making up for almost a quarter of the global population. This is a generation that is just joining the workplace and are the real changemakers and drivers.
If you have worked with a GenZ, what stands out are their unique and bold traits. In this piece, we track Generation Z at work and speak to them about work and work culture in their first-real-office environment.
Plum was founded towards the end of 2019 and almost 24 months down the line, we are a 90 member strong team. Of which, about 16% are under the age of 23, with Plum being their first or second job. As we scale, we wanted to track how our teams interact with each other and especially how GenZ has played a part in building a unique culture that we are best known for.
Here’s what we found:
“GenZ prefers starting their career with startups – it lets them ‘explore’ options”
Sharvan TG, 22, calls himself the team’s generalist and is one of the earliest employees at Plum. He joined the team as an intern and 9 months in, he has started working across teams building and optimising systems with a special interest in no-code. He says, “I did not attend placements at my college Vellore Institute of Technology. I want to startup eventually and hence joining a startup was the most obvious thing to do.”
Adds Garvita Hada, 25, who briefly worked at an EdTech startup, “I joined Plum to explore my options, as I heard a lot about the team from an ex-colleague.” Garvita works with the Sales team at Plum.
“GenZ prefers flexible working hours, owning the process and understanding the ‘why’”
As Plum is still growing, many processes are being set in place and what is unique is that it is the younger team members that are leading this change. Harsh Joshi, 21, who joined Plum straight out of college and is now part of the Engineering team says, “I prefer not having fixed work hours and owning the process myself,” in many cases, he has been the one leading a change within his team and he spoke about how the more experienced members of his team let him ‘own’ tasks and the process itself.
Echoes Hada, “My manager explains the purpose of every task we do. We are allowed to have questions” (her earlier organisation has a no-questions policy). She is now transitioning from an individual contributor to a team player and enjoying the process.
“We prefer constructive criticism. And validation.”
A trait that differentiates Generation Z from any other generation is its straightforwardness. They say things as they are and have no qualms about it. One hardly finds them sugar coating their words.
Says Sharvan, “I have worked directly with Managers and they have been open to my ideas at work. In fact, so many of them have been implemented too (some have failed and we have learned from the process). There has been constructive criticism, but no one expects perfect ideas, we are allowed to fail.”
Kokil Kamra (23) is part of the ABM team, she says, “Validation is a GenZ thing – I always walk up to my Manager and ask for feedback that I can work on. I prefer a straightforward conversation.”
Hada mentioned an incident when she was not sure of a process and the CEO, Abhishek, himself explained it to her. This really stands out to a youngster like her who has just spent a month at Plum.
“GenZ loves to save and invest – don’t shy away from stocks/crypto.”
Data suggests that Generation Z is a generation that saves early on and is also one that is most active in making equity investments.
Here are some highlights:
- 12% already saving for their post-career life and
- 35% plan to start saving when they reach their 20s.
- 21% had a savings account before they were 10.
Not-so-surprisingly, folks we spoke to echoed similar sentiments.
According to Joshi, “Finance is a new subject. I had already started some early investments in stocks and crypto, however, I am still confused about how to use my salary.”
Conversely, Sharvan seems to have read countless books on personal finance but has a dilemma. Should he save for a better future or live for the day?! He says he does not want to wait to travel or do the things he loves at 40.
Kokil has finally started saving over the past few months and with a purpose. She wants the very best for her dog.
“We are a generation that started WFH. Office is just happening to us now.”
Many 21-year-olds have just joined the workforce and are still working from home. The home-to-office transition has not happened to them yet and many are still figuring out what work culture feels like. However, they have developed their own distinct working styles.
Says Sharvan, “I am amazed by the number of coffee machine talks we have.” Some of the other highlights that they unanimously agreed over:
- No ones pulls rank here
- We have flexible work hours
- Can take a day off and do not have to explain why
- Everyone is available on Slack and are highly responsive
- No distinction between where leaders sit and the rest of the team does
- Can have casual lunches with the CEO
- It is easier to draw personal boundaries and have a life beyond work
Overall, here is a generation that is vocal, highly self-aware, ambitious and focussed. They are already changing work practices and are bringing refreshing ideas to every team they are a part of.
Let us know if you are interested in this series of workplace trends. We will share more.