The archaic enterprise model of yesterday will be tossed out the window in the Gen Z world of tomorrow. This static purview of workflow––I’m talking about all of that wonderful 9am to 5pm structure, climbing up a dinosaur of a corporate ladder, and age as a premise of enterprise seniority––is a model that sprung from the times of the industrial revolution, and its expiration date is long overdue. The traditional enterprise structure lacks the capacity to meet the needs of our future’s highly dynamic digital reality. Moreover, because of Gen Z’s preferences and forward-thinking, adaptable, and non-traditional mindset, we will serve as the ultimate factor that will finally terminate this inefficient and wildly backwards model.
The first fault of the enterprise model is that it fails to include innovation as a main onboarding factor. The experience qualifications of candidates should not be discounted, but rather, augmented by the “innovative” level of the prospective employee. For example, the enterprise model would choose to onboard a 40-year-old with experience over a 20-year old with ideas that could convert into massive ROI and technological advancement within the company. This is exactly why Gen Z despises the enterprise model. If innovation is the key to unlocking a digital society, then why aren’t companies taking steps to prioritize this factor as part of the hiring process? In the workplace of tomorrow, in which Gen Z rules, experience will not remain the sole element at play, and this will have massive implications for the archaic enterprise structure.
Moving on, Gen Z does not believe in complete hierarchy––which is what the enterprise model evangelizes at its very core. Yes, it is necessary to have people in positions of power delegating employees––otherwise necessary operations would fail to be executed. However, what I mean by complete hierarchy is that inputs from regular employees and people in “non-superior” positions should receive more weight in the decision making process. According to a study, “What Gen Z Gets Right About Organizational Hierarchy:”
Gen Zers are used to collaborating and being involved in making decisions, and they clearly want this trend to continue in the workplace. They prefer to be directly involved by having teams collaborate to decide priorities, but a close second-best is to have a leader for each smaller unit of the business. This structure allows them to be closer to the leader (aka the person making the decisions). It enables them to contribute to and learn from the decision-making process.
Moreover, when interviewing a few of my Gen Z peers, they expressed the following opinions:
“It’s definitely important to have leaders and to have a boss to tell employees what to do, but those employees need to be valued more because, afterall, they are the ones who make the company. We need hierarchy, but it needs to be more flexible.”
“I think that if you give workers more say, they can actually be encouraged to innovate more and actually help the company do better in the market, like make them stand out from competition.”
Innovation as a result of a more flexible workplace dynamic in which employees are valued is another reason why Gen Z will spell the end of the enterprise model. The current structure is too rigid, which can lead to a decline in total enterprise innovation. Clearly, this structure is entirely backwards and unfit to carry out the goal of societal digitalization––let alone accelerate it.
To conclude, the overall model fails to fulfill the needs of our future digital framework. However, Gen Z will serve as the instrument that will finally demolish the old infrastructure, and usher in a new era of workflow that is integral to the digital future.