Awareness Over Action

The Impact of Gen Z’s Perspective
on the Workplace (part 2)

In my previous article, I outlined some of the phenomena that are shaping the attitudes, expectations, and behaviors of Gen Z in the workplace and in their world. This frames what they value, how they communicate and even how and where they shop and work. In that article, I discussed the concept of “access over ownership” in more detail. In this article, I’m going to expand on the next phenomena, being “Awareness over Action”. Click here if you prefer to read the access over ownership article first.

 Awareness Over Action: Gen Z’s Unique Perspective and Its Impact on the Workplace

Awareness Over Action Definition: A contemporary socio-cultural phenomenon characterized by the heightened level of global awareness and opinion formation among individuals, facilitated by the pervasive nature of news media, digital platforms, and instant communication. This widespread consciousness, however, does not consistently translate into meaningful action or tangible change, but instead creates a disparity between knowledge and engagement. As a result, individuals may find themselves in a state of informed passivity, grappling with the challenges of converting their heightened awareness into purposeful and impactful endeavors in an ever-evolving society.

The digital era has given rise to the “awareness over action” phenomenon, often fueled by social media, and is characterized by an increased awareness of societal issues but a lack of engagement in tangible efforts to address them. The role of social media in amplifying issues, the fostering of echo chambers, and the overwhelming volume of information leads to decision fatigue and inaction. The prevalence of “slacktivism” also creates a false sense of accomplishment.

The “awareness over action” mindset has several IMPLICATIONS and I would like to offer some strategies to implement that might engage Gen Z and positively affect their attitudes toward the workplace which I have identified as the ACTION in each case.

IMPLICATION: A desire for purpose-driven work
Gen Z employees are increasingly seeking jobs that align with their values and allow them to make a positive impact on the world. Companies that demonstrate a commitment to social and environmental responsibility are more likely to attract and retain Gen Z talent and even customers.
ACTION: Foster a culture of action by encouraging employees to take an active role in addressing social and environmental issues, both within the workplace and in their communities. This can include providing opportunities for volunteering, fundraising, or participating in local initiatives.

IMPLICATION: A need for guidance and mentorship
With a heightened awareness of issues but limited experience in addressing them, Gen Z employees desire guidance and mentorship from more experienced colleagues to translate their awareness into meaningful action.
ACTION: Offer guidance and mentorship by pairing Gen Z employees with experienced mentors who can help them develop the skills and knowledge necessary to translate their awareness into meaningful action.

IMPLICATION: A higher expectation for corporate social responsibility
Gen Z employees often hold their employers to high standards when it comes to social and environmental responsibility. Companies that fail to meet these expectations may struggle to retain and engage their Gen Z talent.

ACTION: Communicate your commitment to social and environmental responsibility by clearly articulate your organization’s values and demonstrate how your business practices align with these values. Be transparent about your progress and areas for improvement. Foster a workplace culture that encourages open discussions about social and environmental issues, promoting cross-generational collaboration and learning.