We are welcoming a new generation into the workplace, Generation Z. Born after 1998, they are also sometimes referred to as Centennials or iGeneration. Gen Z’ers are your new high school graduates and upcoming college students that will be looking for internships and finding their first job in the next few years.  So it’s probably time to stop and reflect on who they are and how their entry into the workforce will affect our view on ethics and our Ethics Policies.

Let’s take a moment and think about their impact into the corporate world.  First and foremost, technology is vital to Generation Z and has been the focus of studies and press regarding generational difference.  In fact, The Center for Generational Kinetics conducted a study called iGen Tech Disruption that examines the technology uses of Gen Z.  Not surprising, the study revealed that social media affects Generation Z both internally and externally more than any other generation.  But what caught my eye, and I guess exposed me for the baby boomer that I am, was that the top platforms to reach Gen Z are Instagram and SnapChat!

Equally interesting is that this new generation seems to be much more conservative in their cell phone usage work.  The same study showed that only 6% of Gen Z’ers felt it was appropriate to use their cellphone during the workday where over 18% of millennials thought it was appropriate.

This gives cause to revisit our IT Security Policies and even Code of Conduct issues particularly related to social media use, cell phones in the work place and other related issues, for example.  Too often, we don’t do all we should as ethics and compliance professionals to consider the evolution of our workforce as we revisit and update policies – we see them from our perspective.  After all, a year ago we were talking about the impact millennials have on the workforce, and now millennials are not the new kids on the block.

So what else do we need to consider?  How about employee access to key ethics and compliance systems like hotlines?  Last year we introduced Text2Tell to great reviews from our clients with growing millennial populations who realized that a now substantial and growing part of their workforce preferred and were more comfortable texting than talking or using a web portal.  Our latest releases introduce integration into the world of social media and we’ll continue to drive user acceptance by allowing your employees and constituents to report issues in the manner with which they feel most comfortable.

Finally, we would caution you to not confuse Millennials with Gen Z’ers culturally.  Where Millenials tended to be optimists with a desire to share and longing to be discovered, Gen Z’ers tend to be realists who create and work for success.  So think about your employee and constituent audience as you revisit and update policy and deploy technology to allow them to navigate the world of corporate compliance, ethics and conduct.


J Rollins is the co-founder and CEO of ETHIX360.  At ETHIX360, our goal is simple, to provide an affordable, flexible and comprehensive answer to employee communication and case management on issues related to corporate ethics, code of conduct, fraud, bribery, EH&S and workplace violence.  To learn more about ETHIX360, please visit www.ethix360.com, or follow us on twitter @ethix360.