Ricoh Europe: Collision or Collaboration as Gen Z Joins Workforce?

Businesses already struggling with Millennials face huge challenges
if they fail to adopt new ways of working

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–More than half of workers (52 per cent) say their employers are failing
to meet the needs of different generations in the workplace, according
to new research commissioned by Ricoh
. The stark finding points to a corporate collision course, as
for the first time in history a fourth generation – Generation Z –
enters the working population.

But what exactly does Generation Z (those currently aged 19 years and
younger) want and expect? Do they deserve the crude label given by some
as overly demanding screen-swipers in search of instant gratification? A
survey of over 3,300 people from all four generations – spanning 22
countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa – answers this with
an emphatic ‘no’.

Generation Zers are unique. They have been strongly shaped by their
individualistic Generation X parents, heard stories from their Baby
Boomer grandparents and witnessed the errors and successes of
Millennials. Combining this with their appetite for all things digital
means they have a solid grounding to achieve and educate others in an
ever-evolving and demanding business world.

The good news is that the majority of workers (88 per cent) surveyed
from all generations believe that having a workforce of different ages
is an asset to a company. However, the survey unearthed a key challenge
that managers must overcome. Over a third (35 per cent) of older
employees expect workplace tensions to increase with the arrival of
Generation Z into their companies. With the next wave of technology-led
change sure to soon hit and disrupt the workplace further, the need to
establish environments that enable and encourage truly harmonious and
productive working across the generations is paramount.

Mills, CEO of Ricoh Europe
, said: “Just like the possibilities
afforded by digitalisation,
the arrival of Gen Zers opens a catalogue of opportunities to all
businesses. With only seven per cent of SMBs currently selling across EU
borders1, Gen Zers who move on to managerial roles will be
perfectly placed to drive borderless working and ensure their business
competes in a single regional market. Enterprise organisations stand to
benefit, too. The experience and business know-how Gen Zers acquire into
the future, coupled with their upbringing of ultra connectivity and
collaboration, will see them play the role of agility enablers for
bigger businesses. Meanwhile, Gen Z’s constant demand for workstyle
innovation – where an ever-present stream of innovative new
technologies, products and processes are the norm – will be a key
enabler of vertical market players seeking globalisation.”

The survey found that 65 per cent of respondents agree there are
fundamental differences in how employees from each generation work. The
clearest contrasts emerged in their respective attitudes, expectations
and styles of working. Face-to-face communication at work, while still
the most preferred method across every group, is in generational
decline. Preference for it drops from 77 per cent among Baby Boomers to
58 per cent among Generation Z. Meanwhile, 73 per cent of Generation Z
respondents believe their future employer will cater to their needs,
opposed to only 48 per cent of the other three generations.

Mills added: “There is no doubt that Gen Z is heading towards a reality
crunch and businesses must adapt now. Trying to squeeze employees –
particularly Gen Z – into the same traditional ways of working, and
forcing them to use the same tools, simply will not work. People are
often the biggest differentiator for an organisation and the most
successful companies will be those who can empower and engage all
generations in their workforce – from the most experienced through to
the youngest rising star.”

Find out more at


| About Ricoh |

Ricoh is a global technology company specializing in office imaging
equipment, production print solutions, document management systems and
IT services. Headquartered in Tokyo, Ricoh Group operates in about 200
countries and regions. In the financial year ending March 2015, Ricoh
Group had worldwide sales of 2,231 billion yen (approx. 18.5 billion

The majority of the company’s revenue comes from products, solutions and
services that improve the interaction between people and information.
Ricoh also produces award-winning digital cameras and specialized
industrial products. It is known for the quality of its technology, the
exceptional standard of its customer service and sustainability

Under its corporate tagline, imagine. change. Ricoh helps
companies transform the way they work and harness the collective
imagination of their employees.

For further information, please visit



Ricoh Europe PLC
Jack Gibson
Tel: +44 (0) 203 033 3766
us on Facebook:
us on Twitter:
the Ricoh media centre at: