It’s no secret that members of each generation have a different overall life experience than the previous as they mature to adulthood. Whether we’re talking about World Wars, the prevalence of terrorism, climate change, economic recessions, technological advances or something else, events can have a significant impact on individuals within a cohort.
Not only can these happenings shape the world view of individuals, but they will influence their approach to their careers and what they’re looking for in an employer. This is no different for Generation Z, which is just entering the workforce.
It’s crucial for hiring managers to have a good appreciation for how to attract and retain this young talent. Read on for a close-up view of what sets Generation Z apart from the generations that have come before them.
Who Do We Mean by Gen Z?
Basically, Generation Z refers to people born in 1997 and later. That makes them age 23 and younger—on the cusp of entering the working world as they graduate from college and high school.
There are some 61 million members of Gen Z about to start their careers. That’s a force that’s bound to make some waves in workplaces. One very positive side of this sea change is that 10,000 Baby Boomers are eligible to retire every day and employers need to replace this expertise.
What Characterizes Members of Gen Z?
The young people who belong to Generation Z have some interesting and unique characteristics. Here’s a brief rundown. Members of Gen. Z:
1. Are Value-Driven
These employees are looking for a company whose values align with their own. And, they’re very curious about whether prospective employers demonstrate ethical business practices. Maybe a firm shows it has a social conscience, does its part to promote sustainability or makes reparation for any negative impacts it unwittingly has. Anything that suggests responsible corporate citizenship is what Generation Z is after.
2. Appreciate Diversity and Inclusion
In the history of the United States, there’s never been a generation that’s more racially and ethnically diverse than this one. For decades, diversity has been important in the workplace, and there have been many initiatives to increase employment equity among workers. Of late, accessibility issues for individuals with disabilities has also gained more interest.
Generation Z employees are attuned to these issues. If they haven’t personally experienced workplace discrimination, chances are they’ve witnessed it happen to others. This translates into having higher expectations of any company that offers them a job.
3. Seek Economic Security
Many in this generation are still paying off enormous student loans. That means they’re determined to land a well-paying job with benefits. Members of Gen Z are highly motivated to work hard to achieve financial security. They’re often willing to relocate for a good job and put in extra hours.
4. Treasure a Sense of Community
Honest communication and transparency are valued by Generation Z. Expect them to be collaborative team players, ready to make strong connections with coworkers. They’ll brainstorm solutions with colleagues to difficult problems and roll up their sleeves to lend others a hand. Their need for transparent communication extends to performance reviews and day-to-day interactions with their supervisors. They want clear job descriptions and candid feedback.
5. Are Technologically Savvy
Like the Millennials before them, members of Gen Z have had access to technology from childhood. What’s critical to understand is that these new workers have never known a time when technology wasn’t at their fingertips. In other words, they’re extremely comfortable with technology and rely on it as their ‘go to’ solution whatever the situation or issue.
How Can Employers Appeal to Gen Z?
There are several routes to attract and retain staff from this youthful generation. The following are four places to put your focus.
1. Offer Competitive Salary and Benefits
This is a ‘no-brainer’ to bring in the best talent in any industry. To retain Generation Z staff, show them also how they can advance in the business.
2. Build in Flexibility
Offer different options for getting the job done. Give employees technology to work remotely and implement a flexible work schedule. Technological solutions can facilitate collaboration and provide a work from home option. The ability to work longer days and have a flex day off and/or change working hours enables staff to tailor their working life better to meet deadlines while keeping a work-life balance.
3. Reward Staff Engagement
Have a solid staff engagement practice to encourage young workers to contribute and remind them that their opinion matters. Consider an open concept office plan where coworkers can easily work together. Senior staff should set the tone by communicating honestly with their team and across company departments.
4. Nurture Performance and Praise Initiative
All employees want to know when they’re doing a good job and how to increase their competence. Members of Gen Z will flourish in an environment where their accomplishments are recognized, and they’re given the tools to develop further.
With a little planning and proactivity, employers will find this new generation of workers indispensable to their company’s success.