By Adrian Johansen
Now that Millennials are all grown up and established on their career paths, there’s a new generation of rising stars: Gen Z. If your company is looking to hire young talent, it will need to turn to this new generation, but attempting to do so with the same techniques you used on up-and-coming millennials will only serve as a set up for disappointment.
Gen Z is a significantly different bunch than their predecessors. This article will explain how, giving you some insights into what makes this fresh batch of faces unique and what you’ll need to do as a business if you want to attract and retain their services.
Generation Z Defined
Let’s start by setting the parameters for who qualifies as Generation Z. Also known as “Zoomers,” the label fits individuals born from 1997 onward, according to the Pew Research Center, and there are numerous characteristics that set them apart.
For starters, they’re the most diverse generation — racially and ethnically speaking. In America, only 52% of Gen Z is white, compared to 61% of Millennials, 70% of Gen Xers, and 82% of Baby Boomers. What’s more, Gen Z is likely to be the best educated generation.
Members of Gen Z are less likely to drop out of high school and more likely to go to college. They’re more likely to have parents who also went to college, and, perhaps as a result, are more likely to engage with high-level educational endeavors.
Unlike their Millennial predecessors, who mostly came of age during the zenith of a serious economic recession that dashed many of their life dreams, Zoomers (pre-COVID) were entering the workforce during a relatively strong economy with decent job prospects.
The disruption brought by the COVID-19 has put Generation Z’s future in the workforce into a state of uncertainty. More Zoomers lost their jobs due to the pandemic than Millennials, Gen Xers, or Boomers, and significant numbers had to move back in with their parents or take on lower-paying work in order to make ends meet.
In spite of this, Gen Z remains optimistic, with what might be their greatest defining factor giving them an edge in job prospects: a familiarity with technology. Gen Z grew up with the internet and all manner of interconnected gadgetry. They’re well at home in a workplace dominated by tech, with an ability to navigate it like no generation before.
Zoomer Recruitment Strategies
Above anything else, you’ve got to understand how Gen Z’s upbringing has influenced their perspectives on work in order to recruit them. Here are some ways you can start adapting to their unique preferences to attract their attention.
Offer Workplace Flexibility
Growing up in a world of technology, Zoomers expect it to be woven into the workplace and provide benefits to the employee — like the ability to work via telepresence. As a response, you should be in the position to manage your operations remotely and juggle the challenges that come from working with virtual teams.
You can further cater to Gen Z’s desire for workplace flexibility by allowing for some leeway when setting schedules, offering alternatives to the typical 9-to-5, and granting them increased autonomy and independence in how they complete their tasks.
Understand Their Competitive Nature
Whereas Millennials tended toward collaborative work, Gen Z is more about competition and individual effort. This goes hand-in-hand with their need for flexibility, and in providing Zoomers with independence to handle their responsibilities you’ll be giving them what they desire in both arenas.
Follow this up with a laser focus on helping them hone their skills and it will go a long way in helping them feel valued at your business. Recognize their efforts through regular feedback and the occasional check-in, and be sure to compensate them accordingly so they know their efforts are appreciated.
Try to Reflect Their Values
Gen Z puts a great emphasis on social change, and wants to see those values reflected in the work that they do. You can start by creating a culture of trust, which signifies to prospective Zoomer recruits that yours is a business worth the investment of their time.
Build upon that by demonstrating how the work your employees do will influence positive change upon society, adopting transparency in regards to your business goals, and aligning the actions of your company with authentic ethical stances.
Keep Up With Business Trends
Gen Z doesn’t have time to spin their wheels, and they’ll expect you to have your act together if you want them to follow your lead. This means staying up to date on product management techniques that will maximize your business’s productivity, and making effective use of technologies designed to do the same.
Be sure your company’s online and social media strategies are in line with the times (Zoomers will be checking your website and profiles to get a feel for your brand), and try to weave your social networking together with your company’s recruitment efforts to show younger employees you’re intent on meeting them where they are.
Prepare for Generation Z
As time rolls on, more and more of Gen Z will be entering the workforce, so it’s in your best interests to attract these bright young minds if you want your business to thrive.
Make sure you understand what makes Zoomers tick, then adapt your business to appeal to their preferences. Zoomers might be demanding, but they are also eager for a chance to prove themselves and ready to put in the effort. Work with them, meet them halfway, and they’ll make for an excellent addition to your team.