Employing Generation Z

Do you know how to recruit for Generation Z?

If not you may have already missed them.

Demography plays an important part in how cultures are defined in different generations. We are all familiar with the terms “Boomers” and “Millennials” but did you know that there will soon be more Generation Zs that Millennials in the world, with this generation making up around 25% of population in westernised culture?  The oldest Millennials are already in their late thirties and Baby Boomers are being replaced by Zs at a rate of 10,000 per day in the workplace.*

If you haven’t started considering how to recruit for Generation Z and how they will want to be handled within your employment strategy then you may quickly find yourself out of date with this crucial segment of the workforce.  Here are some Gen Z facts to get you thinking.

  • Generation Zs were born between 1995 and 2012
  • They have never known a world that wasn’t digitised
  • They have never had to search through a phone book or encyclopaedia alphabetically or open up a paper map to find a location
  • They have never had to wait to rewind or load up their music/videos

Sure these are some cool facts, but they have an important impact on the way this generation views and uses the world, including how they work and expect to be treated by employers. 

To create a culture that works for both the employer and the Gen Z employee, HR Managers and business owners must understand the skills, thinking and expectations of this new consignment of professionals. 

Here are some key aspects of Generation Z you should consider in your employment strategy.

ETHICS & AUTHENTICITY

A generation of social activists who have watched the likes of Greta Thunberg hold court with the world’s political stage, Gen Z have seen siblings and parents ignite more demonstrations and political events than we’ve seen in decades.

Through earlier access to social media they are able give their opinions on political and global issues to wider audiences, in a way generations before could never have contemplated.

This has created a generation that cares about ethics and causes.  It is therefore unsurprising that they also expect prospective employers to share this value.  A recent study by Deloitte showed that Generation Z members must see that a potential employer is doing some good in the world to spike their interest.*  In a world of “fake news” they are able to spot authenticity a mile away and a company must do much more than just offer word.  Credibility is gained through visible actions and reviews of employers to support any corporate messages relating to issues such as sustainability or poverty.   A Gen Z will equally voice their feelings about a brand they think is being inauthentic.

How to recruit for Generation Z takeaway:

  • Be transparent, in both the good and bad points of the company and in how you go about communicating in general with your employees and the public – Gen Z value real and honest conversations.
  • Be authentic about what you care about. Writing words on a wall is no longer an option. Once you have identified what this is, be vocal about all the things you do to support this.
  • Be collaborative in how you nurture values related to ethics and authenticity. Gen Z love getting involved so create opportunities for employees to support your cause through volunteering, soundboards, working groups and collaborations.
  • Be visible. Although this digital, remote world will continue to develop (Read our guide on best ways for remote working) , make sure there are face-to-face opportunities for this generation to build relationships with you and their colleagues/partners.
  • Take time to understand the values of your Gen Z (and other!) employees to check that you’re a good match.
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Struggling to understand your authenticity?

We run business values workshops to help you identify who you really are as a company and how you can nurture this for your business and employees.

DIVERSITY

Do not think of diversity limited to characteristics such as gender and race.  Diversity means so much more than this to Generation Z.  Diversity of thought, opinion, upbringing, ways of working are all capacities that Gen Z embrace.  They have grown up in a digital world where every permutation of human is available for them to interact with and they love exploring and collaborating with all types of people – seeing the value that this brings in terms of challenging thought and developing thinking.  It is important for a Gen Z to also feel that they are not boxed in but able to move through diverse interests and skillsets too – including in their working career. 

values based recruitment from brighty people

That said, Gen Z are the most ethnically diverse generation we have ever seen.  They have grown up with ethnically and gender diverse political cabinets and popular culture and they simply do not see things like race in the same way previous generations have.  This is one of the most magical and exciting strengths of this generation.

How to recruit for Generation Z takeaway:

  • Be genuine in your diversity and build a policy in to bring diversity to your workplace – you may also discover a host of hidden benefits!
  • Be open and honest about your efforts with diversity and make sure you represent this within your outward branding.

COLLABORATION WITH MACHINES

AI, automation, NLP, bots and smart devices are a daily expectation of Gen Z.  Where previous generations may have feared replacement through technology, these machinery-natives view it as a natural part of their working environment – and their world to build.  Machine/Human collaboration is viewed as a necessary innovation to move forward with the world and Gen Z know their skillset has to reflect this.  Gone are the silos of “tech” or “data” people and those who do other roles – these are now standard skills of all future employees.

The impact of this is that Gen Zs view career development as broadening their reach across role types and skills in order to build their ability to collaborate and develop alongside the machinery they are working alongside.

How to recruit for Generation Z takeaway:

  • Try not to view roles as single-skilled. Understand that this generation is equally happy being classed as a marketer or a data analyst and don’t want to silo themselves.
  • Instead build roles and projects where good people can develop their skills across multiple areas. Again, meeting the diversity goal and building cross-functionality into your business and team members.

TRULY DIGITAL

How do you think your company presence compares to the digital world that Generation Z has grown up in?  In the survey by Deloitte, 91% said that the technology offered by an employer would influence their job choice.*

A company with outdated technology, processes and social media presence will be viewed as backward-facing and with little opportunity by this generation.  The more technical an employee the more they will seek innovation in the technology they are working with.  Given that most Generation Zs expect to be not just using technology but working alongside it, it is an important criteria for how they view the future success of a company.

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How to recruit for Generation Z takeaway:

  • Address your pace of technological change. Look around your marketplace, industry and competitors – what technology is changing their world and are you part of that picture?  If you don’t have the skills in house to bring your company up-to-date then consider hiring some in.  You could even hire a Gen Z to do this for you!
  • Have your social media feed on point. This a generation who consume their world through the likes of Twitter, Snapchat and TikTok – they expect to be able to learn about and interact with a company online too.
  • What does your website look like? If you haven’t updated it in the last few years then chances are it will be out of date in both design and expected functionality.

ENTREPRENEURS SEEKING STABILITY

The last two decades have seen us come out of a deep recession.  Generation Z have witnessed the impact this had on their families and taken note.  Often mistaken for those who just want to join start-ups and tech hotbeds, Gen Zs differ from Millennials in that they have seen the winners and losers in the era of technological disruption and know that not everyone is a winner.

As a consequence, studies have shown that they seek more stability than the tech-seeking generation before them – believing a solid education and stable company environment to be important factors in building a good career.  This is showing them to be more loyal than their predecessors.

At the same time, the need for diversity and spread of digital skills brings with it a desire for autonomy and entrepreneurialism.  Although Gen Z value the stability of a safe company this is not to the detriment of their being able to work independently.  In a learning world where much of their information gathering is done without assistance online and very much outside of the structure working day they are accustomed to seeking out their own truth in a flexible working pattern that suits them.  This type of flexible, independent working is crucial to how the average Gen Z works.

  • Trust them to work hard but let it be on their own terms. Gen Z has had to work independently and flexibly their whole lives, they are used to driving their own daily agenda.
  • Build entrepreneurial feels to projects and working days. Allow time for development of innovation and feeding into how the process works and reward good ideas.  A scary environment for many companies but one in which Gen Z will thrive – most have aspirations to develop their own company, giving the same feel in yours will help retain the best employees. Perhaps use some employee coaching to help define their future career path and best fit in the business.

Emphasis the stability of your company where it has it.  This could be years in operation, growth, employee stats and future plans – all of this information will make a difference in your recruitment and retention of this generation.  Focus on your hard, financial benefits rather than your soft perks – these are the ones that turn heads. 

A FINAL NOTE ON HOW TO RECRUIT FOR GENERATION Z

More than any generation before it is time to get personal.  Recruiting simply for “role” will not suit the long-term profile of a Gen Z employee.  This is where time investment in identifying your future business strategy and tying it in with employee skill needs will reap benefits.

Use this strategy to identify pools of required skills for moving the business forward, then think about how you can recruit people who may already have/have the ability to learn these skills.  This is how a Generation Z would view it and so you should adapt to this too. 

Be ready to adapt and grow at a rate of change like never before.  Gen Z will always have their eyes on where the world is going next and your company needs to be part of this – whether that is reflected in your values, your development programmes or your technology. 

And finally…..start now!

Generation Z aren’t on their way – they’re already here, sussing out your workplace.  This hard-working, loyal, entrepreneurial and digitally native generation is ready to knock on the door of those they trust and can grow with.  Make sure it’s you.

If you would like any help defining your company values, identifying the skills and traits needed for a particular role, career coaching or any other area of workplace and organisational development or assessment please get in touch.