A Deep Dive into Hiring: Generation Z
Gen Z is becoming the most populous generation to join the working world and is already making changes to the way companies hire and recruit. What will it mean for companies, and will they have to meet them on their own terms to successfully attract and retain the largest generation of workers?
The biggest difference with Gen Z than any other generation are they don’t recall a world without the internet. They have been exposed to a global stream of information which has built a mindset of endless possibilities due to their online presence. This generation is socially (social media) and technologically advanced, and companies who ignore this or do not adapt to the working environment will risk being ignored. Those who learn to embrace change will gain their loyalty.
What do companies need to do in order to attract Generation Z? Some topics more than others have the ability to attract Gen Z candidates and it’s important to know which ones.
Gen Z’ers are more socially conscious and diverse than any other generation. This means equality, diversity and inclusion is A major factor for them when deciding where they should work. They want to know that the organisation they are going to work for genuinely cares about the same issues and is willing to make the necessary changes that will make a difference. The same goes for CSR (corporate social responsibility). Offering opportunities for volunteer days, for example, as one of the benefits and having strong ethics around community projects is a demonstrable way to show this newer generation that you are plugged in and willing to take action for causes you believe in.
Sustainability is a priority for many Gen Z’ers. Knowing what the business is doing to reduce climate change and then telling that story well will help attract this generation to your business. Having internal resource groups around issues like sustainability help the businesses to hear Gen Z’s perspective on environmental sustainability and how as a business they can capitalise on their ideas. They are the leaders of the future and have a real concern for the wider environment.
Diversity and inclusion
A top priority for Gen Z is to be a part of a workplace that embraces diversity and inclusion. They are aware of discrimination and want to see a fair representation of society within their workplace. Being particularly socially conscious, they want to work for a company that delivers on their values and has a culture that not only acknowledges diversity but actively embraces it.
Research from our latest whitepaper “How to attract and retain a multi-generational workforce” suggests that most desired employer attributes are similar between the generations. According to a recent Gallup poll of the top 3 Employer Value Proposition elements, one of the main differences shows up around attitudes towards diversity amongst the latest generation to join the workforce. Gen Z was the only generation to vote Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in their top 3 desired employer attributes.
(KDR – Multigenerational whitepaper)
Images: Diverse, inclusive, authentic
Language: Inclusive, purpose driven, values led.
What to highlight: Commitment to issues like ED&I and sustainability: Talk about how this plays out tangibly within the business, CSR initiatives, progression, flexibility around working hours, location, team values, alternative social events (not just drink focused), how benefits will make their lives easier, mental health initiatives, psychologically a healthy place to work, the technology used within the business, liveable pay.
Young Millennials and Gen Z (1989-2001)
- The organisation cares about employees’ wellbeing
- The organisation’s leadership is ethical
- The organisation is diverse and inclusive of all people
Tailor your message
In order to speak to Gen Z candidates, HR teams need to focus on company values, and how to deliver the content as authentically as possible. It’s not just about forging a career for this generation; they have other concerns that they relate to alongside work life.
Find ways to showcase company events and day to day activities in a variety of ways. Create a balance around expressing stories and experiences visually rather than just via text listing out the benefits of working there, for example.
This provides a unique take on employee experiences which can help a company step away from the realms of just regurgitating job descriptions and gives Gen Z candidates something they can relate to.
How are you engaging with candidates that belong to Generation Z? When you are dealing with digital natives asking them to send in a CV and cover letter is probably not going to cut it. Being more interactive and looking into the latest social trends, creating quick engaging videos are solutions to help bridge generational gaps. Growth mindset around changing up the processes to suit individual needs and not sticking with traditional recruitment processes is a helpful tactic.
HR teams could look at strategies to engage and interact with Gen Z candidates in a way that doesn’t make them feel like they’re just scrolling through another job ad. The ad needs to be honest and authentic and showcase what the company is all about. It is your chance to pick out the best points about your business and let the candidates know what is in it for them. Often a job ad is their first experience of what your company is about. The research into your company comes next.
After the uncertainty of the last couple of years, Gen Z craves stability. They are less likely to move jobs if they feel aligned to the company and its values. They also are keen to know how their work impacts the business and where they are able to progress within the structure.
Dolly P says No to 9-5
Gen Z is motivated more by the pattern of their working life than earning money. The traditional 9-5 working pattern is not appealing to this group. Outcomes based working would be an option to consider once new starters are up to speed to accommodate the degree of flexibility they crave. The pandemic has thankfully opened the doors to more flexible working, however perhaps a few more steps need to be bravely taken by the masses to fully suit Gen Z’s preferred working patterns. Compressed hours across the globe are growing in popularity with various governments trialling four day weeks. Businesses are finding that productivity is either increasing or staying the same as the traditional 5 day working week, rather than decreasing as old fears may have it.
Once you’ve managed to attract Gen Z you now need to retain them, but this can be somewhat of a challenge if you aren’t addressing their needs.
Statistics show that although Gen Z are craving security, they would also look to leave employers that don’t offer the kind of work/life balance and respect for personal time they are looking for.
Generation Z crave active communication and well-constructed feedback and won’t think twice if they felt that poorly trained managers cause unnecessary work and stress. On that note, this generation are the most stressed out generation of all, so ensuring robust mental health schemes are in place are a must, as are other Employee Assistance Programmes.
Gen Z respect leaders who are engaged, are willing to give feedback and who truly care about them and their career development. Micromanagement (a no no for any generation) is not a productive management style. Gen Z instead prefer 5-30 minute catch ups to coach and mentor them once a week. Be logical and rational, if you are a natural leader who is logical when sharing feedback, you will be more effective for them. Gen Z are driven by clear purpose and direction, leaders need to set expectations and help them to build their career path.
Within each generational cohort there are of course individuals and the traits mentioned above are generalised, taken from quantitative data. We can say however that if these generalised traits are catered for then you will be addressing many of the needs of this generation. Clear and authentic communication is fundamental to any attraction campaign. Communication that tells a story around the values, the life and the external interactions that the business has will plug into what they are looking for in an employer. An understanding of their underlying stress levels and preferred management style will go a long way to retaining them within the business, as will providing the right tech stack, access to career enhancing training programmes and productive feedback. A longer-term strategy, that is not only helpful in attracting Generation Z, but helpful to the whole workforce is addressing diversity and inclusion within the company. We put the whole KDR team on a diversity and inclusion training course to help them have informed conversations around this topic with clients and candidates so if you require any guidance around this or want to initiate an inclusive search pleased do get in touch.