As of right now, Gen Z make up a full 24% of the modern workforce, yet many of us still don’t have a huge amount of experience working with this latest generation. They’re very different from the millennials who’ve come before so what are the best ways to hire, engage, and retain them? We asked one of our resident Gen-Zers to find out.
Who are Gen-Z?
Belonging to the Gen Z cohort myself and having freshly joined the workforce, I recently spoke to several friends and peers to understand what we want from our employers.
But just before we dive in to what they said, let’s quickly get on the same page of who we mean when we say ’Gen-Z’, and how this group differs from the Millennials who’re now more established.
Here’s the World Economic Forum’s take:
Millennials (Born between 1980-1996)
Gen-Z (Born between 1997-2010)
|Grew up during economic boom||Grew up during a recession|
|Tend to be idealistic||Tend to be pragmatic|
|Focused on gathering ‘experiences’||Focused on ‘saving money’|
|Tech pioneers||Digital Natives|
|Can work with brands that don’t resonate with them on a personal level.||Prefer brands that feel authentic|
Source: World Economic Forum Report.
So that’s who we are and what we tend to favour. Question is, how can employers shape their businesses to future-proof themselves for this latest generation?
8 ways to hire, engage, and retain Gen Z
1. Build a high-tech environment
Gen Zers are the first digital-native generation. Since a very young age we’ve been exposed to the internet, social media and virtual networks. 98% of Gen Zers own a smartphone and like cutting edge technology, and our this need for high-tech gadgetry gets carried to workplaces – 91% of us say that the technology offered by their employer would influence our job choice.
Employers need to invest in the right and most advanced technology they can to retain Gen Z for the long-term. Glitchy website interfaces and bugs in the system aren’t a good look. Upgrade and install the latest software and bring your IT right up to speed – we’ll really notice the difference.
We truly believe that you can only do your best work when you have the best technology, so we tend to be drawn to the businesses that don’t compromise on their in-house tech.
2. Shore up your Social Media presence.
Being Digital Natives, Gen Z are most used to shopping online, and that translates into job-shopping. We thoroughly read online reviews and feedback about potential employers, to the point that we’re basically stalking companies online. Keep an eye on your scores on websites like Glassdoor to stay at the top of your online ratings, and stay appealing to us Gen Zers.
It’s worth saying we also care about Instagram and Social Media presence of the company as well. 82% of Gen Zers say that Social Media is an important tool in the workplace. So make sure your Social Media feeds represent what your business really stands for. It’ll help you win some younger hearts and minds.
3. Give us stability.
Growing up in economically uncertain times and being the only generation that will be going through two recessions before the age of 25 (2008, and now the coronavirus recession of 2020) means our generation craves stability. We’re really risk averse now and 69% of Gen Zers say they just want to have a stable job.
What that means is ‘cool’ perks like ping pong tables and nap pods are bit a passé for us and come across as flashy gimmicks don’t mean much when it comes to job satisfaction. We’re pragmatists, fundamentally. What we want is a student loan repayment scheme, gender pay equity, and the opportunity to contribute and grow.
4. Stir in plenty of feedback and recognition.
We want to learn, evolve and develop our young careers, which is why 97% of Gen Zers crave regular performance feedback from their employers. 1:1 meetings assure us we’re headed the right direction and most of us are happy to keep these catch ups to under 10 minutes each time. A gentle steer is all we’re looking for.
Alongside, we like to feel our work is seen: 79% of Gen Zers would be more loyal to their employers if there was an increase in awards and recognition. Sometimes just a shout out on Slack, Teams, or email will do the trick. A Perkbox reward is even better.
5. Offer opportunities for growth.
Gen Zers are attracted to companies that offer more learning opportunities. We want the flexibility to shape-shift, and 75% of us want multiple roles within the same organisation so we can learn as many skills as possible.
We’re basically a hyperactive generation, so to keep us from getting bored: challenge us and provide us with an opportunity to learn different aspects of the company. It helps us make more informed day-to-day decisions, and allows us to feel we’re making a more valuable contribution to the business.
6. Enhance diversity and Inclusivity.
Major societal changes throughout Gen Zers’ formative years have made us more open-minded, and we truly believe in diversity and inclusion. More than three quarters (77%) of Gen Zers say a company’s level of diversity would affect their decision to work there.
So when recruiting, emphasise the genuine efforts your team is taking to enhance diversity and inclusion. You’ll find you really pull on our heartstrings that way.
7. Plump up your purpose.
Gen Zers are pretty savvy when it comes to digital and advertising, and it means we can smell a PR gimmick a mile away. So be real. Be straight with your messaging and be quick to admit that you’re fallible – it really helps win our trust.
Bolster-up your purpose too, and not just as some pretty veneer. Give it depth. Make it mean something.
Have it shine through in your job descriptions, career sites, employer branding content, employer value propositioning and other employee engagement activities. Don’t shy away from using memes, GIFs and edgy references as you go either (though do check with one of us before you show off your culture too much or you might overdo it!)
8. Communicate face-to-face
Despite being mobile-natives, our generation wants more face-to-face interaction – because we’ve been starved of it! 72% of us Gen Zers want more personal and face-to-face communication with our colleagues.
Organise monthly socials and networking events within the company for employees to connect effectively and collaborate across various departments. Video socials are the next best thing while we’re all work from home through the pandemic.
Gen Z looks at who we work for as an extension of who we are
It’s a powerful form of self-expression to us, and we want to be proud of where we work. The best way to recruit and engage us over the long-haul is to show you understand our values, and make an effort to express them through tangible actions that we can see and experience.
Do that well, and I promise you’ll have our attention.
If you are looking to recruit and retain Gen Z and want to bolster your purpose and employer brand content, get in touch. We can develop a comms strategy alongside you.
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