Hiring Gen Z
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What is Gen Z?
The term Generation Z (Gen Z or Zoomers) refers to anyone born between 1997 and 2012. They are known as the first “digital natives,” or the first generation exposed to the internet and portable technology from birth. They are preceded by millennials (1981-1996) and followed by Generation Alpha (early 2010 to mid-2020s).
Characteristics of Gen Z
Statistically speaking, we’re welcoming into the workforce a whole generation that was born and raised surrounded by immediate portable access to the internet. Additionally, they were born into a time where stigmatization of mental health has dropped and different avenues of support and treatment became readily available. What does this leave us with? A whole grouping of young adults who:
- Spend more time online. In comparison to previous generations, Gen Z spends about 45% of their time online “almost constantly.”
- Have higher mental health awareness. As a result, Zoomers are more likely to have a diagnosed mental health condition. High value is placed on self-awareness which means mental health support is a must.
- Tend to be politically progressive. Statistically, Gen Zs views on key social and policy issues are more progressive than previous generations.
- Are the most diverse generation. Both racially and ethnically, Gen Z is the most diverse generation yet.
How Can Hiring Gen Z Employees be Beneficial to a Company?
To put it plainly, we could all use a fresh perspective. This new generation of workers brings that and so much more to the table. In a forward-thinking company, hiring the best of Gen Z equates to a full and diversified workforce — one that is technologically intuitive, enthusiastic, and driven to succeed.
- Diversity contributes to success. According to this Forbes article, “Diversity allows for fresh ideas, which drives innovation and prevents companies from the downfall of groupthink.”
- Tends to be more digitally literate. As Gen Zers were born into technology, they’ve grown up connected, making them more likely to find new technology intuitive.
- Prepared and motivated to progress. Statistically, 75% of Gen Z expects a promotion in the first year, while 60% expect to change roles within two years. With proper assessment of the individual needs and motivations of your Gen Z hire, they are more than capable to do just that.
Strategies for Hiring Gen Z Employees
In order to strategically attract Gen Z applicants, we need to take a closer look at their motivations and values in relation to employment. Gen Z employees are looking mainly for adaptability, work-life balance, contribution with meaning, transparency in communication, and future focus.
Gen Z is known for their adaptability and fluidity. They were on track to inherit a strong economy and record low unemployment when the Covid 19 pandemic struck, which turned much of that upside-down. In the midst of these circumstances, according to Pew Research, Gen Z remains on track to be the most well-educated generation and are far less likely to engage in risky behavior, placing more value on mental health and finding success in school and work. They’re looking for employers who can adapt as well as they can.
In the interview process, model ways your company values flexibility both for the work getting done, and the employees doing the work (such as flexible work arrangements). How you find Gen Z applicants is just as important as how you proceed with the hiring process. Gen Zers aren’t on job boards as much as older generations, but they are on social media. If you’re not recruiting on at least one of the top seven social media outlets but want to hire the next generation, here is a great place to start.
Highlight Work-Life Balance
Stress is considered the #1 hindrance to productivity by Gen Z, so work-life balance is a top priority. Show this as top priority to your organization as well. Whatever your company offers to support this balance, lay it out on the table. This can include having a work-life coordinator on staff, flexible work arrangements, mental health programs, telehealth options, vacation time, and any employee assistance programs (EAPs) available to your employees.
Show You Value What They Bring to the Table
Generation Z wants to feel they are vital to operations from day one. Acknowledge that you want them to be there and treat them as an equal. Yes, they lack what comes with experience, but what if you treated their inexperience as an asset? They bring energy, relevance, cultural and social understanding, and greater global awareness than previous generations. Sell them on the mission of your company. They’re searching for a job they can find passion and meaning in.
Encourage a Two-Way Interview
In general, what Gen Z considers fundamental might feel abrasive to those of older generations. Lean into their assertive questioning and encourage them to evaluate you as you evaluate them. Be transparent about your experiences in the organization and offer specifics about what they can expect if they select your company as their workplace.
Build the Framework
This generation is looking for more than just a job. More than other generations, Gen Zers understand how things can change dramatically at the drop of a dime. They’re looking for a future that can adapt to whatever socioeconomic circumstances occur. Layout a theoretical framework and timeline for how they can quickly earn raises and move into more prominent positions. They value strong leadership and mentorship. Model honesty, accessibility, and involvement in strategizing their future. Give an explanation about training programs and opportunities available for workers and share how the framework can shape their first few years of employment. This feeds their need for engagement.
Changes a Company Can Make to Hire Gen Z Employees
Take a good look at your organization with the motivations of Gen Zers in mind. Ask where improvements can be made in these areas and make changes. Shift your focus from finding the right candidates to attracting the right candidates. This generation is well-informed and assertive in finding employment that suits their needs and priorities. The best thing you can do is become the employer this generation wants to work for.
Up Your Social Media Game
Gen Zers are increasingly seeing the importance of a brand’s online presence with 53% of college students strongly agreeing this is important. To put that in perspective, last December that number was 34%. To attract this generation, research and implement passive social media recruiting tactics. Connect with potential candidates early and often. 81% of Gen Z strongly agree it is important to establish employer connections even if they don’t have an immediate job opening.
Streamline and Modernize Your Hiring Process
According to Forbes, 54% of Generation Z won’t apply if they feel recruitment is dated and 82% expect the hiring process to take two weeks. Wherever possible, convert paper-based parts of your hiring process to digital and offer options to video conference in lue of in-person meetings. Utilize methods of communication such as text reminders and push notifications to request additional information or remind them of scheduled interviews. Keep applicants informed on where they are in the hiring process and the estimated date of the final hiring decision.
Improve Work-Life Balance
The emphasis on work-life balance is increasing everywhere. Among Gen Z, this is true to an even greater degree. If you don’t have a work-life coordinator on staff, consider doing so. Improve existing EAPs and add new programs. Look into additional ways to increase flexibility such as telecommuting and flexible work hours. Increase focus on both physical and mental employee health.
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Kayla is the Chief Innovation Officer at Hero Culture, where the passion is to create company cultures of retention using the power of personality.
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