The world is on the brink of Generation Z entering the workforce and becoming productive members of society, and yet it feels like only yesterday that millennials were making their debut. Just like with millennials, Gen Z is expected to shake up company culture, so how can you anticipate and adapt to fit the ideals of a new generation? Here we’ll break down two common traits of Gen Z, and show you how can adapt and grow along with them rather than just bracing for impact.
1. Use "Outside the Box" Recruitment Strategy
Traits of the Tech Generation
Gen Z has been surrounded by tech since they were little, and have only known a world where the internet is always available to them. Their confidence around technology has forged them into global thinkers who crave multiple experiences. However, this focus on technology for social interaction has affected their "people skills" and their ability to develop interpersonal relationships.
How to Adapt
1. Focus on Liberal Arts Applicants
You want to look for those in Generation Z who have a focus in liberal arts. Tech companies have found that critical thinking and soft skills required to gain clients and be innovative in their field are more crucial to the workload. Depending on the complexity of the work, you can look outside of technical degrees. Focus on those candidates who show interest in art, history, philosophy, and sociology (to name a few) as they will prove essential to growing your business. Each worker in Gen Z has been steeped in technology since birth, and tend to be more adept at picking up the unique qualities of your software and systems—and may even be able to suggest improvements!
2. Create Collaborative, Problem-Solving Interviews
Recently, companies have begun to develop a new strategy beyond the one-on-one interview. One such technique paired off multiple sets of applicants to solve a problem; once they completed that, the applicants were paired off again with different partners. This helped the company assess how each person dealt with new collaborators and changing conditions—something that every employee has faced, no matter their vocation. It focuses on the social skills necessary to work with customers, clients, coworkers, and upper management.
3. Recruit Using Social Media Platforms
Job fairs, newspaper ads—even Craigslist may be foreign to Gen Z, even more so than the millennials that precede them. Now, you can post your “Help Wanted” sign on Facebook and LinkedIn or advertise on Instagram and Twitter where Generation Z is more likely to look each day.
You can even use social media to screen, but be careful! Social media platforms can be a great entry point for learning about your potential Gen Z hires, but think twice before casually perusing someone’s profile, lest you find yourself inadvertently discriminating! CNet Technologies understands how to gain relevant information from social media without invading a person’s privacy, designed to protect your HR staff from accidental discrimination based on someone’s lifestyle. For this reason alone, a third-party screening company can prove to be a great partner.
2. Create an Independent Work Culture with Flexibility
A Generation That Prides Itself on Being Unique
This upcoming generation of workers understands self-branding possibly more than any other before. They want to be independent movers and shakers that can make an impact on the world they see from their Instagram account. Millennials had similar motivations, but because companies weren’t quite ready for a diverse, independent workforce, millennials ended up hopping jobs often. Gen Z wants to understand the big picture within a stable environment to learn and grow; they have expectations (not just hopes) of a nurtured work/life balance, including:
- Paid time off
- Sick leave
- Mental health consideration
- Livable wages (as opposed to survivable).
How to Adapt
1. Support Flexible Roles
You can attract Gen Z by promoting multiple skills and diverse experience, either internally or with partners that allow them to participate in the big picture of the company. Gone are the days of traditional entry-level jobs; they’ve all been eaten up with advanced technology and complex algorithms. That means companies have to get creative with their job openings if they want to hire young talent that will develop into long-lasting employees. Gen Z highly values non-binary, multi-faceted roles in their personal lives along with an independent entrepreneurial focus. Businesses can benefit from these values by rotating their new employees laterally, cross-training them again and again, and giving them a better sense of the goals of your company. Combined, these can fulfill that desire to gain multiple skill sets while still providing a platform of stability. This approach will accelerate professional growth and create an independent work culture.
2. Build Flexible Schedules
With today’s technology, you can work from anywhere, at any time—so why are so many businesses still locked into the Monday through Friday work week? Yes, this schedule is highly necessary for some careers—especially those focused on customer service. However, there are a multitude of paths that could stretch beyond tradition. Flexibility also extends to how and where a person works: a company that facilitates "pop-up" workspace for independent, collaborative, at home, and onsite work is a company that will attract and keep this next generation of workers.
3. Provide Flexible Life/Work Balance:
Gen Z wants steady and dependable work in a place that will foster creativity and independence, but they also value self-care and family life. This has developed into an expectation that whomever they choose to work for will value this as well, along with aligning to their social values and global scope. As mentioned, paid time off, sick leave, mental health care, and livable wages are considered not only an expectation but a right. Many companies have begun to incorporate these values in the past decade, and it produces a workforce that is dedicated, hard-working, and loyal to their company.
The ideals and values of Generation Z may seem tough to accommodate as the traditional system of entry-level work becomes automated and millennials begin to fill roles in upper management. If you’re willing to adapt, you may find yourself and your company "riding the wave" into the future of business practices.