Within the next few years, Millennials will lose their designation as the youngest demographic cohort in the workforce. Members of Generation (or “Gen”) Z, defined as those born between the mid-1990s and the mid-2000s, are completing their educations and transitioning into the professional world. For businesses seeking to attract, engage, and retain top talent, this shift necessitates understanding the unique attributes of Gen Z and the climate in which its constituents were raised.
As you prepare to begin recruiting the older members of this young generation, here are some traits to keep in mind:
- While most Millennials are technologically savvy, members of Gen Z are true digital natives. Nearly all of them have never known a world without the internet, and their childhoods were shaped by the constant presence of smartphones and social media. As a result, using technology and adapting to its latest incarnations is intuitive for them. Having grown up with unlimited information at their fingertips, they tend to be enthusiastic about learning and are accustomed to teaching themselves new concepts and skills. Therefore, they will expect employers to offer opportunities for growth and development, and online courses, webinars, and similar tools are natural choices for delivery mechanisms. In addition, technology has caused this generation to view nine-to-five work schedules in traditional office environments as obsolete. Employers can expect Gen Z to follow down the path that Millennials have begun to carve in demanding flexible schedules and the option to work remotely.
- Entrepreneurship will be a strong pull for Gen Z, with an estimated 50 to 72 percent having aspirations of owning their own businesses. This may be due to the pronounced independent streak that reliance on the internet tends to foster, as well as the inspiration provided by the many start-ups that have found staggering success during Gen Zers’ formative years. How can businesses retain Gen Z employees who are drawn to the idea of working for themselves? One method is to entrust them with the responsibility of managing projects and teams as early as possible and ensuring that they understand how their efforts contribute to the success of the organization. This will help them feel like they have an ownership interest in the company. In addition, offering flexible work arrangements will grant them some of the autonomy that they find appealing about entrepreneurship.
- Having come of age during the Great Recession, members of Gen Z may have more cynical worldviews than their older counterparts. This may actually be a benefit for businesses, as Gen Z employees are expected to be more ambitious and have stronger work ethics than their Gen Y colleagues because they understand how easily success can be lost. By offering competitive salaries and benefits packages as well as a clear career progression, employers can entice talented Gen Z candidates, who will be drawn to the stability that such offers provide.
- Members of Gen Z value the opportunity to make an impact on the world around them. They want to feel connected to their organizations and the causes they represent. Therefore, businesses should be transparent about their missions and explain to employees how their work advances those missions. Businesses should also get involved in their communities as a way of appealing to Gen Z’s altruistic inclinations.
- Like Millennials, Gen Z employees will crave feedback and, at times, reassurance from their superiors. Therefore, managers should provide clear guidance on expectations and offer praise and constructive criticism when warranted.
Given that most members of Gen Z are still students, it remains unclear exactly how they will integrate into the workforce. However, understanding their needs and motivations will help businesses prepare to harness their talent.
Creative Business Resources can guide your organization through the landscape of a demographically evolving labor pool in order to build, train, and retain a workforce that will power your success. Contact CBR today!
(Sources: https://www.businessinsider.com/afp-generation-z-born-in-the-digital-age-2015-2,https://www.businessinsider.com/what-to-know-about-working-with-gen-z-2014-9, https://www.inc.com/john-boitnott/generation-z-and-the-workplace-what-you-need-to-know-.html).
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