If you clicked on this post thinking, “Gen Z? What about Millennials??”, you are not alone. Many companies are still adapting to Millennial influence on company culture and communication styles, especially in a global or cross-cultural context.
While the growing cohort of Millennials in the workforce shouldn’t be negated, it’s also time to start thinking about the incoming wave of “Digital Natives,” as they’ve been nicknamed, or those born between 1995-2010. Not only are there more Gen Z overall who will enter the workforce than there are Millennials, but this generation is bringing its own strengths, weaknesses, and expectations to the table.
Here are some tips to help you understand some key traits and tendencies of many Gen Z workers—and how you can factor those considerations into your recruitment and onboarding practices.
1. Start Investing in Gen Z Now
In the ever-present competition for the best talent, it’s important to start implementing effective recruitment strategies as soon as possible. And Gen Z workers, in particular, show a lot of promise. Even just considering the sheer number of Digital Natives that will be beginning their careers within the next 10 years (an estimated 61 million in the US alone), it’s clear that their presence will begin to reshape company culture. This means that capitalizing on the capabilities of young talent will have enormous value.
What’s more, some reports indicate that Gen Z are starting work at a younger average age than their predecessors, in part because they are more inclined to start working without a university degree. This is perhaps because they grew up in an era where Millennials got saddled with record amounts of student debt, while technological advancements paved the way for entrepreneurs to become self-sufficient in a more varied range of trades and skills.
In terms of recruiting Gen Z, it’s important to consider the impression that a job description might give, and which qualifications are truly necessary for the position. Revise job postings to outline only critical competencies, and be transparent about the training (initial or ongoing) and experience that your organization offers (see RW3 Instructor-Led Training).
2. Remember That They’re Called “Digital Natives” For A Reason
Ever heard the expression that Gen Z is the generation that was born with a smartphone in their hand? It may be a bit of a stretch, but it’s not far from the truth. Unlike Millennials, who largely became adept at using technology in their young adulthood, Gen Z were exposed to contemporary social media and immersed in all the conveniences of modern technology literally since birth. As a result, their technological aptitude is a major advantage that young talent can bring their organizations.
All of this means that recruiters should capitalize on the role that tech plays in attracting new talent. Consider the following ideas about how to put your best gadgets forward:
Videos: Many older generations tend to use video chats like Skype, FaceTime, or Marco Polo to communicate for specific purposes. For Gen Z, video chat is ubiquitous and often preferable to a phone call. I mean, what else could we expect in an era where you can refill prescriptions via Skype? (It’s true, check it out.)
One way to attract Gen Z candidates is to cater to their appreciation for video. You can use video as a platform for interviewing candidates, for example. But you can also use videos to share testimonials and show why young folks should want to work for you. Even something as simple as a video walkthrough of the office space can set your organization apart by providing visual insight into your company culture.
Setting Expectations: Since they’re so adept at using tech themselves, Digital Natives generally expect that tech will be available at work. So, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. That is, highlight the tech in which you’ve invested and how it has shaped the work environment.
3. Keep It Short & Sweet (And Quick!)
Ubiquitous technology has helped Gen Z develop the desire for (or expectation of) instant gratification. Growing up in a world where the answer to everything is just a few keystrokes away means that this generation tends to have less patience and a shorter attention span. This has the benefit of making them great at multitasking or quickly shifting gears when necessary. For recruiting purposes, this means that it’s generally a good idea to keep your messaging short and sweet.
For example, consider that a lot of young candidates will be browsing job listings—and even applying for them—on their smartphones. Make sure that any postings are accessible in a mobile format (including those beautiful videos you just created), and be sure to shorten descriptions of the organization, position, or necessary experience. This way, it’ll be easier to read on a smaller screen.
It’s also a good idea to provide feedback as soon as possible after an interaction, such as when to expect a follow-up on their application or when to expect an interview. After an interview, tell the candidate how they did and what to expect moving forward. In addition to swift responses, many Gen Z folks value transparency.
4. Emphasize A Company Culture That Reflects Growth & Mobility
Everything I’ve shared thus far contributes to this final point. Gen Z’s initiative to enter the workforce at a young age, their aptitude with technology, and their ability to multitask or pivot easily all informs Gen Z’s desire to develop critical skills and quickly advance their careers. Additionally, growing up alongside various entrepreneurial advancements means that this cohort tends to be diligent and quite enterprising themselves. In that vein, they generally want to work for organizations who will encourage them to voice their opinions and who will help them grow.
During interviews, explain what opportunities for growth the candidate will have in a given position, as well as what the organization’s practices are surrounding internal hiring and the possibility of changing departments. Don’t try to paint a picture of “stability,” but rather, focus on how your organization can support their personal and professional growth in a dynamic environment.
As technology plays an unavoidable role in cultural movements and global business development, Gen Z’s role in the workforce will only become more significant. By using these tips to recruit top talent, you can stay ahead of the curve!