Get Ready for Gen Z – the Next Wave of Talent

Guest: Rachel Bitte Candidate Pool, Compensation/Cash Money, Digital Interviewing, Diversity, Generations, HR & Marketing, Recruitment Marketing, Social Recruiting, Talent Strategy, War for Talent, Workplace Flexibilty

Move over, millennials. There’s a new kid in town. Heralded as the most diverse, best-educated generation yet — it’s clear that the Generation Z population (those born after the mid-90s) is much more than simply the “little brother” as they start trickling into the workplace. By next year, Gen Z-ers are expected to make up one-fifth of the workforce. So, it’s about time you get to know them if you haven’t already!

Here’s what hiring pros need to know to get ready for this independent, pragmatic, super-connected, and somewhat anxiety-ridden next generation of talent.

Who Are They?

Don’t get it twisted, Millennials and Generation Z are not created equal. Business leaders tend to bucket these groups together since they’re so technology-driven—and while they do share some similarities—they have just as many differences. As admirable as millennials’ purpose-driven and achievement-oriented work traits can be, most of us have also experienced frustration from their constant need for feedback and guidance–and proneness to job-hopping.

For these reasons, they’re sometimes called the “me generation.” Well, Gen Z has carved its own identity, by celebrating its untraditional views on identity. They are the “true generation” and don’t define themselves in only one way. Gen Z-ers are independent, marching to the beat of their own drum. They are more likely to be accepting of other people’s views and have more dialogues and fewer confrontations. They also tend to be more practical and risk-averse when it comes to work, and that plays a key role when it comes to making job openings more Gen-Z friendly.

How to Hire Them.

Like their Millennial counterparts that came before them, Gen Z-ers are serious when it comes to careers. You can expect them to be vocal about what’s important at work, but less demanding about what they like and don’t like. Instead, the “true generation” grew up watching their parents struggle through the Great Recession, and have a greater appreciation for good pay and job security. That’s important to keep in mind as you put together a strategy for this next generation of talent.

Here are a few more tips to consider:

  1. Buzzy perks are okay, but career growth is most important.

    Jobvite’s latest survey of workers shows that career growth is the most important factor when looking for a new job, toppling even compensation. Well, Gen Z is even less likely to be wooed by money or perks. They crave stability and long-term careers, and unlike millennials, are less likely to job hop to get ahead. Show them you care about their success and term with the company by highlighting internal mobility and growth opportunities.

  2. Accept that flexible hours and remote work are standard.

    While fun perks might be less effective with the next generation of talent, flexible hours and remote work options must be the standard. In today’s “always-on” culture, both millennials and Gen Z aren’t afraid to answer emails off-hours or stay up late to finish projects. But in return, they don’t want to spend eight hours in the office if they don’t have to. So, don’t think of flexible hours or remote work as a bonus today, these are bread-and-butter perks now. 

  3. (Re)Embrace face-to-face communications

    Gen Z has never known a life without the Internet, and so they respect the limits of technology much more. In fact, studies show they’re actually hungry for face-to-face interactions in the workplace. This includes FaceTime and video conferencing, so check your teeth after lunch and don’t be afraid to apply some screen time to your outreach strategy.

  4. They don’t need their own office, but they do need some independence

    “If you want it done right, do it yourself,” is the Gen Z mantra. Unlike millennials who thrive on collaboration, Gen Z-ers are far more autonomous (and competitive) when it comes to completing tasks. Show that entrepreneurial and “self-starter” attitudes are encouraged at your company to attract Gen Z.

While the Gen Z wave has yet to hit the American workforce with full force, it’s never too early to start preparing for the future. After all, this next generation of talent just might prove to be the hardest working yet. So, understand how they think and give yourself a leg up against the competition when it comes to the newest workers.