Gen Z…
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Gabriella Steed

Born between 1997 – 2012, Gen Z are cat walking into the labour market, clear on what they expect from prospective employers. They make up the newest demographic of job seekers and by 2025, 27% of the workforce will comprise of this hypercognitive generation!

Why should we be excited for this shift? Gen Z talent come armed with new knowledge, new working styles and an enormous dose of technical skills and so are a considerable force to be reckoned with! If you want to grab the attention of our next generation, you need to understand what makes them tick as they begin to swiftly change the game and shake up business culture.

So, what steps should you take to futureproof your organisation in order to remain attractive and competitive to Gen Z talent?

 Ensure your brand pursues a purpose

 Gen Z talent crave meaningful and purposeful work. They have more social awareness than any other generation and want to be part of a greater initiative which stands beyond making a profit. Gen Z talent will be seeking opportunities with companies who invest time and care in solving today’s societal issues. Instead of simply ticking the 9-5 box, they want to be reassured that their work will create impact, contributing to how highly they will rate an opportunity. According to Forbes, a staggering 74% of Gen Zers believe there is more to a job than just ‘bringing home the bacon’. Further, research conducted by EY suggests that 63% of Gen Z feel that it is extremely important for them to work within an organisation that shares their values.

In order to maintain engagement with our future workforce, investing in and promoting an authentic commitment towards Environmental Social Governance (ESG) is imperative! Bupa reported that 68% of Gen Z workers are anxious about environmental issues and a further 63% feel the burden of climate change on their shoulders. Let’s not ignore these statistics! Creating and implementing an ESG strategy mustn’t only be a hot topic of conversation within the corridors of your offices or over teams calls with internal staff, but these commitments need to be plastered all over your social media platforms. Gen Zers are made up of digital natives and so these internet wizards hold both the skill and interest to cross-examine sources of information to identify whether a company is the right fit for them.

 Given that 74% of this talent pool believe in joining companies that hold greater meaning than simply harvesting a profit, it is essential that your company lives and breathes your values to promote these entrants into your workforce. Consider answering these questions: What do you stand for as an organisation? What is the purpose of your organisation? How do you support the wider community? What part do employers play in this? Answering these vital questions will help to shape your brand heart, but be careful to keep the responses human-centred, clear and honest.

 Get Tech Savvy

91% of Gen Z have said that technology sophistication would impact their interest for working with a company. For Gen Z, technology is at the core of everything they do. They are the digital-first generation and expect tech to be woven into their daily lives allowing for convenience, instant gratification and on-going connection. Growing up amidst a tech boom and with the world of the web acting as their main playground, Gen Z are wired slightly different to other generations with significant variability in the way in which they seek and consume information. In order to adapt to the skills and needs of these digital natives, organisations must start to implement processes that aim to improve their talent attraction, hiring and onboarding strategies.

Talent Attraction | Gen Z talent spends a significant portion of their day ‘hanging out’ on social media. Start to build out your social media platforms in order to showcase your employer brand, demonstrating all the reasons why they should work for you. Promote social proof by encouraging employees to post across various channels sharing insights, company photos, employee key achievements and so on. These snippets of information offer a window into your organisation. Treat it like an advertising campaign – feeding the needs of Gen Z talent and in turn encouraging increased applications to your advertised roles.

Hiring | Once you have captured their attention, driving engagement and encouraging a willingness to apply for roles within your organisation is the next winning step within your hiring process. Companies need to ensure that their ATS is mobile optimized for easy-apply. As technology develops faster, patience runs thinner and so these new entrants won’t be attracted to antiquated hiring processes. 54% of Gen Z candidates will refrain from submitting an application if they feel a recruitment process is outdated, with 69% favouring mobile job applications, according to Yello. Consider exploring interviewing technology that provides candidates with convenience and control including automated scheduling, AI enabled virtual hiring assistants and on-demand interviews. These will play into the high-tech experience Gen Z crave, increasing the likelihood of them applying to your roles.

Onboarding | Gen Zers are digitally literate; they learn better through soundbites and digital interfaces. Organisations should consider the use of video learning tools, alongside other digital platforms, such as podcasts and audio books in order to help train their Gen Z recruits. Scrapping heavily written induction manuals and replacing these with interactive and aesthetically pleasing digital content will allow Gen Z to sift through information at their own pace and at their own convenience. By investing in training methods that play to the preference of this digitally savvy workforce, organisations reduce the risk of employee turnover, depleted productivity, and a lack of employee engagement – it’s pretty important!

Ensure mental wellness takes centre stage

According to Forbes, Gen Z talent place an enormous amount of importance on mental health and well-being, with 82% desiring the ability to take mental health days. Further, Harvard reported that a significant 75% of Gen Zers have left roles in the past due to mental health reasons, putting pressure on organisations attempt to help retain and engage this talent.

Given that this generation are highly attuned to their mental health, and actively promote discussions surrounding their mental health concerns, it is essential that employers spend time reviewing their mental health support systems. Organisations should consider providing resources to help with stress management. This could be in the form of one-to-one meetings by encouraging a discussion surrounding an employee’s mental health, the promotion of mindfulness activities or the access to online support groups.

Offering flexibility is also a big win for Gen Zers. The 24/7 connectedness of Gen Z means that the lines between work and home life are blurred and whilst they’re extremely driven to work hard and succeed, they demand autonomy to work in ways that suit them. Consider re vamping the office to allow for open-spaced collaboration and encouraging a flexible workspace. Closed-in working environments are far from appealing for this well-connected generation, so embracing fluidity will support employee mental wellness. Building trust and allowing employees to have flexibility surrounding remote work options, flexible schedules and less rigid work hours will also help contribute to a happier and healthier working environment, appealing to this generation. 

Focus on how you approach Diversity & Inclusion

 For Gen Z, diversity is the norm. They display zero tolerance towards inequality based on gender, race or sexual orientation. Gen Z talent will be seeking opportunities with companies who energetically take action towards embracing diversity and support social justice. According to Monster, 83% of Gen Z talent have stated that a company’s commitment towards diversity and inclusion is an important factor when choosing an employer.

In order to be supportive of these efforts and in turn attract and retain Gen Z talent, organisations should start by looking within. There is no good launching a diversity recruitment campaign if your company culture doesn’t foster an inclusive environment – you have to practise what you preach. Start to consider the differences that may exist within your workforce and then consciously implement diversity initiatives tailored to the needs of your employees. This may include acknowledging and honouring multiple religions and culture practises or evaluating the diversity of your executive team. However you wish to improve your diversity and inclusion efforts, it must be encouraged that everyone, irrespective of their age, gender, culture etc. has a voice that is welcomed, heard and respected.

Final thoughts

Lots can be learnt by analysing the needs of Gen Z talent. Developing a mission-led organisation, embracing technology advancements and promoting a healthy and diverse workforce will not only help to attract and retain our newest demographic of job seekers, but it will also prove useful to attract and retain employees across various generations! Given that Gen Zers will make up a significant portion of the workforce in years to come, however, acting now and preparing for their arrival will positively impact your organisations chances of remaining attractive and competitive – future proofing your organisation isn’t only desirable but is a necessity. 

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or comments, contact me on [email protected]

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