Generation Z, the latest generation to start entering the workforce, was born into the burgeoning of the digital age—a generation of people who have never known life without the internet. While some HR managers may consider hiring individuals from this generation a challenging prospect, each individual from Gen Z has their own unique skills and abilities that can be priceless for a company's growth and development.
Bridging the generation gap might mean setting foot into foreign territory and employing new strategies to attract a fresh perspective, but it may well be worth it. Below, 14 members of Forbes Human Resources Council take a look at how HR managers can understand and attract job seekers from Generation Z and ensure they’ll be set up for success when they get hired on.
1. Be Honest About The Job
My experience is that Gen Zs have a short attention span, but react well to transparency. If the job doesn't match what was "advertised," they will move on quickly. If the hours are long and the job is hard, they will opt in or out depending upon their interest in doing the work and their desire to meet the challenge. They are not afraid of those things, they just want to know before they get there.
2. Amp Up Your Social Awareness
Gen Z wants to help the world and know they are contributing to the greater good if they take a job with you. They will expect to work for a company that provides time to help in the community. Consider giving them time to support a cause that is meaningful in the community, either one supported by the company or on their own, then share the results with all employees as a measure of engagement.
3. Embrace Mobile-Friendly Technology
As younger employees join the workforce, there continues to be more of a demand for mobile-friendly job applications. Fewer young people own desktop computers than in past years, and more use mobile devices for online activities. Companies that remain resistant to embracing mobile-friendly job posting and application platforms will miss out on an increasing number of candidates as Gen Z matures.
4. Make Sure Benefits Align With Market Demand
Companies should start looking at updating their benefits to better align with market demand. We audit our benefits annually to see what we can change or add or where we can create impactful value to employees. One item we are considering, and something that is important to Gen Z, is student loan repayment. Looking at what we offer regularly lets us stay competitive and attractive to job seekers.
5. Consider Remote Work Policies
Gen Z grew up surrounded by technology, which means a lot of them don't need as much help navigating the digital world as members of older generations may. This independence opens the door for them to view telework as a viable career option right from the start—and if the trend started by older generations continues, they're going to want that flexibility. Companies would do well to get on board.
6. Offer Professional Growth Opportunities
People in the Gen Z population want to continuously grow and develop their career. This leads them to change employers frequently, seeking higher responsibilities and better pay. Companies should ensure that they have a robust learning and development program that addresses employees' knowledge and skill gaps. Companies should also have a clear career path with progression opportunities.
7. Customize Your Processes And Messaging
Gen Z has notably grown up in the world of on-demand, which includes instant digital access to media, messaging and mobile technology. Companies should focus on deploying short, agile and impactful processes and messages to capture and keep the attention of Gen Z talent. Employ micro-video messages, bulleted text and even programmatic ads on social media to bring the employer to the candidate.
8. Take A Holistic Approach
Gen Z wants to make a difference in their communities and in their own lives. Therefore, companies should actively demonstrate their core values by allowing employees to consistently participate in community outreach, providing opportunities to learn new skills (even if not directly related to their current role) and offering holistic care options for mental and physical whole self needs.
9. Offer A Rock-Solid Digital Experience
As the first truly digital-native generation, Gen Z employees are used to searching for and cross‑referencing a wide range of information and online experiences to make decisions. That means employers must offer a rock-solid digital experience, including real-time engagement tools that interact with candidates, deliver value-added content (e.g. videos) and schedule an interview, when appropriate.
10. Show Them The Human Impact
I love that Gen Z is more inclined to seek out purpose at work and leave if they don’t get it. Employers should find ways to regularly show the human impact they're having, either on each other or on customers—that what they do every day makes a real difference to other human beings.
11. Tap Into Soft Skills
Unlike millennials, Gen Z workers are expected to be more in touch with their soft skills. Although they are digital natives, they still want to communicate face to face and build relationships with co-workers. Consider how you can tap into these soft skills to make your workplace more collaborative by offering teamwork opportunities and high interaction with managers and co-workers.
12. Value Different Perspectives
Leaders need to understand the cultural, political, economic and digital world Gen Z is growing up with. Each generation brings a different perspective to the workplace, providing valuable lessons we learn from. A common theme among all generations is that employees want to be treated with respect, have the opportunity to make a positive impact and work flexible schedules. Better workplaces for all.
13. Be Prepared To Invest More In Support
We recently conducted a global study to understand Gen Z workplace attitudes and aspirations. We asked what they thought would hold them back from career success and the No. 1 response was their own anxiety. Having a supportive manager was highly desired in this study. Organizations have to invest more in onboarding and supporting Gen Z new hires to help them be successful on the job.
14. Create Breakthrough Moments
Gen Z employees are hard working, but it will take challenge and exposure to push them forward. Accustomed to multi-sensory environments with phones and systems pinging and prompting, you'll have to create a work experience that matches that pace. Then create interesting events or projects to break the routine and give exposure to new things. In turn, you'll foster a dynamic workforce for fresh workers.