Starting To Hire Gen Z? Here's How To Handle It

Generation Z could technically be classified as Millenials. But since older Millenials are now moving to the suburbs and starting families, the younger set has been dubbed Generation Z. Born in the time period between 1996 and 2010, Generation Z currently ranges in age between 5 and about 20. This means the eldest amongst them is just on the cusp of searching for gainful employment for the first time in their lives.

In this post, learn what to look for and what you need to understand about Generation Z in the workplace in order to recruit effectively from this group of candidates.

Start scouting them early

According to recent research, an estimated 77% of Generation Z is eager to start interning with prospective employers as early as high school.

Not only is this a great tactic to allow your company to “try before you hire,” especially since high school interns will typically work for independent study credits rather than green paper, but you can also get your foot in the door by scouting the most motivated candidates early on before other companies have thought to do the same.

Give them hands-on projects to tackle

Generation Z is not eager to experience cubicle life. They were born into a world where not having 24/7 internet access is hard to imagine. They live life on the go and want to be able to work that way too.

While Generation Z is quite different from their Millenial predecessors in many ways, in one facet they are nearly identical: job hopping. Both are not just willing but eager to embrace any new opportunity, even if it means bouncing from one job to another, to the tune of an estimated 15-20 jobs over the course of a career.

So suffice it to say sticking a Generation Z’er in a cubicle pushing digital paper is pretty much a waste of your recruiting department’s time and overhead. If you want to keep them around, give them something hands-on and active to do.

Talk up your company’s social responsibility

Generation Z wants to make a difference. They also want to work for employers that want to make a difference. They want their name, their career, their brand, so to speak, to count for something bigger than just raking in the almighty dollar.

If your company is heavy into fostering sustainable business practices, supporting certain charities, re-investing a percentage of profits in offering pro bono work or even simply striving to make the best products that never let customers down, don’t be shy to say it. And if you don’t currently have a social responsibility program in place and want to start one, you can bet there is a talented Generation Z’er out there who would love to spearhead that project for you!

Be prepared to mentor them

Generation Z is still quite young. But unlike their Millenial elders, they don’t tend towards a know-it-all attitude. In other words, if coaching is offered, they are likely to take you up on it and benefit greatly from extra learning and training resources.

This also means you don’t have to worry so much about working with “diamonds in the rough.” Generation Z is full of these, and with the right touch and some extra attention, they truly do have the potential to shine brilliantly on your company’s behalf.

Publicize your recognition plan

It won’t come as any great surprise that the same generation that welcomes coaching and mentoring thrives on recognition and “atta girl/boy” type praise. They not only want to know they are doing a good job, but they need to know it, in part because of their youth and in part simply because of how they are socially wired.

In other words, once a Generation Z employee joins your company, you will become a type of social network to them, a community in which they will eagerly seek out their place and their part. In social networks, feedback is not just welcomed and expected but also forms the foundation of how networks define themselves as networks.

So be sure to let new Generation Z recruits know what recognition at your firm looks like and how to earn it.

Emphasize customization in a career path

Generation Z has grown up in an atmosphere of personalization. Technology has given them this gift, in that they can personalize everything from their blog feeds to their playlists to their cuisine.

So they will not just want but likely expect to be able to at least somewhat chart their own career course as well. By being willing to work with them to help them grow in areas that they feel are extremely important, you stand a much better chance of keeping them around into the long-term.

Give them employee benefits they can use right now

In just a few years, today’s Generation Z’ers will find their thoughts turning to family life, just like their Millenial peers before them. So while it is always great to provide retirement benefits, this won’t catch their attention the way family leave policies, student loan payback programs, flex time work arrangements and leisure travel options (business + personal) will.

This is because Generation Z is still young enough that their minds are on today and the short term future. If they give you their all right now, they want to feel the rewards of that effort right now in benefits that are relevant to their lives right now.

Generation Z, like each generation before it, has its weaknesses and its strengths. By gaining a better understanding of what motivations Generation Z in the workplace, you can leverage their creative energy, entrepreneurial nature, caring spirit and zest for living in the moment in ways beneficial to your company’s short and long-term goals.

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