Move over, millennials. It’s time for companies to focus on the next generation of employees: Generation Z.
Born after 1994, the 23 million members of Gen Z will bring a new perspective to the workplace. More ambitious, open-minded and entrepreneurial than millennials, the first wave of Gen Zs are now graduating from college and entering the workforce. Like their older siblings, many members of Gen Z want to do work that makes a positive impact on the world, but they’re also more concerned about job security than their predecessors.
Here’s what companies need to know to reach, recruit and retain the next generation of workers:
Provide career development. Gen Z wants opportunities to advance in their careers, and they know they need to build their knowledge and skills to make it happen. They embrace informal coaching and mentoring opportunities along with formal learning. Gen Zs are used to personalization – from playlists to news feeds to product features of all kinds – so let them know if your company can develop a career path for them that builds on their strengths and interests.
Give regular feedback. Don’t hold out for an annual performance review to give input; consistent conversation increases all workers’ retention and productivity, and Gen Zs can better tailor their performance if they understand your expectations.
Embrace a tech-centered workplace. Technology is at the center of Gen Zs’ lives. They use an average of five screens per day, including smartphones, TVs, laptops, desktops and tablets. In school, Gen Z creates a document on a laptop, reopens it on a smartphone while on the bus, and looks at it again at home while watching a movie. They shift from work and play in short intense spurts. With this type of workflow, imagine how they will redefine the workplace.
Create a collaborative workplace. As a practically minded generation, Gen Z sees in-person communication as the best way to build collaborative and effective work relationships. Gen Zs value these connections to establish mentorship and coaching opportunities.
Provide structure and direction. Gen Zs want structure and predictability at work; a well-organized environment helps them focus. Use comprehensive training programs to dial Gen Z into your company’s culture. Managers are vitally important to Generation Z, too. Accustomed to constantly learning, they want bosses with strong mentoring abilities who can coach and teach them.
Look at more than formal education. Gen Zs are adept researchers. They know how to educate themselves and where to find information online. Many have used massive open online courses (MOOCs) to gain education at no cost. While many Gen Zs will enter college and earn degrees, formal education has lost its appeal. Why take on massive student-loan debt when they can gain knowledge and skills in more affordable ways?
Offer flexible schedules. This generation won’t willingly be tied to a traditional 9-to-5 job. Promoting flexible schedules will help companies recruit Gen Z talent and appeal to millennials as they start families.
Be honest. Authenticity and transparency matter to Gen Z. If you’re honest about the good and the (potentially) bad, Gen Zs will appreciate you for it. They want to know how working at your business will fit into their lives and their personal goals so be honest about what the job is like.