Generation Z has arrived to the workforce, and just in time. As more experienced workers leave their posts to retire or start their own ventures, the new generation of employees has big shoes to fill – hopefully, they’re up to the task.
But as companies confront issues like talent acquisition, issues with retention, and increased global competition, attracting Gen Z job seekers is more difficult than predicted. While every generation has its own quirks and unique attributes, this is the first that has grown up entirely online, making the situation trickier to navigate.
Don’t worry – there are ways to bring the best of Gen Z to your company if you know how to do it! It starts with perks, and goes deeper into aspects of culture and employee experience – not to mention compensation.
Let’s cover what it takes to attract top Gen Z workers and make the most of their talent in tech and beyond.
Learning and Career Development
For the most ambitious members of Gen Z, they have their sights set on the top of the business world from a young age. After all, they’ve been influenced early on by the Zuckerbergs, the Musks, and the other innovators of the tech world.
With this in mind, companies need to put strong learning and career development plans in place to get top Gen Z talent on their teams.
“This generation is acutely aware of the entrepreneurial world and isn’t as compelled to stay with one company for several years at a time,” said Tony Chan, CEO and Co-Founder of CloudForecast. “That’s why skill development and training is such a powerful incentive to keep talented young people within your ranks. Give them the tools to learn more and increase their abilities, and they’ll be more likely to stick around.”
Keep in mind that more Gen Z’ers are taking non-traditional routes towards their educational and career goals, driven by the flexibility of the internet.
“We’re seeing young people who are almost entirely self-educated and don’t necessarily have the college credentials that previous generations viewed as important,” said Marcus Hutsen, Business Development Manager at Patriot Coolers. “Young folks train themselves in design, coding, writing, marketing, and don’t always need a four-year degree to be great in the workplace. Sometimes the best perk you can offer is a first opportunity for a promising young person making their way.”
In other words, attracting Gen Z employees might require a change of strategy on your part as a hiring manager or founder. Look beyond the usual channels of networking and expand your horizons to potentially yield huge results.
Recognition and Rewards
After growing up on social media, it’s no surprise that Generation Z is hooked on instant gratification. This might mean shorter attention spans at work, but it’s also an opportunity for businesses to bring the best talent on board.
“You can attract Gen Z workers by making the work experience more like a game, or like a friendly competition, and offering rewards for above-and-beyond performances,” said Cole Steverson, COO of Hybrid2Go. “Think about a sales or support team, for example. The typical commission structure can be turned into something more fun and stimulating, and boosts morale. It’s not that Gen Z is lazy – they just need the right incentives.”
In fact, many members of Gen Z are highly motivated, but they do need recognition from others to stay on track in the workplace. If they don’t feel recognized or appreciated, they’ll go find a workplace that meets those needs.
“Get used to giving positive reinforcement if you have Gen Z workers on your team, and don’t hesitate to use shout-outs and compliments more often in an everyday context,” said Cody Candee, Founder and CEO of Bounce. “Moral support should be the norm within your team and across departments as well. People don’t respond as well to negative incentives and want to feel like they’re part of something bigger.”
For larger organizations in search of a solution, there are many rewards and recognition platforms available now, each with unique offerings and configurations.
Fun, Friends, and Extras
Even as more Gen Z’ers work remotely, they expect a certain amount of social engagement from their working lives. Create spaces where employees can interact, chat, share emojis and memes, and collaborate in real time.
“Forget the stuffy, overly-professional workplace that used to be the norm, and start treating Gen Z more like younger siblings and friends,” said Philip Montalvo, Director of Marketing at Azuna. “They want to feel like they’re part of a family, and this is where culture makes all the difference. When you develop that culture naturally and create a welcoming atmosphere for young people, you’re going to end up recruiting some stars along the way.”
Of course, attitude and atmosphere can’t be bought. It takes time to cultivate this environment and the line between casual and professional can be difficult to draw. In the meantime, you can offer some old-fashioned perks to draw people in and set the tone for success.
“There’s no getting around the fact that money talks, and Gen Z folks are looking for ways to alleviate financial strains in any way possible,” said Michael Ayjian Co-Founder and Executive Producer at 7 Wonders. “Health care, as usual, tops the list for what young people want most from their benefits packages. Help with student loans is also appreciated. There is also a new trend of health and wellness perks like gym memberships and healthy food. All these things will matter more moving forward.”
Remember that Gen Z values creativity, so don’t hesitate to offer some out-of-the-box perks and see you get more applicants as a result.
More Than Perks: What Else Matters to Gen Z?
Like any generation, Gen Z wants respect, responsibility, and reasonable compensation for their efforts. But there’s always more to the equation, and companies that see the full picture will benefit from the most talented Gen Z workers available.
Trust us, it’s not just another buzzword. Employee experience counts more than ever, especially for companies engaging the Gen Z crowd. Now is the time to analyze your current EX and see where improvements can be made.
“EX is everything from working conditions and tech tools to communication channels, scheduling, transparency, and other intangible factors,” said Amanda E. Johnson, Chief Marketing Officer at HIDE. “All these things impact how an employee feels about their position, their comfort level, their challenge level, their perceived significance in the ranks. Be sure to consider EX as part of your broader recruitment and retention plan from now on.”
Just a few decades ago, employee experience wasn’t even in the conversation. This goes to show just how times have changed, and why fair employee treatment is so important.
Flexibility and Options
If there’s one thing that Zoomers love, it’s having options. In fact, most young people are overwhelmed with options that they can’t decide what to do!
Companies must find the right balance between offering options and creating boundaries that keep workers on track with key goals.
“Members of Gen Z have become a more concerned generation with a more open-minded approach and have grown in the utterly new world of opportunities,” said Sunny Saurabh, Co-Founder and CEO of Interviewer.AI. “Being concerned about environmental issues, well-being, self-care, and skill development, it’s no surprise that more than 42% of Gen Z consider work-life balance a priority compared to other job benefits.”
To facilitate more flexibility, be sure to incorporate the latest remote work tools and collaboration methods that will give Gen Z members the ability to work any time, any place.
The members of Gen Z are not so trusting of employers, and skepticism is the norm. Therefore, companies at every level need to work on authenticity, transparency, and building trust via communication.
“Authenticity matters to Gen Z, and they expect to see it in the way their employer communicates with them,” said Nicole Alvino, Co-Founder and CEO of Firstup. “They want to know what’s going on. They expect transparent, top-down communication from leaders that speaks to them as individuals, delivered directly to them on their mobile devices. They’re used to getting information via video – and don’t mind if it might look a little amateurish without slick production values. Gen Z appreciates communication that feels real.”
Achieving authenticity won’t happen instantly, but commit to the project now and see the benefits in the near future.
Bring Out the Best in Generation Z
Gen Z has so much to offer, and before long, they’ll be running the show. Don’t wait another year to start appealing to these workers as they gain confidence and skill.
“There’s bound to be some growing pains with each generation as they step into the workforce, and it’s no different with Gen Z,” said Ann McFerran, CEO of Glamnetic. “Rather than avoiding the potential conflicts and confusion, embrace the learning process and work out any issues along the way. This is how you’ll get a head start over the competition and be successful for the next decade or more.”
How do you plan to bring Gen Z on board and make them part of your business vision? Use this guide to get started, and don’t delay – the next generation is already on the way.