How to Sell Your Company to Gen Z

Hire generation z

As the next generation of workers arrives, companies must adjust their hiring efforts and workplace environments to attract ­— and retain — them. Here are five things you should know about Generation Z before you begin recruiting this new crop of creatives.

Born between 1990 and 1999, Generation Z has just recently begun to enter the workforce. It would be easy to make the mistake of assuming these younger job seekers are just another faction of Gen Y with the same influences and attitudes as their slightly older peers. But Gen Z grew up in a shakier economic era with a lusher digital landscape than did Gen Y, and those differences have had a profound effect on what Gen Z wants when it comes to their careers.

To better understand Gen Z’s career expectations, Robert Half (The Creative Group’s parent company) recently teamed up with Enactus to conduct a survey of more than 770 college and university students between the ages of 18 and 25 in the United States and Canada. In-depth results of that survey can be found in a new white paper: Download “Get Ready for Generation Z” here.

Following are five things Gen Z wants from future employers, and how design, marketing and advertising agencies and in-house creative departments can appeal to this new wave of professionals.

1. Show them authenticity

Gen Zers want to work for authentic managers who care about more than just getting the job done. When asked what characteristics they value most in a leader or boss, 38 percent of survey respondents said honesty and integrity. Managers need to know what they stand for and be consistent in communicating their core values if they expect to attract and retain Gen Zers.

2. Explain how the job aligns with their goals and beliefs

Gen Z workers cited “career opportunities” (64 percent) as their top priority when pursuing a full-time job, but those opportunities must align with their personal goals and belief systems. Hiring managers should find out what job candidates are passionate about and make connections between those interests and the company’s. For example, if you’ve gleaned from a candidate’s resume or cover letter that social responsibility is important, emphasize what your firm does to give back to the community or point out the socially responsible clients you serve.

And Gen Zers aren’t looking to climb the corporate ladder at any cost. They want flexible schedules and managers who are willing to work with them to create their own paths within the company.

3. Emphasize workplace communication and collaboration

Don’t be fooled into thinking Gen Z wants to work in isolation, though. Despite their seemingly 24/7 focus on mobile devices, Gen Z thrives on small group collaboration. In fact, only seven percent of survey respondents said they prefer being fairly autonomous at an offsite location or working offsite on a virtual team. And even though they tend to have a more global, digitally savvy mindset than other generations, Gen Z is accustomed to input and feedback from parents, teachers and peers. They expect that sense of openness and connectivity to continue on the job.

4. Offer valuable work experience right out of the gate

In order to thrive, this innovative and entrepreneurial generation will need to be involved in creative problem solving from the outset. Don’t start them out slow with mundane tasks. Rope them into strategy meetings or let them take a stab at a solution to a company or client challenge right away.

5. Pave a path for promotion

Five years out of college, 32 percent of survey respondents expect to be managing or supervising employees in a corporate environment. Another 24 percent expect to be working their way up the corporate ladder, though not yet in a management position. As such, employers should strongly emphasize career growth opportunities.

Interested in learning more about Gen Z? Here's a synopsis of the research.