Generation Z is here. By 2020, they will make up more than 20 percent of the total workforce. Is your company prepared to hire and retain them?
Just as you’ve finally acclimated to Generation Y’s impact on the workplace, there’s a new group coming onto the scene: Generation Z. While Generation Z is regarded as the second wave of millennials by some, this fresh crop of workers — born between 1990 and 1999 — has a distinct set of influences, behaviors and expectations that managers need to heed if they want to recruit and retain top young talent.
To better understand how Generation Z will impact the workforce, Robert Half recently teamed up with Enactus to conduct a survey of more 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 free white paper titled Get Ready for Generation Z.
Here we offer a sneak peek at four things employers need to know to hire, manage and nurture Generation Z on the job.
1. They care about money
Generation Z came of age during the Great Recession, and they’ve seen how a weak economy can impact finances in the short and long term. Therefore, they’re conscientious about making enough money to cover both immediate expenses and debt, including student loans. While Gen Y has a reputation for valuing work-life balance over salary, making money is a higher priority for Gen Z. This means you’ll need to offer a competitive salary and benefits package to attract top young talent, especially as the employment market continues to favor job seekers.
2. They like face-to-face interaction
Although it contradicts the stereotype of today’s teens and young adults hiding behind screens of all sizes, Generation Z actually prefers more traditional forms of communication on the job: The majority of Generation Zers surveyed said they prefer to communicate at work through face-to-face conversations, rather than via text, instant message, email or social media.
Additionally, they thrive on developing genuine relationships with authority figures. As such, managers should carve out time to check in with Gen Z employees in person rather than assume an email or IM will suffice.
3. They want frequent feedback
Generation Z workers are capable of taking a project and running with it, but they want enough up-front input to feel set up for success. They also expect frequent feedback about their progress, so be prepared to touch base with them often.
And although you probably won’t receive direct communication from a Gen Y helicopter parent, don’t be surprised if your Gen Z worker gets a parent’s input on their work and shares it with you.
4. They expect to progress quickly
Once you hire a Gen Z worker, the real work begins: trying to retain them. They want to know what you expect from them not only in the first 90 days, but also the first year, the second year and so on. Generation Zers view a job as a learning experience, and if they are not challenged and given opportunities to grow quickly, they will look for those opportunities at another company.
Generation Z is the first truly digital and truly global generation. They embrace technology wholeheartedly and tend to be highly creative. They are entering the workforce intent on making significant contributions from Day 1. At times, they may have to be reminded to follow best practices rather than reinvent the wheel, but they are innovative and entrepreneurial when there is a new problem to solve. Don’t shy away from letting them tackle challenging problems.