There’s a lot of discussion about Gen Z and the impact they will have on the workforce. The Wall Street Journal reports that they seek financial stability and are industrious. Inc. Magazine tells us they are culturally diverse and risk averse. Forbes says that they want to be judged on their own merit and they want to work with autonomy.
What does it all mean and how can companies continue to prepare to get an edge with recruiting, managing and retaining Gen Z?
What is Gen Z Seeking?
As a group, Gen Z is on track to be one of the most educated and highly diverse generations. They also account for 61 million people. They are entering the workforce as we speak and by 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials and Gen Z.
Compiling what we’ve learned and observed, here are common themes around Gen Z’s expectations of prospective employers:
- Real-time, constructive, continuous feedback – Gen Z was raised in an immediate, on-demand environment where likes and reactions were instantaneous. They want to hear from those leaders they work for all the time and who are near the work being done. This generation tends to perceive a lack of constant feedback as a sign that something is wrong.
- Work-Life Balance – More than any other generation, Gen Z is likely to expect a gray line between work and life outside of work. They look for integration between their work and personal life and will seek out alternative work arrangements (i.e., “gigs”) and environments. The expectation for less structure, less hierarchy, less formal chains of command will be at an all-time high.
- Culture Fit – Gen Z is a generation that will place culture fit above all other criteria. They will seek out a “brand” that speaks to their passions and personalities and aligns to their values. This generation searches online reviews and places great stock in the overall perception of a company and the company’s commitment to contributing to the world at large.
- Digital/Technology Leadership – This generation doesn’t know a world without smartphones. They are true digital natives. Excelling at technology both professionally and personally is at the core of their workplace expectations. They will seek out organizations that have end-to-end leading-edge solutions and a digitally minded culture that continues to drive towards market leadership.
- Face-to-Face Communication – Despite their digital prowess and technical savvy, Gen Z craves personal connections and face-to-face communication with their supervisors and peers. They tend to value a more informal style and thrive when given the opportunity to collaborate in person. They are also open to learning from others about effective communication in the workplace and with customers.
What Can You Do to Effectively Manage Gen Z?
It’s essential for organizations to determine how to make their workplace an attractive destination for a younger workforce. With the current number of job openings across industries, attracting and retaining emerging talent continues to be a top priority and challenge for companies.
Here’s what we share as the “three C’s” that every leader can deploy in order to be best positioned for Gen Z retention:
- Connect – Get to know your employees on a personal and professional level. Ask them what their strengths are, what they value and where they want to contribute.
- Communicate–Regularly, proactively, constructively and positively. Help your employees see the big picture and understand their role as it relates to the business and results.
- Change – Be open to new ideas from this group of employees. Although they may not have a ton of work experience, they have great ideas to share that can be beneficial to running businesses more efficiently. Flex your style and seek out opinions from the team, encourage them and try new things.
With both millennials and Gen Z having an outsized impact on the workforce, it’s essential for business leaders to take the steps needed to retain them. Know your team, understand what’s important to them and leverage their strengths. Take those steps and you may be rewarded with more loyal, engaged and productive employees.
Want to learn more about the business impact of multi-generations in the workplace? View this recent Rutgers University on-demand webinar presented by ALULA’s Kim Huggins.