The ABC’s of Generation Z
Go Back to the Basics
Like Generation Y, Generation Z grew up with a similar digital, political and cultural atmosphere. So, like Gen Y, they expect to have a voice and have their opinions heard. But their view on work is much more like Generation X. Like Gen X, Generation Z are much more attuned to the traditional perks of office life – like healthcare plans, life insurance, 401(K) plans, and training programs. Things that Gen Y were never that worried about.
To further the connection between Generation X and Z, both generations see moving up in a company as not only possible, but also desirable. They both want a career, not just a job. And though Gen Z grew up with technology like Gen Y, Gen Z craves face-to-face conversations. An attribute more similar to a Gen X than a Gen Y.
So how do we implement these ideas?
Be a Mentor
First, create a mentoring system to work with new, current, and progressing employees. While Generation Y thrived in open, entrepreneurial environments, Generation Z appears to favor a more structured office work-style. Because of this, a mentoring system can be used to train and maintain accountability with your employees, while at the same time giving them a person they can talk to about the benefits available to them. Don’t worry so much about the space, rather focus on how the work flow is structured and conveyed.
A part of that mentored and structured work environment should focus on progression within the company, describe their potential path(s) forward. As stated earlier, Generation Z wants a career, and not just a job. Because of this, it’s up to you to show them where they can end up in the company. By discussing a potential destination in the company and making goals you are effectively increasing their motivation to stay with you and work hard.
Where Generation Z stands out is its impatience in the hiring decision. They are not willing to wait “a few weeks” to hear if they have been hired. Moreover, as many job search functions come to their mobile apps, they are now using little moments throughout the day to check out what else is out there. When they don’t have a current vision, they may focus on the idea of something better right around the corner.
To adapt, we need to be quick and efficient with our hiring processes. I separate the two, because being quick isn’t always enough. As discussed in the previous section, Generation Z is very fond of their benefits. Not only do you need to be able to contact, interview, and hire an employee quickly, you also need to be able to communicate the benefits that working at your company gives them. With their mentality of “something better could be just around the corner”, it’s imperative to get them to stop looking. Describing future career opportunities and communicating the benefits effectively could very well stop a capable new hire from moving to a competitor.
The Action Steps
To sum up, let’s go over the main action points that we can implement to better hire, retain, and train our Generation Z employees.
- Focus on face-to-face mentoring and training.
- Streamline the hiring process to make it both quick and efficient.
- Discuss and make goals for where they would like to be in the company.
- Never skimp on employee benefits/perks.
If you want the best employees, you will need to develop the best processes. The pull from other competitors will be stronger than ever as Generation Z will have more opportunity and time to look at the competition. As you follow the steps above you’ll find yourself prepared to welcome and retain the upcoming generation.
A look ahead: A hybrid of Generations X, Y and Z
As can be seen, generational theory can provide some very useful, actionable insights for corporations trying to hire the best and the brightest. As Generation Z begins to enter the workforce in growing numbers, it will present your company with interesting opportunities: How do you attract the best and brightest of this newest generation? How to you energize the interactions among the generations to accelerate company success? And how do you architect a new office environment that leverages and encourages their positive traits?
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