The pandemic shook us all, leading us all to question our career choices and our life priorities alike, with seemingly well-settled talent abruptly concluding their careers with no concrete or even sketchy future career plans.
However, what took the millennials a pandemic to wake up to, the Gen Z have always been aware of and on the lookout for, meaningful & rewarding life and career experiences, enabled by companies with an authentic & enriching work culture, nurturing and empowering their talent to thrive.
So what does it take to hire and retain Gen Z, the youngest talent in the workforce right now, with their uncompromising take on career experiences, company values & work culture?
Who are Gen Z?
Gen Z, born between 1995 & 2015, are the talent that grew up on technology and the internet. They are digital natives with their connection to the world being primarily through their smartphone.
They literally live in a digital world, with their daily lives conducted online from social interactions to working, shopping and seeking professional and personal help to enhance the quality of their lives. Yet, surprisingly, this generation seeks genuine connections and invests time in building meaningful personal and professional relationships.
Gen Z are a vital part of the workforce, innovative, adaptable and very selective of companies based on their values and their commitment to building socially conscious, fair, diverse & inclusive workplaces.
What are Gen Z looking for in an Employer?
While Gen Z are traditionally a risk-averse lot, looking for stability and security from their employers, the pandemic impacted that outlook drastically. Many of the Gen Z’ers underwent a career awakening (70%), prompting about 33% of them to start looking for a new job or a new career with another 30% looking for learning opportunities in their current role or company.
They are drawn to employers offering authentic and ample learning and career development opportunities with a commitment to creating a socially conscious, fair and diverse workplace enabling their employees to have enriching career experiences.
#1 Learning & growth opportunities
Gen Z is very focused on learning and growth, demonstrating a high commitment to learning new skills in the most effective way. They look for opportunities to learn in their current roles and also invest personal time to do courses and read up to ensure they stay relevant and ahead in the career marketplace.
They seek higher responsibilities and opportunities to learn and practice new skills outside of their current scope of work. They prefer employers who prioritize learning with a work culture of continuous learning to help the employees grow personally and professionally.
#2 Accelerated career trajectories
Gen Z is very career focused with 40% of them willing to accept a pay cut for a role that offers better career growth. Not only do they look for any and every opportunity to pick up new skills, they also want clarity and transparency on the career paths with ample opportunities for advancement.
Their focus on career growth and development makes them open to all forms of learning, especially coaching and mentoring by leaders and other team members, helping them chart clear career goals with expedited pathways.
#3 Alignment of values
Gen Z is the most diverse generation in terms of race and ethnicity and by virtue of the environment they grew up in, very socially conscious and woke. Due to this awareness, they rate the alignment of the company values to their own very highly with 80% of them seeking the alignment for every company that they work for.
For them, diversity, equity & inclusion should be the cornerstones of an organization’s work culture and not insincere clauses to attract top talent.
With respect to a healthy work culture, 66% Gen Z would like to see companies demonstrating their commitment to mental health and wellness with holistic employee wellness programs.
#4 Work-life balance
Work-life balance is a top priority for Gen Z and they prefer companies that prioritize employee health and wellness over business outcomes with a healthy work-life balance. In order to attract and hire them to the company workforce, it is critical to provide flexible work arrangements. Per a 2022 LinkedIn report, Gen Z is the generation that has most likely left or is considering leaving a job due to inadequate flexibility at the workplace.
Gen Z’ers crave authenticity in every aspect of their lives, expecting the same of their employers. They invest in forging and nurturing honest and meaningful relationships professionally. They expect the same from their managers and companies, holding them to high standards of honesty & integrity and expect fair & transparent practices with respect to pay & opportunities.
How to hire Gen Z?
Gen Z employees make up 25% of the global workforce and are very focused on meaningful and rewarding work experiences with an average work tenure at a company of 3 years or less.
Being career driven and highly competitive, they look for companies that focus on continuous learning and career development opportunities with a commitment to create a diverse, fair and safe workplace.
Let’s look at a how to create a compelling Employee Value Proposition for Gen Z that helps attract and hire them:
#1 Internal Talent Mobility
With the importance Gen Z’ers give to career development and learning opportunities, an internal talent mobility program is a definite attraction and critical to retaining them in the workforce. This group likes to explore varied roles early in their career to chart out a good career path and so providing them with ample opportunities in the first few years of their career helps improve their retention. Defining a career path with a strong internal mobility program gives them clarity and ownership in their career development.
A company’s commitment to providing career possibilities also makes them feel secure and valued with increased confidence of a sustained career development throughout their tenure with the company.
#2 Learning & Development Programs
Opportunities to learn and grow are very important to Gen Z’ers with 76% of them strongly believing that learning is the key to a successful career. A positive learning environment with a culture of continuous learning is one of their top expectations of a company. In order to engage them, ensure that their learning is sustained through meaningful career opportunities via stretch projects and job rotation. Creating high impact learning programs aligned to their aspirations, career paths enabling internal talent mobility helps attract and retain Gen Z’ers.
#3 Flexible work arrangements
Gen Z’ers are 17% more likely to apply for remote jobs than the other generations. Gen Z’ers value a healthy work-life balance and prefer companies that promote a well-balanced work culture enabling overall health and wellness of employees. They favor a hybrid work model as they enjoy in-person interactions and collaboration with their colleagues as much as the tranquility and focus offered by remote working.
Companies that design an employee-centric workplace flexibility policy, enabling the workforce to determine their availability at office and at home will attract more Gen Z’ers than those that expect them to align to a company-wide generic policy.
Gen Z is the most multicultural generation and very vocal about issues pertaining to social responsibility, diversity, equity and inclusion. 77% of Gen Z’ers say that a company’s diversity has a direct bearing on their decision to work for them and look for their own experiences and communities to be reflected in their workplace. They like to work for diverse companies that have fair practices with respect to compensation and advancement opportunities.
They like companies that live the values and demonstrate their diversity with real life examples, through the authentic voice of their employees. In short, they like to work for companies that care about their employees, building safe, fair and diverse workplaces.
#5 Candidate Experience
Authenticity being of utmost importance to Gen Z’ers, companies must ensure an honest and delightful candidate experience, continuing onto a compelling employee experience during their tenure at the organization.
All aspects of hiring, starting from job descriptions, conversations with recruiters and hiring managers must be direct and honest, conveying the expectations and responsibilities of the role clearly and authentically.
In order to improve the chances of hiring a Gen Z’er, a company must follow a few of the hiring best practices given below:
- Leverage social media (Instagram & Snapchat) to post ads and share employer branding content to attract & source Gen Z’ers
- Build strong relationships with colleges and universities to connect with and hire Gen Z’ers via campus hiring
- Modernize the career sites and create appealing and honest job posts with clear, crisp and authentic brand information to attract Gen Z talent
- Create talent communities on platforms with greater Gen Z presence and share personalized brand content based on their interests
- Schedule in-person and face-to-face conversations during the hiring process
- Enable in-person interviews with an opportunity to meet the future boss and team. In lieu of that, a video interview is a must for an authentic experience
- During the interview, ensure frequent communication on progress and status is shared with them
- Post-hiring, ensure a phenomenal onboarding experience, helping create an authentic connection to the company at the outset
GenZers are a creative, competitive and adaptable generation, open-minded and socially conscious, authenticity pervading every aspect of their lives. They are incredibly tech-savvy, having grown up on technology and the internet, yet crave & forge genuine & meaningful personal and professional connections.
Driven by learning, purpose & values, Gen Z’ers look for integrity and flexibility in their employers with a commitment to career development and social responsibility on diversity, equity and environmental issues.
With a staggering 58% of Gen Z considering changing jobs this year, companies must design an impactful hiring strategy to align well with their motivation and aspirations and meet their high standards of employment.
FAQs on Hiring from Gen Z
What does Gen Z expect from their employers?
Gen Z’ers seek meaningful and rewarding career experiences and look for flexibility, authenticity and career development from their employers at a high level. Few of their expectations from their employers are:
1. Ample learning and growth opportunities
2. Accelerated career development
3. Alignment of company’s values to their values
4. Healthy work-life balance
How do you recruit Gen Z workers?
Gen Zers are digital natives, incredibly tech-savvy, having grown up on technology and the internet. In order to attract and recruit Gen Z workers, follow the below recruiting best practices:
1. Use tech-enabled platforms in all areas of hiring, from sourcing, screening to interviewing and onboarding
2. Connect and engage via social media
3. In-person or virtual interviews with frequent and honest communication through all stages of the hiring process
4. Have flexible work arrangements with an employee centric workplace flexibility policy
5. Build diversity, equity and inclusion into the work culture right from the start
6. Have impactful learning and development programs
7. Enable career growth through internal talent mobility programs
How do you attract and retain Gen Z in the workforce?
Gen Zers are drawn to employers offering authentic and ample learning and career development opportunities with a commitment to creating a socially conscious, fair and diverse workplace enabling their employees to have enriching career experiences. Some of the hiring and retention best practices are given below:
1. Authentic, diverse and inclusive work culture focused on learning and career development
2. Flexible work arrangements with an employee centric workplace flexibility policy
3. Have impactful learning and development programs
4. Enable career growth through internal talent mobility programs
5. Phenomenal candidate and employee experiences with tech-enabled platforms
What is one recruiting strategy to use in your business to attract Gen Z employees?
A highly effective recruiting strategy is to build a strong social media presence to connect with, engage and hire the incredibly tech-savvy, digital natives Gen Zers. Have a robust social media recruitment strategy built around popular Gen Z social media sites such as Instagram, Snapchat and Instagram to –
1. Post and promote appealing job posts
2. Create mobile friendly application process
3. Create talent communities to engage with and send personalized employer brand content
4. Video interviewing
5. Online onboarding
How do you coach Gen Z at work?
Gen Zers being very focused on career growth and development makes them open to all forms of learning, especially coaching and mentoring by leaders and other team members, helping them chart clear career goals with expedited pathways. A coaching approach that is especially useful to help them learn and grow is:
1. Encourage curiosity and experimentation
2. Provide timely and frequent guidance and feedback
3. Be authentic and direct in all communication