Welcome Generation Z: Recruiting Tips for the Next Wave of Employees

Jul 26, 2016

Welcome Generation Z

Just when companies finally figured out how to recruit, hire, and employ millennials, another generation prepares to enter the workforce: welcome generation Z! As baby boomers move out, and generation X and millennials move up, generation Z will move in. What characteristics does this new generation have and what can organizations do to attract this new group of young talent?

Get Ready for Generation Z, a 2015 study conducted by Robert Ha​lf and Enactus, paints a detailed picture of this "entrepreneurial, innovative and passionate" generation that the study says will make up more than 20 percent of the workforce by 2020. According to the study, this is the first all-digital generation, having never experienced life without the Internet or smartphones. Because this group came of age during America's most recent economic downturn and housing market crash, job security is a significant concern for generation Z. Members of this group have strong relationships with their parents and desire to be taught, developed, and coached by employers as well. Although they are good listeners and are very creative, generation Z does not always rely on proven solutions and is also criticized for lacking written communication skills (perhaps due to growing up with social media shorthand).

Other findings from the study include the following.

  • The top three priorities for generation Z when seeking a full-time job include opportunities for career growth (64 percent), generous pay (44 percent), and making a difference or having a positive impact on society (40 percent).
  • Dedicated and prepared for long careers, an overwhelming 77 percent of generation Z expect to work harder than previous generations.
  • Members of this generation anticipate working at an average of four organizations during their lifetime, with a majority wanting to work for a midsize organization (41 percent) or a large organization (38 percent).
  • Generation Z wants to collaborate—64 percent want to work with a small face-to-face group in an office setting compared to only 4 percent who prefer working in an isolated, offsite location.

Keeping these characteristics in mind, what should companies expect as generation Z enters the workforce? As Meg Os​man discusses in How the Workplace Needs To Change for Generation Z, an October 30, 2015, article in the Business Journals, there are many factors that will impact how organizations recruit and retain the upcoming generation. It currently costs organizations between $15,000 and $20,000 to replace millennials, according to Ms. Osman's article, and with increased turnover driven by generation Z, organizations could see accelerating costs. Fortunately, many millennials are far enough into their careers now to manage and supervise generation Z successfully—which may be due partly to the shared characteristics of self-confidence, a desire to learn new job skills, and a willingness to work hard. Further, organizations can prepare for the next generation in several specific ways.

The Robert Half/Enactus study offers five keys to recruiting generation Z, as follows.

  • Be as engaged as possible in the hiring process.
  • Find ways to exemplify personal and corporate integrity as part of the discussion.
  • Show community involvement and social responsibility.
  • Demonstrate advancement opportunities.
  • Consider how to retain the generation Z employees while they are being recruited.

On the edge of a generational shift in the workplace, organizations need to recognize and understand the characteristics and career desires of the next generation. Companies that proactively prepare and specifically recruit this new wave of eager, highly trainable, tech-savvy, and dedicated employees will have a competitive advantage moving forward in today's business world.

ZERORISK helps organizations build great cultures by identifying, developing, and retaining top talent. The ZERORISK Hiring System blends a revolutionary behavioral science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted turnover and improve employee performance. For more information contact us at (800) 827-5991.

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