Millennials? So yesterday. In the next year, companies will focus their attention on recruiting the next generation of employee: Gen Z.
Born between 1994 and 2010, this group is 20 million strong and has new perspectives, opportunities and challenges ahead of them. By understanding Gen Z's needs, attributes and work style, you can better recruit, retain and groom them to become future leaders of your company.
A new worldwide study of 2,000 Gen Zs and Gen Ys (millennials) from 10 different countries, conducted by my company and Randstad US, the third-largest staffing organization in the U.S., suggests that Gen Z might be better equipped than Gen Y to succeed in the new world of work.
We asked both generations about their work preferences, styles, perceptions of each other and biggest influences. While the generations exhibit many similarities, a few key differences divide them and are important for entrepreneurs, marketers and recruiters to know. According to Randstad, those organizations that understand and address Gen Z’s preferences will have great advantage in hiring the newest workforce.
“Businesses are still finessing how to accommodate multiple generations in the workplace, and the addition of Gen Z adds yet another layer for consideration,” says Jim Link, chief human resource officer of Randstad North America. “However, companies really can impact their recruiting and retention success by paying attention to what makes each generation tick and speaking directly to each group’s motivators.”
In our study, we found Gen Z appears to be more entrepreneurial, loyal, open-minded and less motivated by money than Gen Y. In previous research I conducted, Gen Zs appeared more realistic with their workplace expectations after seeing how unrealistic Gen Ys have been. Gen Ys are optimistic about the future, while Gen Zs understand what they are up against and are figuring out ways to adapt to the new reality.
Here are five attributes of Gen Z workers you need to know about right now:
1. They show signs of being more entrepreneurial.
More Gen Zs (17 percent) than Gen Ys (11 percent) want to start their own business and employ others. What makes every new generation better positioned to lead companies is that they have access to more people, resources and information earlier in life by way of the Internet. I didn't have access to the same amount of information when I was 16 years old as this age group does now, and it's a major advantage.
When hiring someone in Gen Z, appeal to their entrepreneurial spirit by creating a culture that enables them to focus on new projects directly tied to business success.
2. They report being less influenced by money.
For Gen Z, about one-third (34 percent) say they are most motivated by opportunities for advancement, while 38 percent of Gen Ys are primarily motivated by more money. Because Gen Y fell into the economic recession, they have to catch up if they want to be able to afford to live on their own and get the same quality of life their parents did. Gen Z has seen what the financial crisis has done to Gen Y and is even more conservative and strategic.
They also realize that they need to get a job and advance by learning as much as possible, and they’re cognizant that “learning” sometimes doesn't come with a bigger paycheck.
3. They prefer traditional methods of communication.
While most people would think Gen Z would primarily use technology such as Facebook or Snapchat to communicate, the opposite is actually true. The majority of Gen Z respondents say they prefer in-person communications with managers (51 percent), as opposed to emailing (16 percent) or instant messaging (11 percent).
If you want to manage Gen Zs or sell to them, you shouldn't ignore using traditional methods of communication. Instead of just instant messaging them, invite them into a meeting.
4. They want you to take them seriously.
Gen Zs know they are young and just starting in their careers, but they also want companies to give them support and a microphone. Gen Z (61 percent) has a slightly stronger desire for managers to listen to their ideas and value their opinions over Gen Y (56 percent). They indicate the workplace should be less about age and more about ideas and contributions. Gen Zs want to be in executive meetings and not left out on the sidelines, having to wait years for the chance.
5. They want to work for an honest leader.
One-half (52 percent) of Gen Z states that honesty is the most important quality for being a good leader. They want leaders to be open with them and not hide information because of their age or title.
If you're honest, they will trust you and want to work for you or purchase from you -- it's that simple.