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Enough Talk About Millennials In the Workforce, Are You Ready For Generation Z? Generation Z will make up 24 per cent of the global workforce by 2020

By Rudy Crous

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For many years, business management has debated, battled and tailored different strategies on how to engage and recruit Millennials. This discussion has commonly referenced Millennials as people in their youthful twenties, but in reality, the majority of Millennials are now in their thirties. This may come as a shock, but Generation Z will make up 24 per cent of the global workforce by 2020.

Born from roughly 1995, Gen Z are true digital natives, having always been exposed to the internet, smartphones, advanced tech, virtual reality and social media. They have grown up in a society shaped by discussions around climate change, gender, equality and diversity. What a Gen Z candidate seeks in a recruitment process, a job, and a working lifestyle is vastly different to the generations that came before them. Recent research from LinkedIn has revealed, Gen Z are tech savvy, open-minded, ethically conscious and purpose-driven. So what can companies do to catch the attention of Gen Z top talent?

Create A Seamless Digital Application Experience

It might sound obvious, but as Gen Z are tech savvy, hirers need to offer a digital candidate experience that matches their expectations. An online application process which is mobile-friendly, easy-to-navigate and supported with visuals and videos is a bare minimum. Accessibility to information that gives insight into the company purpose, culture and external initiatives it supports should be clear and easy to find. To be even more competitive, hirers should consider implementing smart technologies into the recruitment process such as AI and smart data-matching algorithms. There are software programs that can assess a candidate's fit against key selection criteria across job, team and organisational fit. These types of smart assessments not only assist the recruiter with screening applications, but also offer candidates further insight into what the company is looking for and whether that aligns with what they are seeking. To not provide a seamless digital application process will reflect on Gen Z's perception of your companies brand and capabilities, making you a less attractive place to work.

Be Authentic Across Multiple Communication Channels

Creating and sharing company information through all the media channels you engage with needs to be proactively managed and kept up-to-date. Researching your organisation online is the first step most candidates will take. This means it's important for companies to be vigilant in what comes up on search engines regarding their business, and being on the front foot with what is promoted. However this does not mean pretending to be something that you are not. Gen Z seek transparency and openness with their employers, they don't expect you to be perfect, but do want honesty which demonstrates your authenticity. For recruiting, include links to other information pages on the job posting to help engage candidates and appeal to their values across multiple channels. Content should promote what your company culture is like and the benefits of working with the company. This can include highlighting the organisation's achievements, important clients, team wins, employee profiles and social aspects of the organisation. It's also important to monitor online reviews about the company on platforms such as Glassdoor and Seek, as these will also impact a Gen Z candidates' decision to apply.

Highlight Your Organisation's Social and Environmental Efforts

Gen Z care about a company's social and sustainability commitments and gravitate towards companies that are purpose-driven. Put simply, Gen Z want to know their work in some way will have a positive impact on the wider community. They place a high importance on joining an organisation that shares the same values as them and who are proactive in their stance. It is crucial for hirers to recognise this aspect of Gen Z and consider how their organisation contributes to society through different social and environmental initiatives. Showcase any company causes and touch on them in the application process and interview stages. If your company is not yet committed to such causes, highlight your goals to improving these areas of the business and proactively work to establish something that can be credibly supported.

Emphasise Stability and Ongoing Skills Development

Gen Z are looking for employers who can offer job security, stability and opportunities for growth. This means they are seeking companies who recognise their basic needs for a competitive salary, paid time off, training opportunities and a clear path for career progression. Most importantly, Gen Z want their employers to offer ongoing learning opportunities to help them stay up-to-date with new technology and advance in their careers. Gen Z know the workforce is changing and that skills needed today will change tomorrow. To appeal to this concern, companies should demonstrate that they are invested in a candidate's learning and skills development long-term. To win candidates over, mention these learning opportunities available throughout the recruitment process.

Promote a Collaborative Team Environment and Healthy Work Culture

While Gen Z are completely comfortable in the digital world, research shows they do value having a human element in their work. Face-to-face contact and partnering with others will help foster a positive team environment. Creating this workplace environment still means having flexible working conditions, but also recognising that facilitating times of direct connection is necessary. Gen Z also view a healthy work-life balance as essential to their well-being. Companies should evaluate and create employee benefit programs such as flexible working, paid carers leave and wellness programs, as part of their offerings.

At the end of the day, Gen Z are humans like everyone else and want a supportive, stable and rewarding workplace. If you can demonstrate that your organisation is committed to recognising their needs and sharing their values, they will notice it. By considering the above five tips in your recruitment process, you will be more prepared for the workforce dynamics beyond 2020.

Rudy Crous

Co-founder of Shortlyster

Rudy Crous, is a corporate psychologist and co-founder of Shortlyste.
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