The impact of Generation Z on workforce dynamics is affecting business everywhere, both in the Middle East and globally. When it comes to communicating and engaging with these young people—who take technology for granted and whose attitudes and motivations are so different from their parents—there needs to be a significant change in approach.
As a starting point, it’s helpful to define who we’re talking about. Generation Z were born in the mid-nineties. Let’s say 1996—the same year Google was born. The birth of the Generation Z era has been as significant as Google, and the advances in technology and communication that Google represents are cornerstones of the changes that have molded Generation Z.
The challenges this generation poses from a talent and marketing perspective are immense, primarily because they are so different from their predecessors. The pace of change has seen the emergence of distinctive characteristics that define these young people.
It is a generation of many firsts. They are:
Global—For the first time, common generational traits are being shown by people of the same age all around the world. There are now fewer cultural barriers to filling any vacancy with the best global talent.
Caring—This requires recruiting organizations to think about and articulate more carefully their purpose and why they matter within society.
Brand-oriented—They see the value of brands. This is a chance for organizations to build closer relationships with candidates and existing employees.
Diverse by nature—They do not notice diversity; they notice when an organization lacks diversity.
Connected—They are all about technology at every step of the recruitment process.
Engaged by visual and multi-media content—They interact with platforms such as Facebook and You Tube and expect them to be used in the recruitment process.
Worriers—They worry about developing the skills they need, not only to get a job but, ideally, meaningful careers.
So, what does all this mean when it comes to creating a meaningful dialogue when you are looking to recruit Generation Z? Here are six key tactics to make a recruiter’s life easier.
Make front-line content easily understandable and quickly digestible. Generation Z has a short attention span and is bombarded with marketing messages—up to 3,000 every day. Get to the point quickly, use short sentences, bullet points and engaging headlines.
This generation responds positively to pictures rather than just words. Consider using photography, video and infographics.
Remember that your audience has an audience. With the proliferation of online channels—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc—there are many routes to sharing both knowledge and opinion. Give them content they will share with their friends.
Generation Z expects diversity and is likely to react negatively towards organizations that do not share their perspective regarding social inclusion and multi-culturalism.
Generation Z expects fast response times for questions, application processes, feedback, etc—don’t delay or they will lose interest and move on. If you know your recruitment process is a long one, think of ways to keep candidates warm and engaged. Remember, Generation Z will research you as a potential employer, so honesty, clarity and credibility need to anchor all your communications.
It’s easy to get carried away with technology, but this is a generation that likes face-to-face contact as well. Career fairs, university presentations and interviews are all still important elements of the recruitment process.
Paul Turner is the Regional Director for MENA at Havas People.