Opinion



May 23, 2019,   12:48 PM

Gearing Up For Gen-Z: What Employers Should Know About Today's Young Workers

Emily He

FULL BIO

gen z

Image from source

Employers who feel they’ve finally gotten the handle on how to best hire millennials now face a new challenge: Generation-Z.

The Gen-Z demographic—people born on or after 1996—will outnumber millennials this year, according to Bloomberg. Gen-Z is expected to make up 2.4 billion out of 7.7 billion people worldwide this year.

Generalizing across such a large group is perilous, but it’s critical for employers to have a basic understanding of the requirements and expectations this new generation is bringing to the workforce.

They talk tech—fluently

Gen-Z, the oldest members of which will be 23 this year, is the first generation to have had the internet around for its entire lifetime. The bulk of these young workers are proficient in texting and completely accustomed to having the Web at their fingertips. Things that baby boomers struggle with, like interacting with chatbots, comes naturally to them.

And many are masters at their devices, largely because they have had them for quite some time. “Gen-Zs think it’s perfectly ok for a 13-year-old to have a smartphone. Even millennials didn’t think that,” says William Tincup, president of RecruitingDaily.com.

Given that, Gen-Z folks have developed high expectations of technology. If an app doesn’t work as expected, it will soon be gone.

They rely on tech-based relationships

Gen Z turns to technology, rather than people, to learn new things. “They will watch videos about kids playing games instead of playing the games themselves. You have to wonder how that is wiring or rewiring the brain,” says Tincup.

While older workers often shrug off technology glitches, grabbing a cup of coffee while their system updates, Gen-Z may not be so forgiving. They expect their stuff to work and work now. Otherwise, they’ll seek alternative solutions.

Many Gen-Zs are used to interacting with their devices via touch or increasingly via voice, since many grew up with smart home speakers or have been bossing Siri around for years. Talking to an app is no big deal to them.

One downside to all this tech, is that many in this group have trouble with “soft” people skills.  Sure, they are adept at technology but having a conversation and looking someone in the eye doesn’t come naturally to them.

They have on-demand mindsets

This Gen-Z group tends to flit from one task, website or social network to another, perhaps because attention spans seem to be shrinking. It is safe to say that instant updates to everything have impacted people’s ability to concentrate.

Employers should note the attention deficit issue and realize that the days when a company could recruit a top candidate and expect them to stay in the same job for years or even months at a time, are over. Gen Zs are wired to want new challenges all the time, so employers will need to change things up in order to retain them.

Hiring managers should also consider flexible working hours and work-from-home options to attract people who are used to doing what they want when they want.

On the other hand, this is work after all and employers need to stress that new hires work within teams and communicate well to achieve personal and corporate success.

They work toward a new definition of success

Gen-Zs are highly independent and entrepreneurial—even more so than their millennial counterparts. When it comes to finding success and meaning at work, they respond to independence and purpose.

While it’s critical for employers to bring these new hires up to speed on the social skills they may lack, it will also benefit their teams to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit.

Gen-Z brings forth tech-smart candidates all companies crave. But would-be employers should realize that these candidates will also need help to focus, support to learn soft skills and opportunities to thrive as part of a winning team.

With all that said, the biggest takeaway is to get started with Gen-Z – now.

“Employers took years to understand the millennial generation and how they were changing up the workforce. Well, Gen-Z is here and if companies don’t start experimenting with them now, they will end up being blindsided in the exact same way,” Tincup emphasizes.

Businesses that want to get ahead of this generation should start interacting with them as soon as possible. Talk to them, hire them and get them on your team. The only way we’ll learn who they are and how they behave is to start the engagement. With the oldest part of Gen-Z entering the workforce now, there’s no better time like the present.

Emily He is the senior vice president of marketing at Oracle HCM Cloud.

 



Recommended Articles