How to engage a Gen-Z workforce

November 27, 2018

Paris Stevens

A line of young people using their mobile phones

Whenever a new generation enters the workforce, you can expect change. While Gen-X brought entrepreneurism and autonomy to offices across the USA, millennials are known for being creative and productive, constantly seeking out new roles and experiences.

And with Gen-Z set to occupy around 10% of the workforce by 2020, it looks like there will be more shifts in work culture on the horizon. Unlike their older peers, who gained access to technology in their teens, Gen-Z have been texting since they were old enough to write and they speak ‘emoji’ like it’s their first language. Born between the mid-90s and the mid-noughties, they’re going to bring not just digital fluency, but a completely different perspective on the world.

So how can companies adapt and change to ensure they embrace everything Gen-Z has to offer?

Keep their options open

Just like millennials, Gen-Z are multi-taskers who value variety and a wide range of opportunities. They won’t appreciate being pigeon-holed into specific roles too quickly and are more likely to thrive if they’re given the chance to spread their wings. If companies ensure they listen to their aspirations from the start of their journey, they’re more likely to retain employees and be able to watch their careers progress.

Tech, tech, tech

Gen-Z are the true masters of tech and it’s a natural part of their everyday lives. Not only do you need to provide the right tools and equipment for them to flourish, you can also use their tech knowledge to your advantage. When adopting new systems, they can be part of the training process, ensuring that the tech is usable and that everyone else in the organization can get onboard and use it effectively.

Training options

According to a recent study, only 11% of Gen-Z said they’d take on debt for higher education, meaning the traditional focus on degrees could be shifting. A university education doesn’t need to a be a requirement for most jobs, but it may mean that employees need more training options when they start a job. It also means you can offer training that supports your business, developing staff members for a future senior role within the company.

Positive environments

Even more so than millennials, Gen-Z are motivated by social causes. They don’t want to work for companies that don’t recycle or pay their taxes fairly. Instead, they want to support organizations who give something back to local communities through charity work and contribute to making the world a better place. When you’re recruiting young people, make sure you sell the ethics and values of your company during the interview process.

Social connections

The most digitally savvy generation don’t just want a place to come to work, they want an opportunity to engage and interact. Team building, social activities and interactive learning and development will be crucial to the development and success of most Gen-Z employees. Whether it’s in the office or outside, you’ll need to offer new and exciting ways for them to grow if you’re going to retain staff long-term.

Ask what they want

Traditionally businesses have been ‘top-down’, ensuring that what management says goes. While this is still valid in some cases (such as making crucial financial decisions), there are other areas where it’s important to engage the rest of your employees. Just like millennials, Gen-Z wants to feel like they are being valued and listened to. From workshops to surveys, it’s important to find ways to let them have their voice heard.

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