How to engage and attract the next generation of talent

In the current talent scarce market, all employers, both small and large, have one thing on their minds: attracting the best talent to their organisations.

The most recent cohort to enter the workforce is Generation Z. In the early stage of their careers, they are not a group to ignore as they will be making up a sizable chunk of the workforce in the near future.

Who are Gen Z?

Generation Z or Gen Z, is a popular term to describe the cohort that followed on from Millennials. Born between 1995 and 2010, they are a truly digital generation. Comfortable with gadgets of all descriptions and technology in general, in the same way previous generations were with television and books.

Some of the typical characteristics and traits of Gen Zers that has been highlighted by research include almost 96% being smartphone owners and staying connected through extensive use of social media apps on their phones.

However, their extensive technology experience has made them cautious in how they use tech. According to the findings from an IBM whitepaper, they are well informed on issues around data privacy. This sensitivity around personal data has made them careful about what they share with companies and brands.

Generation Z will be one of the most culturally diverse of the recent generations, with racial and ethnic minorities forming almost 50% of this cohort. Though they want to positively impact the society around them and the world in general, that isn’t their only concern, and they are keen to achieve a good work/life balance. They are passionate about their hobbies and interest outside of their careers, with almost 76% wanting their non-work interests and hobbies to lead to full-time jobs.

Why is attracting the next generation of talent different to the last?

Generation Zers have a unique set of skills, priorities, and expectations from their future employers, and as such, it is imperative that your organisation understands them. If you can appreciate the way they think and work, the tools and tech they use and how they approach finding jobs, then your chance of snagging Gen Z talent for your organisation will be significantly higher.

To recruit Gen Zers effectively, there are four main points to take into consideration when you plan your next recruitment campaign.

  • In everyday life, they are surrounded and consumed by technology. They have used the internet and smart devices all of their lives, making them the most tech-savvy generation yet. Therefore, trying to target them with traditional ‘old school’ recruitment approaches will be ineffective as they will be more likely to need a digital approach.
  • If you want to get a Gen Zers attention, you have to work with how they think and aspire to. Long-term career goals aren’t of interest; however, if you can provide short-term goals and a complete benefits package that delivers results quicker, then you may have found a winning combination.
  • Social media is how Gen Zers communicate and interact with their friends and colleagues; it influences every facet of their lives, including looking for jobs and new opportunities. To get them to take notice of your job opportunities and career paths, you’ll need to use the power of social media to your advantage.
  • Growing up post-recession has embedded an entrepreneurial streak in this generational cohort. They tend to look for short-term wins, which can lead to jumping from job to job more than was seen in earlier generations. A survey on LinkedIn revealed that ‘Gen Z are 3x more likely to change jobs, with 20% of them averaging four or more jobs during the short time they’ve been part of the workforce. This may be unsettling and a red flag for some employers.

How to attract the next generation of talent to your workforce.

Online Presence

Given Gen Zers passion for digital and social media, increasing your online presence is a logical step to take to attract this generational cohort.

A multi-channel approach encompassing website, social media, and perhaps video to promote work culture and the way you positively enhance the environment, and your community will make a difference. When asked how they searched for work, 75% visited company websites, 65% used job boards and 25% used social networking sites.

An additional benefit of an enhanced online presence is visibility. The more they see your brand name and corporate image, the more likely they are to remember your company when it comes time to hunt for a new job.

Flexibility

Gen Zers don’t respond to a regimented regime and prefer to have the flexibility to decide which work to complete and in what order is logical to complete it. As long as the work is completed by the deadline and to a satisfactory standard, allowing some flexibility may improve productivity and motivation.

Technology and feedback

Investing in the latest technology can have dual benefits. First, it will serve to attract the best Gen Z talent as they are comfortable with using the latest tech and will feel confident in that environment. Additionally, cutting edge tech can increase the speed at which you conduct business, creating a fast-paced environment for the best to thrive in.

A side-effect of growing up surrounded by smartphones and the ability to contact anyone 24/7 is an expectation of immediate feedback and rapid responses to questions or comments. They will often see a slow response, or worse, no response at all as being ignored or being deemed low priority. Email and text messages are preferred over face-to-face or phone conversations as the go-to form of communication for Gen Z as they are short and to the point.

This doesn’t mean they are poor communicators; they just rationalise that a five-minute email is more effective and achieves the same objective as a 30-minute meeting. Gen Zers love to be challenged and want to work in an organisation where they are able to use the skills and abilities they acquired at school and through hobbies and interests.

Career progression

When Gen Zers look for a potential employer, high on their list of must-haves is the opportunity for progression. However, when asked, half of the respondents felt that one to two years in an entry-level position was sufficient before progressing, while 19% thought three to five years was not unrealistic.

Additionally, Gen Zers are always looking for ways to enhance their skillset and knowledge. In-house training, additional external courses or certifications will go a long way towards keeping them engaged and motivated while providing significant benefits to their organisation.

To attract Gen Z and keep them engaged and motivated, it’s necessary to use the tech and approach they have grown up with. Understanding their approach to job hunting, communication, and their strong desire to keep learning new skills and progress in your organisation will help to ensure that the Gen Zers you recruit will become long term employees and continue to help your business thrive.