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Here comes Gen Z: How to attract and retain the workforce's newest generation

March 1, 2018
Borderless Future

A few years ago, it seemed professionals couldn’t go a day without hearing or reading the word “millennial.” Whether it was advice about hiring them, managing them, developing them or simply dealing with them, everyone had opinions on this generation’s presence in the workforce.

Today, most millennials are in their late 20s and 30s, and many are well past junior level roles. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) predicts that “millennial” has passed as the workplace buzzword, and instead employers will turn their attention to the recent college graduates of Generation Z.

Although Gen Z-ers aren’t vastly different from their predecessors, catering to these newly minted professionals requires a slightly different approach. From their lightning-speed technology use to their sense of holistic well-being, Gen Z’s priorities have shifted, and smart companies should start preparing now to welcome them with open arms.

According to members of Forbes Coaches Council, here’s how to attract and retain Generation Z.

1. Encourage Their Entrepreneurial Spirit

Gen Z, like millennials, will be tech savvy and very fast at being able to adapt to new technology, but one differentiator will be that Gen Z wants to own a business and will understand ownership even more than millennials. Gen Z will ask for ownership stakes, be working on their own inventions and be interested in a piece of the business pie. This must be taken seriously by HR and leaders. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.

2. Focus On Technology That Improves Efficiency

Those who belong to Generation Z, even more so than the millennial generation, appreciate the great value that technology, and subsequently efficiency, bring to the workplace. Those companies that focus their efforts on technology and improving efficiency will continue to attract and engage millennials, recruit top talent and beat out their competition. – Kyle Elliott, Kyle Elliott Consulting

3. Align Their Personal Purpose With The Company Mission

Both millennials and Gen Z focus on contributing and value the idea of having a purpose. But Gen Z grew up during the 2008 recession and is inevitably more practical than millennials. Focus on helping Gen Z align their personal drive, technology talents, brand awareness and desire for a purpose to the mission of the company, profitability, and operations. Their cost-consciousness helps. – Joanne Markow, GreenMason

4. Appeal To Their Bite-Sized, Fast-Paced Media Habits

Even though millennials are tech-literate and able to quickly embrace change, they grew up with Myspace, AOL and Facebook. These are slower-paced social media than Gen Z uses. Our newest employees receive and expect information immediately. Think Snapchat, texting and WhatsApp. They’re instantaneous. Engage Gen Z by providing answers they can access at their fingertips and on their small screens. – Loren Margolis, Training & Leadership Success LLC

5. Embrace Their Differences

Gen Z values diversity. Businesses should foster diversity by creating organizational structures that promote interdependence between functions. Give individuals and groups opportunities to voice differing opinions and engage in collaborative problems solving, and design “third spaces” that allow interactions outside departmental boundaries to promote dialogue, create identify and build community. – Vanita Bellen, True North Coaching and Consulting

6. Show Them You Care About Well-Being At A Higher Level

I’ve noticed members of Gen Z are thinking a lot about self-actualization, well-being and happiness/joy. These are very evolved thoughts for people of that age, and I think this means we should expect a movement for more meditation, strengths-building, contemplation, nap rooms — essentially, more well-being at every step of the way. – Vik Kapoor, Esq., Extra-M Coaching

7. Create Engaging Events

Young people live for their experiences. They are tech savvy but have a strong interest in living life to the fullest. They are less interested in owning material things. The best way to reach them is to set up fun and interesting events that are unusual, collaborate and good for the environment. This is your opportunity to work with other brands and cross-sell products like never before. – Kathleen Houlihan, Dream2Career

8. Continue The Millennial Momentum Of Work-Life Integration And Career Development

Millennials refuse to toil 24/7 in the hopes of climbing the corporate ladder. They used their demographic power to demand effective managers, work-life integration, inclusion and career development. Gen Z will continue this positive momentum. Otherwise, they will join the swelling free-agent workforce. – Shoma Chatterjee, ghSMART

9. Appreciate Them As People

Regardless of generation, people want to feel valued. People new to the workforce (and your organization) need to be developed into the employee you want them to be. Appreciate their unique skill sets and perspectives, demonstrate required best practices and behaviors, and ensure that they see and understand their role in their team and the wider organization. – Dr. Rachel MK Headley, Rose Group, Intl

10. Get Curious And Ask Them Questions

The best way to understand any generational differences in your workforce is by asking questions. Many times, companies make the mistake of reading the latest survey or research, making assumptions and forming biases, and then making decisions based on those assumptions and biases. Get curious about your current and future workforce, ask them questions and facilitate a dialogue. – Amy Douglas, Spark Coaching, LLC

11. Develop Leadership Agility

The landscape of leadership is shifting, hierarchies are tumbling and org charts are getting flatter. Being a traditional or alpha leader with an authoritative style no longer works. Gen Xers and millennials network, share and want co-leadership formats. Therefore, develop leadership agility from the foundation with beta leaders, who lead with expertise, consensus-building and deep listening. – Maria Pastore, Maria Pastore Coaching

12. Help Millennials Lead Gen Z

Whether your intention is to attract millennials or Gen Z, the process is the same. You are basing your message on attracting the best possible person for the position while looking for values and personality that fit with your culture. What will change is that millennials are now some of the most innovative leaders who will be engaging and developing the next generation. – Frances McIntosh, Intentional Coaching LLC

Source: Forbes

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