Sterling News

News and insights for job seekers and hiring managers.

How Gen Z Can Differ From Millennials in the Workforce

Each generation of workers brings with it certain traits. It’s not great to generalize people to try and fit them into a box, but there are some things managers should keep in mind when it comes to new hires that fall into the Gen Z category, the older members of which are in their early to mid-20s and starting their careers.

It’s also important to understand the differences between Gen Z and their immediate predecessors, the Millennials.

Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012 by most accounts, is the first generation of true digital natives, born at a time when the internet was spreading like wildfire. They grew up with connected devices and can’t imagine a world without WiFi. Their technical skills are advanced because they don’t know life without them; most have a strong grasp on instant communication and the importance of using trends to get a message across. They also have a heightened sense of instant gratification and access to what they want and need. The twist is that Gen Z, unlike Millennials, wants personal connection, to be with people and in community, but are also a little more risk-averse than Millennials as they watched the 2008 Great Recession make their parents incredibly anxious and concerned about finances.

How does this play into recruiting them? What are they looking for in their careers? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Build relationships early.

The oldest Gen Z members are in their early to mid-20s, so they’re ready to start careers. They’re looking for a relationship with their employer, feeling a sense of trust and investment in the company and in their careers in a kind of holistic environment in which the success of their work life is tied with the happiness they feel in their personal life. They’re concerned about having the same financial stress of their parents, so consider sending out information early and often to younger candidates on LinkedIn to build a relationship. Talk about the values your company embraces and what your company is doing to safeguard its success along with the well-being and success of its employees.

Focus on work-life balance.

Even without the pandemic, Gen Z needs to have boundaries and isn’t afraid to talk about it. There is a separation between their home life and their work lives. They’re dedicated workers who want to succeed, but they don’t want to worry or think about work in their off hours; that’s for family, friends, fun and pursuing other interests. They want flexibility and will be more interested in a company that agrees it’s more important to get the work done than to spend eight hours a day working. Also, talk about any charitable or volunteer opportunities your company offers; this generation wants to give back as much as it wants to earn.

Put your company culture front and center.

In all your efforts — recruiting, social media, branding, marketing, etc. — talk about your company culture. Show it off. Don’t just talk about diversity and inclusion efforts, show the difference you’ve made and why it matters. Younger employees want to work for a company that aligns with their values and priorities. Talk about how your company wants to help their employees live full, healthy, successful lives by supporting mental health initiatives, offering discounts for the gym, promoting lifelong educational opportunities, etc. These employees want to know they’re not just going to be a person filling a desk but will be seen and respected as a whole person.

Improve the application and interview process.

That need for respect and to be treated well begins with the interview process. They want to know they’re not waiting for a call or email that will never come. They don’t want to feel like a number but, rather, seen as a person with value and worth. If your interview process takes too long, they’ll move on. This involves everything from the website experience they’ll have when applying to how long it takes to get a response after submitting their resume to a follow-up call or email after an interview. If you haven’t incorporated chatbots and other artificial intelligence into your website to help with the hiring and recruiting process, it’s time to change that. Remember, too, that this group of workers is more confident and comfortable on social media than almost any other — if you do right by them, they’ll tell all their friends, but if they’re unhappy, that news will get out too.

Talk about the future.

Gen Z isn’t just interested in what their job will look like today. They want to know they can provide a good future for themselves and their families — again, they grew up seeing their parents unexpectedly struggle through the Great Recession in their formative years. They want to know about career paths and trajectories, including what options they’ll have within your company. If they have the impression that they’ll be resigned to one position without any room for growth, or the ability to learn new skills, or that promotions will not be possible, they might take the job but only until something more aligned with their career goals becomes available.

Looking to bring top talent onto your team? Sterling Personnel can help!

Members of Gen Z want to work hard. They want to be successful and have a strong, respectable career. But they’re not willing to sacrifice their mental health and well-being in order to achieve that. They’re also not shy about speaking up about their goals and aspirations. Treat them well and they’ll thrive and tell their friends about a great company they’re associated with, encouraging them to apply as well.

If you’d like more tips on recruiting the new generation of workers, or if you’re looking to add to your team right away, call Sterling Personnel. Our recruiters can help navigate the ever-changing world of staffing and can share with your company some resumes of highly qualified candidates who would be a great addition to your team. When you’re ready to hire, call Sterling Personnel.