By Ryan Ashton
Call this demographic whatever you’d like—post-Millennials, Generation Snapchat or Generation Z—the generation of people born between 1995 and 2010 are poised to take over the workplace.
Sure, Millennials still get all the press, but with Generation Z making up 26% of the population, it’s now the largest demographic in the U.S.
With the oldest members of Generation Z now over 20 years old, it’s time for employers to start considering how to focus their employee recruitment and retention efforts on catering to their skills, values and ideals.
Understand what Gen Z employees value
For starters, they’re more altruistic and idealistic than previous generations. 60% say they want to have an impact on the world, and one in four regularly volunteer. Also, as part of the most ethnically and gender-aware cohort, teens are more driven to fight for equality in the workplace.
They’re a mobile-first generation that are far more connected. Generation Z grew up in a world that was fully online, where many kids and young teens owned a smartphone of their own. Much of Gen Z’s social life, culture, media consumption and education depend on the internet and connectivity. As a result, it’s estimated that they multitask across as many as five devices in any given day.
They’re more risk-averse. Having been born into the aftermath of the 2008 financial recession and witnessing the impact it had on older generations, they’re extremely concerned about student loan debt, the rising cost of living expenses and finding the right job that fits their values.
Luckily for you, you have the right job waiting for them.
Here’s how to make sure they know that, and to keep them engaged and productive once they’re in the door.
Everyone’s an Entrepreneur
Being full digital natives has afforded Generation Z some opportunities—instead of having to take a paper route for their first job, they’ve been running their own online storefronts or Twitch streams. Couple this early exposure to entrepreneurship with the desire to make an impact, and it’s not surprising that most would lean towards wanting to own their own business (more than half of Gen Zers have expressed an interest in owning their own company).
However, there are opportunities for entrepreneurship even within the context of an hourly-wage job. For an employer, regularly requesting feedback from staff on initiatives, communicating the corporate vision and recognizing moments when employees effectively take the lead can all help encourage an ownership mentality.
To further support this, providing staff with career development opportunities and clear growth milestones that are designed to foster their entrepreneurial spirit can help attract and retain highly motivated workers—while building the skills they need to thrive in an ownership role.
Mission Over Money
Generation Z are more focused on doing good—so keep that in mind when it comes time to make an offer.
In a survey of 5,000 Gen Zers, only 15% identified salary and wage increases as motivation for staying at a job for more than three years.
Their purpose-driven philosophy, however, carries over to the workplace. More the case than ever before, young employees are looking for employers that care about doing soical good and making a positive impact.
Remember, this is the ‘make a difference’ generation—so clearly communicate your company’s social impact and charitable-giving initiatives during the interview process, as well as any internal values you have in championing equality and environmental issues.
Generation Z is the most diverse generation, and that reflects in their values: 72% consider racial equality to be the most important issue facing their generation, and 36% want to see their employers support equality in the workplace.