Paving the hiring road for Generation Z

April 20, 2017 15:01
While millennials prefer autonomy, a survey found that Gen Zers value job security and are more likely to stay with a company longer. Photo: Bloomberg

Just as companies, marketers and recruiters thought they were starting to understand millennials and their unique characteristics – a new demographics' coming-of-age is set to see more changes in 2017.

How different can the two generations be, having grown up in similar environments, you may ask?

Well, very different. Born between 1997 and 2011 and on track to account for 27 percent of the world’s population, Generation Z (Gen Z) makes their debut in the workforce this year onwards with the earliest entrant at twenty years of age.

With companies already shape-shifting into collaborative communities and pulling all the stops to gain the millennial stamp of approval – how can companies build on their existing efforts to attract and retain the up and coming demographic?

Integration across devices

According to a global study of Generation Z by Monster, respondents believe that technology allows them to be more productive (57 percent) and mobile (45 percent). The upward trend continues to grow with a study citing that Gen Zers are capable of multi-tasking with up to five screens at once. This could mean that HR teams need to focus their targeted recruitment efforts across multiple mediums and platforms to create a fluid and seamless candidate recruitment experience.

While 2016 saw the rising importance of a brand's presence on social media, some companies have adopted integration by allowing applicants to apply for a position through Snapchat. With the rapid shift in power from employer to candidate, how far will companies go to differentiate themselves from their competitors from as early as the recruitment process?

Re-packaging corporate culture

In this on-demand world of infinite choice that both millennials and Gen Zers have had the privilege to enjoy, gone are the days where the promise of financial stability guarantees a sure-fire way to attract employees.

Whilst millennials prefer autonomy, a survey by Robert Half and Enactus found that Gen Zers value job security and are more likely to stay with a company longer – with most expecting to be part of an average of only four companies throughout their careers. Also, 77 percent of Gen Zers surveyed strongly believe that hard work contributes to their job satisfaction – a stark difference from the perceived carefree and idealistic attitudes of their millennial counterparts.

Before recruitment and management teams begin celebrating, Gen Zers hold slightly more pragmatic views with expectations of a stellar corporate culture. They are on the search for a clear sense of career progression and work-life balance, seeing themselves as a key driver of their own professional advancement.

More than just for the sole purpose of a pay check, Gen Zers prefer to work in a company that delivers tangible benefits to its stakeholders, as a way of deriving meaning from their jobs e.g. an app developer that focuses on technology disruption and puts the customer experience at the core of their business.

More often than not, a company’s corporate culture speaks volumes about the employer brand.
Thankfully, 41 percent of companies in the APAC region have been investing more resources in ensuring that corporate culture is prioritized, according to HireRight’s 2016 Employment Screening Benchmark report.

With an existing foundation, companies need to tweak existing strategies tailored for millennials to cater to the new demographic. With Gen Zers big on benefits that would impact their lives in the short term and customized career paths, companies can consider channeling investments into providing added training for both the candidate and management teams whilst re-visiting recruitment packages incorporating student-loan repayment programmes or paid parental leave.

Leveraging employee advocacy

While word-of-mouth advertising is important for every business with each happy customer steering dozens of new ones your way, having employees share their positive workplace experiences with their social circles serves as an equally important aspect in every company's recruitment strategies. Though it is known that millennials prefer sharing visually engaging content, Gen Zers prefer to create it. With the rise of many content creation features such as InstaStories, Facebook Live and many more, companies can look forward to Gen Zers developing exciting employee testaments either through social media channels or with their circle of friends.

Preparing for a new demographic may not be as daunting as it seems to be. While it may seem that the new generation has taken a step backward with more pragmatic views as compared to its free-spirited millennial counterparts, companies simply have to leverage on existing strategies with a focus on corporate culture and tweak it slightly to offer a greater sense of job security and an extensive career progression plan.

However, as each generation emerges with different traits and preferences, companies should begin charting long-term strategies to cope with potential 'generation gaps' between existing employees. After all, companies are always looking to strive for efficiency – especially when handling potential candidates.

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Managing Director, HireRight Asia Pacific