We all know that there are a range of factors making it difficult for HR and resourcing professionals to manage workforce needs and impact profits. If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you probably won’t be surprised that thinking about these factors has led me to consider how this situation will be effected by the entrance of Generation Z (those young adults born in the late 90s onwards) to the workplace.
That’s because I’m really interested in how businesses are preparing for the next generation, and their perceptions of these candidates. For example, it has been widely reported that the challenges organisations already face in managing the workforce are likely to become harder with the emergence of this new working cohort.
In light of these concerns, we recently commissioned a piece of research: ‘Generation Z: Agents of Change’, to understand HR leader’s perceptions of Generation Z, and find out the next generation’s desires and worries when it comes to the workplace.. It reveals that employers anticipate having to deal with candidates that will be more demanding, more discerning and more aware of what they want to get from their job. Many are also concerned about how they will deal with the resourcing of this generation in the coming years, with 83 percent of businesses seeing attracting the next generation of workers as a key business challenge, ahead even of innovation.
In this blog, I will use key findings from our report as a basis to discuss the fundamental building blocks of HR and resourcing success that organisations can use to attract, enhance and retain top talent from this critical generation.
Establish a strong employer brand and encourage current employees to promote this too
Every organisation should develop a genuine and compelling employer value proposition (EVP) and should ideally have an employer branding expert. After all, selling a company to potential recruits through an authentic employer brand is a great way to attract candidates. Having said that, no business should radically overhaul its EVP just to suit one generation; presenting a different face to different groups will cause confusion, mistrust and conflict. It is more about creating environments all generations can work in – and targeting messages to the right individuals and groups when appropriate.
One way to achieve this for Generation Z is through social media. These candidates are growing up in the mobile age so establishing a clear employer value proposition (EVP) online is vital. A large part of this, and a great method, is to encourage existing employees to share appropriate work updates on social media and use these social media platforms as a branding tool for the overall business.
Tailor your approach to resourcing
Marketing and sales teams have personas to understand their target audience. HR professionals are increasingly working in a similar way. Thinking like a marketer will help HR to understand how candidates differ in how they like to be approached. Knowing what motivates them and how they like to find jobs is invaluable. For example, we found that Generation Z candidates are most likely to look for a job using online jobs boards/apps (60 percent) and through school/college/university (24 percent). It would therefore make sense to use these platforms as a starting point to build a relationship with talented Gen Z targets.
Attract, develop and retain
These three words should be imprinted into any HR professionals mind, and HR teams must have dedicated resource in place to encompass all three of these points. It’s all very well having a resourcing strategy that will target Generation Z candidates, but this needs to be carried on through the whole employee lifecycle through effective Learning and Development tools and retention methods.
However, a stand-out stat from our research was that 54 percent of this generation expect to stay in their first job for under two years. Accepting that some Generation Z employees are likely to move on quickly will set you apart from the rest. This is particularly the case if the 500-day window (as highlighted in our research) is used as an opportunity to build a powerful alumni strategy.
While HR teams do need to rethink their resourcing strategies in order to appeal to the next generation of workers, employers must ensure that they don’t alienate other age groups as a result of tailoring their approach to meet the needs of one generation. The three measures outlined above will benefit the organisation as a whole. If you understand how to appeal to Gen Z, you will gain a more textured insight into how to make the most of the multiple generations integrated within your workforce.