The Gen Z Factor: How to Build an Optimal Workplace for Recruiting Gen Z

May 1 2023 Posted by Zing Professional in Blog

Ready or not, Baby Boomers are on their way out of the workforce, and Gen Z is already stepping in to take their place. That is if organizations are willing to make the changes this younger generation wishes to see from their employers.

By 2030, the number of Gen Z employees is expected to triple. That means that people born roughly between 1997 and 2012 will soon make up 30% of the global workforce and will play a vital role in shaping the workplace for decades to come.

Gen Zers bring distinct characteristics to the workplace—ones your organization might not be used to seeing. And it’s important to understand these traits to attract, recruit and retain the upcoming best and brightest talent.

Recruiting Gen Z Means Understanding Gen Z

It’s no secret this generation tends to get a bad rap for their lack of work ethic, smart-phone addictions and general “laziness.” A little harsh, don’t you think?

Every generation has its “bad apples,” and Gen Z getting the brunt of criticism is no different than what we’ve seen in the past. Baby Boomers felt it about Gen X, then Gen X about Millennials, and now it’s Gen Z versus Everybody. It’s a repeat cycle—and frankly, one that this generation is unwilling to sit back and take.

Well, it helps that research can back them up.

Contrary to what you’ve probably read online, Stanford-affiliated research found that Gen Z is a pretty pragmatic bunch. They value direct communication, authenticity and relevance. Moreover, growing up with technology, they’re so used to finding what they need on their own, making them incredibly autonomous, curious and unafraid to question rules and authority.

Sounds like the makings of a generation of strong leaders, advocates and change-makers to us.

“A typical Gen Zer is a self-driver who deeply cares about others, strives for a diverse community, is highly collaborative and social, values flexibility, relevance, authenticity and non-hierarchical leadership, and, while dismayed about inherited issues like climate change, has a pragmatic attitude about the work that has to be done to address those issues.” ~Roberta Katz, Senior Research Scholar at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS).

Cracking the Code on Attracting and Retaining Gen Z

When recruiting Gen Z to your company, you should consider what truly matters to them: more flexibility, authenticity and career advancement.

Here are a few things to keep top of mind for attracting and retaining this generation.

Flexibility = Longevity

If the pandemic has taught us anything, workplace flexibility is no longer a “nice to have”—it’s an expectation. This isn’t just a Gen Z-specific thing, but it certainly matters most to them.

Fortune reported that 72% of Gen Z employees are most likely to have either left (or consider leaving) a job due to a lack of flexibility in the workplace. For comparison’s sake, the same study found 69% of Millennials, 53% of Gen X and 59% of Boomers would do the same.

So, what can companies do? Embrace a culture of flexibility in which employees take an active role in determining their own in- and out-of-office schedules to keep work-life balance in check, another huge priority for Gen Z. But make sure not to skimp out on in-person collaboration opportunities or intentional points of connection. It might be a delicate balance to strike, but one that really is the new way of the world. Why not start now?

Lead by Example

To win the hearts of Generation Z, companies and employers must highlight their efforts to be good global citizens. But don’t think this generation can be fooled. They’re hyper-aware of what companies and leaders are saying and doing. So, walking the walk with values is non-negotiable.

Gen Z is a strong judge of character, especially when it comes to an organization’s moral compass. Your company’s core values are a major selling point for young talent, with 80% of Gen Zers reporting that alignment with an organization’s core values is a major deciding factor in their job search. The core value this generation prioritizes the most? Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I).

As the most ethnically and racially diverse generation in U.S. history, Gen Z expects DE&I to be front and center of a company’s mission. Besides displaying your organization’s values across all branding, from the company page to individual job listings, hiring managers need to talk about how those values translate into the business’s day-to-day functions during the recruiting process.

Learning and Growth Opportunities Galore

Data shows that Gen Z workers in the United States are transitioning jobs nearly 40% more than last year (more than double the rate of Millennials)—many of whom chalk it up to feeling bored, unfulfilled and stagnant.

The secret to busting boredom in the office? Having ample learning opportunities at their fingertips. Gen Z loves to learn, and 76% believe learning is key to excelling at their jobs.

To no surprise by what we’ve already outlined above, professional development opportunities should be thoughtfully chosen, intentionally integrated into their growth plan and aligned with their specific career goals: think technology and hard skills, from front-end web development and programming languages to data analysis.

Nail Your Gen Z Recruiting Strategy With Zing

As Gen Z continues to make up more and more of today’s workforce, it’s essential that your organization is willing to listen, adapt and remain nimble amidst the generational talent transition. But this is much easier said and done with a trusted recruiting partner on your side.

Zing Recruiting is here to support your organization in successfully attracting, recruiting and retaining top Gen Z talent. Contact us today to get started.