Understanding and managing Gen Z in the workplace

If you think having an on-campus presence is enough to hire the right talent, particularly Gen Z, think again. Understanding gen Z and keeping tabs on their behavior, likes, and habits, among others, is a tricky slope. Research by the Harvard Business Review claims that 72% of millennials hear about companies from friends, 68% from the job board, and 45% from on-campus recruiting events. Plus, 54% of Generation Z candidates won’t apply for a job if they think the company’s recruiting methods are outdated.

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Clearly, not understanding Gen Z is a mistake. Plus, if your campus recruitment plan is not holistic,  to begin with, you are already losing out on potential talent that’s active on other avenues.

To effectively manage Gen Z in the workplace - also known as the online generation - you need to go virtual. In other words, besides having an on-campus recruitment strategy, you also need to focus on driving online campus recruitment. This includes leveraging virtual events such as career fairs and email campaigns that empower organizations to reach out to a more global student base at improved speed and effectiveness. You can also make use of social media channels such as LinkedIn to reach out to top talent, as 94% of job seekers use smartphones to browse or search for jobs online.

Now that you have a good understanding of how Gen Z thinks, let’s look at the top 7 Employee Value Propositions (EVPs) for managing Gen Z in the workplace.

Top 7 EVPs for managing Gen Z in the workplace

To better cater to Gen Z’s requirements and manage them optimally, some organizations create a dedicated set of Employee Value Propositions that are relevant to their needs. These include:

  • Collaboration, feedback, and communication: Focus on team collaboration, feedback, and communication, as 51% of Gen Z employees prefer speaking to friends, family, and coworkers face-to-face rather than by text. You can choose video calls over phones if working remotely and conduct regular check-ins with the team. You can also drive team bonding activities and review your communication channels. As per a Future Workplace report, Gen Z now gets performance reviews daily (19%), weekly (24%), or regularly (23%) instead of annually (3%).
  • Incentives and perks: Demonstrate a mix of traditional perks and benefits such as health insurance, compensation perks, student loan assistance, wellness benefits, etc., to reel them in.
  • Ownership and freedom: Provide them with the freedom and space to take job ownership, as Gen Z is known not to rely on traditional roles and tasks.
  • Flexible workspace: Promote a flexible work schedule with good work-life balance and instill a culture of ‘unplugging,’ allowing Gen Z to view the company as prioritizing their personal needs. Mental health remains a priority for Gen Z, with 40% of millennials and Gen Zs saying that their employers have done a poor job of supporting their mental well-being during the pandemic.
  • Stable job: Redirect your efforts towards creating a stable work environment and keep a clear line of communication open with the target base.
  • Tech-driven work culture: Welcome innovative technologies that can cater to the digital needs of the Gen Z. This includes using instant messaging channels such as Slack, using VR and wearables for onboarding, building an employee app for driving internal communication, investing in productivity-enhancing tools, and so on. Given that 46% of Gen Z are online for over 10 hours a day and use an average of five screens daily, including desktops, laptops, smartphones, TVs, and tablets, creating a technology-infused workplace makes logical sense.
  • Growth opportunities and career progression: As per the Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019, 35% of millennials and 33% of Gen Zs claimed to leave their current employment in the next two years due to insufficient opportunities to advance. Additionally, the same survey claims that organizations need to supplement career opportunities with robust training and leadership programs with a real and tangible focus on diversity.
  • Make the business purpose-driven: As per research by Mashable, around 60% of Gen Z want their job to impact the world and prefer working for companies with a strong sense of purpose. Hence, managers should give the business a higher purpose if they wish to drive employee loyalty.

The learning: For Gen Z, an impactful job translates to effective use of digital technology and tools, powerful relationship-building, and a personalized work experience. Managing them requires a different set of criteria that goes beyond providing ping pong tables or Zumba sessions at work. Campus recruiters need to keep these factors in mind when creating a campus recruitment plan and demonstrate the company’s holistic work culture at every juncture possible.