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“No one wants to work anymore.” 

Have you heard anyone say that lately in passing conversation?  Or maybe you’ve even said it yourself?  You’re trying to hire. You have good roles available.  It was never a problem to find someone before. 

Perhaps you find yourself looking at the youngest workers out there – people whom you believe could effortlessly fit into one of your entry-level roles. It could be customer service on the front line, or physical or manual labour, the kinds of jobs that don’t require specific education to walk into. Who wouldn’t want such an opportunity, you ask?  This is an easy time to walk right through your wide-open door!

But this is the Brave New World of Hiring; and the old rules no longer apply. If you are looking at the youngest generation in the labour market right now, these are the workers from Generation Z.  This group was born between the years of 1996(ish) to 2015(ish); and currently they are between the ages of 7 to 26. And no, that doesn’t mean they are just “young Millennials.” They have a set of shared values and goals that distinguish them from all the generations before.  So here are some of the key things you’ll want to remember, as you try to hire workers who are in their teens up to their mid-twenties:

  • They are digital natives and global citizens.  This group came into the universe with technology in hand.  They had access to smartphones at the earliest of ages and have never known a world without constant, instant Internet connectivity.  They will not only expect tech to be incorporated in some way in your business, but they will also look for your ongoing commitment to using technology in growing, sophisticated ways. How are you using tech in your hiring and training processes? How are you using technology to connect to the wider community and world around you?
  • They are vocal and informed and strive to be heard. If you don’t know the names Greta Thurnberg or Malala Yousefzai go look them up right now. They are prime examples of Gen Z.  Politically informed, this group will not hesitate to speak up in the face of injustice.  This is the most diverse generation yet and they are ready to be transparent in their activism either in person or through a multitude of social media platforms.  How fair are your own hiring and training practices? How diverse and inclusive is your workplace?  What is your ongoing, unabashed commitment to improving the community and world around you?
  • They seek flexibility to do things their own way. This generation was parented, by and large, by Generation X.  So, along with having the sum of human knowledge at their fingertips, this group has also been taught to question the status quo. What opportunities do you have for a young worker to customize their path with you?  Do you invite and celebrate innovation and collaboration in your workplace? How open and flexible are your work schedules, to allow for the handling of multiple jobs at the same time, if that employee so desires?

Bottom line: if you are following the traditional hiring method whereby you “post a job; hire a person; and expect their loyalty because they are getting a pay-cheque from you,” you may want to seriously rethink the road ahead.  You may be able to get Gen Z in the door, but if you really want to keep them on as part of your staff group, look for ways to tap into their desire to make an impact in their own way.

Join us in November 2022 as we launch our 4-part workshop series: Leading People in Today’s Workplace.  Among the topics that we will explore to support your best work as a leader, we will take a deep dive into generational differences and what these mean for you in terms of recruitment, hiring, and retention. This series is for you if you’re at the C-Suite, executive, or director stage of your career journey.  You’ll have the chance to meet fellow experienced managers and explore ways to nurture connections and engagement at all levels, stages, and ages of your organization.

Your Engaged HR assignment: Are you ready to welcome Gen Z into your workplace? Do you have the policies and systems in place to support the success of this new generation? If not, reach out and let’s talk!


Looking to learn more about other HR topics? Check out our Art of HR series!

The Art of HR
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