Move over, Millennials - Generation Z is about to take your place (if it hasn't already)!
By now, we've studied and understood all we could about the Millennials - the way they function, what they like, what they are about, what their inhibitions and striving may be focused on and ways they move about towards achieving their goals. However, our focus has now slowly yet progressively started shifting to the generation we, up until recently, haven't been paying much attention to -- even though that amazing new gen of youth has been forming and blossoming right there in front of our eyes, shaping into a leading mindset.
So, who are these kids?
Generation Z are kids born after the mid-90s; raised post 9/11 in a steady recession economy, they've grown up in a bubble with no sentiment for or memory of the boom years. Gen Z's oldest members are now getting set to enter the workforce and the way they operate is a testament to the way they were raised - less dependent on their parents than Millennials, self-sufficient and more pragmatic, spiritually challenged (or, otherwise, way too spiritual) and focused on achievements rather than talks about those achievements.
What are the key qualities that make Gen Z unique?
They are self-sufficient
Kids of the Gen Z generation are probably the silent announcement of the family-oriented lifestyle coming to an end together with the Millennial-advocated parent dependency. Their life inspiration isn't based on family values or parent-child closeness but rather on the Internet-produced information and their peers' knowledge.
Gen Z are those kids born in the golden age of the Internet; they're tech-immersed, although not all of them are tech-savvy. To most of them, using the Internet is more of a factual lifestyle than a means to an end. They have no recollection of the time prior to the Internet access or home computers. Some of them may still remember the Dial-up.
These kids are all about global community and digital narrative engagement as they've grown up following the rise of social media. Gen Z aren't dependent on their families but do tend to develop a very unsettling dependency on their peers - even those whom they've never met in person but engage with only through social media. For the Gen Zs, it isn't uncommon to build Internet relationships without physical touch and confide into people they've never had the opportunity to meet in person. Somehow, these Internet friendships have replaced the necessity for the actuality and reality of family closeness and relationships based in the real time.
They're value oriented
Generation Z are oriented towards following passions and values, rather than making money. Obviously, their pragmatic nature is pushing them into a business that would both earn them money and honour their passions. Most of these kids are leaning towards 'inventing something that will change the world' and are clear on rather being entrepreneurs than employees.
They're not (that) technology immersed
The Gen Z generation is popularly portrayed as a narcissistic, self-indulgent and selfish demographic obsessed with everything and anything that has to do with self-validation, usually coming from their Internet-peers. Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks are offering what these kids crave - the much-needed validation from their online friends and followers. They also want an open dialogue focused on their own and others' publicly talked about activities and personal image while at the same time building a community of individuals independent of the reality.
Still, while they practically grew up with a smartphone in their hand, Gen Z are more than just tech-driven automatons. Primarily, they understand technology which gives them the upper hand - they are in a position to just use it for their own benefit without having it use them in return (unless that's what they are after). Given the emphasis on the importance of technology for the Gen Z generation, it is somewhat soothing that the 'research group Millennial Branding found 53 per cent of Gen Z respondents prefer face-to-face communication over tech tools like email (16 per cent) and messaging (11 per cent)'.
Why recruit generation Z?
When talents are plenty, you want to pick out the best of the best - and that's Gen Z for you; the three ways to refine your Generation Z recruitment strategy are as follows:
Embrace the change and upgrade
By the time the last of Generation Z arrives on the scene, the good old 9-to-5 will have disappeared altogether. The nomadic nature of the Gen Z will absolutely require the freedom of mobility and open communication, regardless of their pragmatic need for stability. This is why, as an employer, you should be open to accommodating to their need for flexible hours that agree with their other interests and commitments.
Also, for the generation that is so used to the digital environment, to actually lure a Gen Z to your team, you need high-quality technology around, HR Software and other necessities crucial for building their communications.
Switch up the communication
Honesty is the one value Generation Z appreciates above all others; to appear appealing to a Gen Z, be transparent about the way you do business, no matter how small those inquiries may be. Be straightforward about every aspect of their jobs and engage them with clear communication.
Offer purpose, not succession
Gen Zs crave a career they can actually love. Imbued with an entrepreneurial spirit, Gen Z will lean towards opening their own business and excelling at what they do. No Gen Z will be content working toward someone else's dream; so, if you are looking to keep them on your team, offer them a position with a purpose and clear path to leadership.