Remember when it was all the rage to blog about the prospect of millennials in the workforce? Whether you should hire them, the strengths they can provide the workplace, and tips for attracting and retaining their talent? Yeah, that ship has sailed. Millennials are now saddled in the 20- to 30-something age bracket and make up 35 percent of working Americans. This means more than one in three working Americans is a millennial — so it’s safe to say that we don’t need to debate the merits of hiring them or not anymore. The discussion has now shifted to the next generation of employees: Gen Z.
Gen Z is more than 60 million strong, making up 25.9 percent of the U.S. population. The New York Times explored in-depth the types of personalities that make up this generation. In the pop culture landscape, millennials might see themselves a bit like the Hannah Horvath character in the HBO original series “Girls” — struggling to achieve their big dreams while facing the realities of adulthood. Gen Z employees are much more likely to look up to “Modern Family” character Alex Dunphy, treating high school like a career and being made keenly aware of their personal brand at a young age.
As Generation Z goes after entry-level roles, the question is raised once more: Should employers hire them?
I advocated heavily for recruiting millennials and I’ll do the same for Gen Z employees.
3 benefits of hiring Gen Z employees
Here are three things that make Gen Z employees an incredible asset to any business:
Gen Z employees are aware of their personal brands.
A multigenerational workplace is the perfect melting pot for mentorship.
Hiring Gen Z employees is an opportunity to hit refresh on company culture.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of hiring Generation Z.
1. Gen Z employees are aware of their personal brands
Generation Z is the only generation made up of digital natives. They were born into a world where social media platforms and smartphones are ever present. Technology makes up a huge piece of their existence, and a calculated one at that. They know that everything you post is ultimately part of your brand, for better or for worse. Gen Z knows all about the social mistakes previous generations have made — like sharing controversial photos or videos publicly online — and the ensuing damage control.
From an efficiency standpoint, hiring Gen Z employees makes sense when you need people who can quickly catch on to the latest apps and multitasking duties.
The greatest return on investment for the company, however, is their sense of caution. A study from the IBM Institute for Business Value and the National Retail Federation found that less than 30 percent of surveyed Gen Z’ers are willing to share private information, including personal details and payment information. How can they contribute to your brand’s reputation without straying from its story and mission? They are going to think before they post and share the right information.
2. A multigenerational workplace is the perfect melting pot for mentorship
Things can go one of two ways when businesses hire a mix of generations. Everyone can decide to clash about their age ranges and be at constant war with one another about how to get the job done. Or, they can see each other as equals, with opportunities to learn together.
If you decide to hire Gen Z employees, you’ve opened up the doors to experiencing teamwork like never before.
Each generation can train one another on their weaker spots, help each other learn new skills, and provide constructive feedback.
Gen Z employees want to work hard, but they also want to socially connect with their fellow team members. That’s where mentorship comes into play. Baby Boomers can provide Gen Z’ers with stories about their own experiences and how they got to be where they are today. Gen Z can listen, take notes, and come back to them — as well as the other generations throughout their office – for advice. This kind of age representation matters, personally as well as professionally.
3. Hiring Gen Z employees is an opportunity to hit refresh on company culture
If your work environment is toxic, Gen Z employees don’t think that adding a ping-pong table to the office is going to entice employees to stay and do their best work. Frankly, the business itself should have known this a long time ago.
Generation Z can’t be sold on a giant paycheck alone.
The more secure, collaborative and ripe with opportunities the workplace is, the more likely Gen Z employees will want to come work for the company and stay there. They will feel that much more appreciated.
Businesses that don’t offer any of these benefits are at a disadvantage unless serious changes are made.
Don’t fret if you feel like this describes your current company culture. See it as a chance to overhaul for the better and make progress that will be good for your employees and the business.
Adding Gen Z to your workforce
Most Gen Z’ers are still teenagers, but will soon be ready (or already are ready) for part-time jobs, internships and entry-level positions. Bringing them onboard will diversify your workforce and bring in talent that has only known a digital world, making your online presence even better.