Rise of Gen Z: Redefining HR




Rise of Gen Z_Young man in white shirt with red tie rolling up sleeves

By 2020, it’s estimated the workforce will be 50% Generation Z.  That means HR has to change its ways in order to accommodate these workers.  It has to happen sooner rather than later. 

In the first article in the Rise of Gen Z series, I introduced Generation Z characteristics and explained what HR should know as the youngest group of workers take their rightful places across the workforce.  To summarize, members of Generation Z are:

  • the first true digital natives
  • focused on diversity and social issues
  • pragmatic, especially when it comes to money
  • entrepreneurial in spirit
  • looking for more face-to-face communication

So based on the information above, what does HR need to change to accommodate this generation of workers?

Rise of Gen Z

Reflecting on purpose is important for Generation Z.  Companies can no longer pay lip service to society. With Generation Z being a group of digital natives, most can see right through this attempt.

WATCH:  Transforming Millennials

First, companies should start by looking at the way they market themselves and must make sure they are living up to their stated corporate social responsibility, or CSR.  Companies failing to do this will suffer.  Generation Z morals are unshakable.

Companies can no longer just “tick the boxes”.  This is where actions speak louder than words to Generation Z.  We’ve entered an era of visibility that companies are still trying to adjust to.  As a result, the visibility of an employer’s brand is increasingly more important in the HR strategy.

Is your company transparent and flexible?

Generation Z does not submit to traditional work models held by employers.  As a result, HR is going to have to take a serious look at the information they make public.  An extreme example would be publically disclosing the salaries paid to workers.  At least one social media company, Buffer, does this.

In a survey from PayScale regarding job satisfaction and pay, the organization found the more information employees have about why they make what they make translates to higher retention rates.

Transparency is only one side of the coin.  What about flexibility?

In terms of flexibility, Gen Z trends toward more flexible work models.  One company, Autodesk, allows employees to take a 6-week sabbatical.  They also enjoy flexible work hours.  Other companies offer remote working capabilities.  It gives employees a sense of control, especially around the work-life balance.

Employee engagement strategies:  Is your company equipped?

Generally, members of Generation Z can get restless.  If their self-improvement needs are not being met, Gen Zers might hit the door looking for a new employer rather than sticking around to see if the current employer will live up to their needs.

That’s why a company’s employee engagement activities are more important than ever before.

Finding out what their goals are will help keep them on board.

  • Offering new training opportunities feeds their self-improvement needs and generates more opportunities within the company
  • Creating more opportunities to innovate shows trust and value in the employee
  • Offering challenging work and some leadership opportunities keeps Generation Z workers engaged
  • As stated in our previous article, face-to-face communication helps in making the worker feel respected.

Communication in focus

Face-to-face communication is not enough for Gen Zers.  Most importantly, they want to contribute and be heard.  HR should reach out and ask for their opinions in meetings or through an online portal of some sort.  This must also extend to the management level and beyond.  It creates further employee engagement, but also loyalty on the part of the Gen Z worker.

Looking forward

There is one other area that demands attention from HR when it comes to members of Generation Z.  In fact, it is the most significant challenge of all when it comes to this particular group of workers.  That would be the attraction and retention of Generation Z.  HR is constantly working towards demonstrating why employees have made the right choice in deciding to work for their respective companies.  This will be the topic of the final article in this series.

NEXT:  Getting Ready for the iGen

Image courtesy:  Stock Photo Secrets

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