Getting Ready for the iGen
Generation Z, or the iGen generation, is moving into the workforce. There are already 67 million of them with 17 million in the workforce, and as more of them get jobs, the more changes can be expected.
While it is understood that one cannot assign certain traits to every member of the generation, generally speaking, there are characteristics that are used to “define” the generation. Some include:
- Desire recognition individually
- Strong work ethic
To add to this description, think about events that helped shape the generation before them: Millennials (Generation Y).
Millennials were defined by one moment more than any other: the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. Most remember this event without fail and, in some ways, have a connection to it. iGen, or Generation Z, sees it as a historical event having not been old enough to remember it.
Technology also offers some impact to the definition. iGen have never known a world without mobile electronic devices. This includes smartphones, smartwatches, and tablet computers. These devices are a part of everyday life for these individuals allowing them to connect with other people, and the world, in a way no other generation could at their stage of development. As pointed out in a whitepaper from The Center for Generational Kinetics, members of the iGen group are even less comfortable and confident when communicating in person than the generation before.
With that knowledge, a simple question with a complicated answer comes to bear: what changes must be made as iGen makes its way into the workforce now and over the next 15 years?
Lack of Social Skills
As previously mentioned, iGen, generally speaking, is not very social… at least not in person. They may need help gaining certain skills such as communication, problem solving, public speaking, and engagement skills. For the HR professional, there needs to be a serious look taken at the development strategy; the training and education strategy. How can it be adapted to iGen? This particular generation has grown up watching YouTube and Vimeo. These services offer short, sweet videos. Learning for this generation is much the same way: short and sweet. Think about incorporating videos and/or microlearning into your strategy.
iGen is similar to their millennial elders in that they are looking for attractive benefits. For instance, a flexible work schedule is a plus. If this is a possibility, HR professionals should consider looking for ways to develop these schedules and the logistics needed to carry those out.
These workers are also looking for competitive retirement plans. iGen is very keen on saving money. 12% are already saving. 35% plan to start saving in their 20s. Those numbers are, again, from Generational Kinetics.
Aside from benefits, how else can companies attract iGen workers? These workers are influence by family and friends’ input. They are also influenced by online sources such as reviews and bloggers. They consider online sources, like YouTube, as credible… even more so than other advertising sources. How can organizations leverage this confluence of inspiration to win the war for talent that wages so fiercely right now: video job applications, video interviews, referrals to friends and family just to name a few.
The reality is simple: iGen is gaining in workforce representation and will continue to do so over the next 15 years. These workers are more financially conservative and are tech savvy natives. Every part of the HR strategy must be revisited. Changes do not have to be made, but need to at least be considered.