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Gen Z

How to hire, inspire & develop Gen Z

The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated has announced the final segment of a global study examining the attitudes of Generation Z1– teenagers and early 20-somethings – in the workplace. It reveals how employers worldwide can most effectively attract, develop, motivate and retain talent within the next next-generation workforce. 

“Completing a three-part series from The Workforce Institute at Kronos and Future Workplace, ‘How to Be an Employer of Choice for Gen Z’ uncovers the motivations and aspirations of today’s youngest working generation, including those yet to officially enter the workforce. A survey of 3,400 Gen Zers across the U.K.; Australia; Belgium; Canada; China; France; Germany; India; Mexico; the Netherlands; New Zealand and the U.S. finds that money still talks; good managers matter more than ever; work needs to be interesting and, while schedule stability is important, flexibility is non-negotiable,” said the Workforce Institute.

According to the report, more than half of Gen Zers worldwide (54%), including 62% in the U.K. and 59% in the U.S., say that pay is the most important consideration when applying for their first full-time job. Money becomes increasingly important the older the Gen Zer, with 57% of 22- to 25-year-olds agreeing that nothing outweighs pay, compared to 49% of the 21-and-under crowd. 

Flexible-yet-stable schedules are key. One in five Gen Zers say they want a consistent and predictable schedule (21%) yet also expect employers to offer flexibility (23%). Employee perks, such as free snacks, happy hours and gym reimbursements are enticing, but traditional benefits (e.g. healthcare coverage, retirement plan, life insurance) are preferred by a 2-1 ratio by Gen Z, regardless of age or stage of life.

A delayed response from a recruiter is a major turn-off for 44% of respondents, especially in Mexico (55%) and India (52%). The same goes for negative employee reviews online (41%), application portals that are not mobile-friendly (29%) and workplaces that have a “dated” feel (24%).

“One in four Gen Zers say that having a negative customer experience with an organisation would deter them from even applying to work there. One in five say that training and development is the top employee benefit. To get their best work, Gen Zers say that they need direct and constructive performance feedback (50%), hands-on training (44%), managers who listen and value their opinions (44%) and freedom to work independently (39%),” explained the Workforce Institute.

Gen Z

“With advancement on the mind, Gen Z is looking for leaders to help them chart a path to promotion. One in four expect managers to clearly define goals and expectations (26%) and say that regular check-ins during their first month makes for an ideal onboarding experience (25%). Nearly one in three Gen Zers worldwide (32%) would stay longer at a company if they have a supportive manager, while respondents in Australia/New Zealand (51%), Canada (49%) and the U.K. (45%) would ‘never’ tolerate an unsupportive manager.”

Money talks, but doing enjoyable work is just as important, according to the report. When asked what would make them work harder and stay longer at a company, Gen Zers say ‘doing work that they enjoy or care about is as important as a paycheque’, which are the top two motivations cited by about half of respondents worldwide (both 51%). 

Forming connections at work inspires Gen Z. Strong relationships with their teams will motivate nearly two in five Gen Zers (36%), especially part-time employees (40%).  A stressful work environment will do the opposite. Nearly half (48%) say that stress at work would directly impact performance, and one in three (33%) would “never” tolerate a dysfunctional team.

“One in three Gen Zers say they perform best when working on projects they care about (37%) and when they are rewarded for a job well done (32%) – but make it a cash bonus, says 43% of Gen Zers. Financial insecurity – i.e. the fear of being broke – motives Gen Z to enter the workforce, most prominently in the U.K. (63%), U.S. (57%), Australia/New Zealand (56%), France (55%) and Canada (52%),” added the Workforce Institute.

“If you want to be an employer of choice for Gen Z, compensate them fairly, ensure that they genuinely care about the job you're hiring them for and provide them with the necessary training and flexibility so they can succeed without sacrificing their personal lives. Managers that are supportive of Gen Zers’ needs, mentor them and allow them to bring their full selves into the workplace will hold onto their workers longer and inspire them to do their best work,” concluded Dan Schawbel, best-selling author and research director, Future Workplace.

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