Sometimes misunderstood by companies and almost feared, generation Z is nevertheless arriving at the labor market in great strides. Although they represent 20% of the working population today, it is estimated that by 2025, more than half of the working population will be part of it.
Born between 1995 and 2010, the young people of generation Z are now aged between 11 and 26 years old and thus succeed generation Y, born between 1985 and 1994. One of the main characteristics of “Gen Z” is that they grew up at a time when the Internet was already an important part of their lives, hence their qualification as “digital natives”.
But their uniqueness doesn’t stop there. Having grown up in the early 2000s, Gen Zers were built in an unstable and relatively worrying context that saw a financial and economic crisis, the rise of the terrorist threat, global warming, and, finally, a global pandemic. This succession of events has shaped the generation entering the workforce today, directly influencing their expectations.
Both ultra-connected and in constant search of consistency, Generation Z has its own vision of the world of work. Not taking this into account when developing your employer brand strategy would be like running headlong into a staggering turnover rate in the years to come.
1. Re-evaluate the management approach
1/4 of Gen Z wants to be treated as equals by their superiors. Eager for freedom and unsympathetic to authority, they associate managerial legitimacy with the ability to give advice. She is, therefore, not in phase with traditional management techniques and thrives more on “transversal” management. More open and participative, it consists in coordinating several employees from different departments to carry out a common project. In addition to meeting the new generation’s expectations, this management approach makes internal exchanges more fluid and improves productivity. A winning strategy for the company.
2. Focus on quality of life at work
Generation Z, who saw their parents confronted with a certain rigidity in their professional environment, is now sensitive to the quality of life at work (QWL). 92% of Zs believe that it is the company’s role to ensure the well-being of its employees. While office design and equipment were seen for some years as the ultimate arguments for attracting young employees, the importance of these criteria should be tempered today.
In fact, Gen Z is even more interested in flexible working hours and the possibility of teleworking. More than 2/3 of 18-35-year-olds who telecommute want to take “workations” in the next few months. This means the possibility to work remotely while traveling. However, the importance of physical workspaces should not be underestimated, as 79% of Z2s are attached to the fact that they can go to their workplace, especially to meet their team.
3. Implementing a true CSR approach
Due to their actions’ coherence, Generation Z does not perceive work as an activity requiring compromising their beliefs and commitments. Companies wishing to recruit young employees must therefore put in place a genuine CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) approach by, for example, carrying out actions in favor of environmental preservation.
The Zs see demonstrating a real commitment to associations through a company foundation or the possibility of carrying out volunteer missions as a sine qua non condition for joining a company. Thus, according to 46% of them, respecting the principles of sustainable development is one of the transformations to be initiated as a priority in companies.
4. Digitize everything that can be digitized
84% of Gen Zers consider that the technologies used within a company are an important criterion in the choice of a job. Indeed, they have not known the world without the Internet and, for the most part, have been marked since their student years by a health context in which they did everything remotely (courses, exams, internships…). The Zs, therefore, have a very different relationship with digital tools than their elders.
In constant search for coherence, they refuse to see a break between the practices they adopt in their personal life and at work. It is, therefore, unthinkable for this generation not to be able to apply for a job from a smartphone or not to be offered the possibility of conducting an interview by video. Beyond the recruitment process, it is imperative to offer the youngest employees a consistent digital experience throughout their time with the company: signing the employment contract remotely, using collaborative tools, receiving pay slips in electronic format, etc.
5. Focus on developing employees’ skills
40% of the key skills held by employees today will have to evolve in the next 5 years, and the younger generations are well aware of this. While most Gen Zers have experienced the economic crisis of the 2010s, they have all experienced the Covid-19 health crisis firsthand. New constraints, new challenges: working people had no choice but to reinvent themselves.
In order not to find themselves at a dead end during future changes in the professional world, Zs perceive the need for continuous training throughout their careers. Thus, putting forward a plan to develop employees’ skills to guarantee their future employability is an additional asset for recruiting young employees. Eager for flexibility, trust, societal commitment, and digital tools, but also concerned about their employability, Gen Z seems to be drawing a new deal for companies.
However, it is important to keep in mind that the aspirations of this generation are not the cause of these evolutions but a consequence of the context in which they grew up. To better recruit and retain them, it is therefore essential to better understand their motivations. In doing so, it will then be possible to offer them an employee experience that is aligned with their expectations throughout their time with the company.