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‍From A to (Generation) Z: The Complete Guide to Early Career Candidates

August 2, 2023
Parker Pell

We’ve written about Gen Z a lot during the last year – and for good reason! Generation Z is disrupting nearly every industry: from retail, accounting, oil and gas, real estate, sports media, and more, this new generation has high expectations (to say the least). We’ve presented our findings about Generation Z in a few different ways but wanted to distill down the wants, needs, motivations, and expectations of this group in a quick-read, A to Z guide. If anything, it’s another reminder that communication, engagement, and retention strategies must shift to meet the needs of this dynamic generation. 

A - Authenticity

Generation Z values authenticity and trustworthiness in the workplace. Be transparent about your company culture, values, and opportunities to showcase what it’s really like to work at your company.  

B - Benefits

Offer competitive and innovative benefits that align with Generation Z's values. Consider flexible work hours or hybrid working environments, wellness programs, mental health support, professional development opportunities (like mentorships!), or student loan assistance to demonstrate your commitment to their performance as a person, not just as an employee. 

C - Collaboration

Generation Z thrives in collaborative environments where they can openly share ideas with others. Incorporate teamwork and provide opportunities for cross-functional collaboration to engage and empower them – and keep them plugged into your company culture. 

D - Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Generation Z expects a diverse and inclusive work environment where everyone feels valued and respected. Consider DEI&B efforts such as blind screenings, having DEI&B ERGs, including pronouns in company communications (like email signatures), and supporting minorities in earning leadership positions. 

E - Employee Development

Provide clear pathways for career development and growth; Gen Z is eager to learn and advance their skills…for the right company that invests and values them. 

F - Feedback

Regularly provide constructive feedback to young employees and give them opportunities to do the same. Gen Z perceives feedback as a collaborative tool when interacting with their peers and superiors and seeks feedback that is customized to their specific roles or aspirations. 

G - Gamification

Use gamified training programs, recognition systems, and friendly competitions to make work more enjoyable and stimulating.

H - Hybrid Work

With over half of Gen Z preferring remote or hybrid work arrangements, consider implementing more flexible options that allow them to work face-to-face and virtually. 

I - Innovation

Gen Z thrives when they’re able to bring new ideas and perspectives to the table. Provide opportunities for them to share their ideas, and feedback, and contribute to the company’s growth. Leverage ERGs, focus groups, mentorship programs, and cutting-edge technology to ensure you’re promoting the type of innovation that Gen Z wants

J - Job Rotation

Offer rotation opportunities to Gen Z interns. Expose them to various aspects and departments of the organization to keep them engaged and motivated, while helping them determine their career path. 

K - Knowledge Sharing

Encourage knowledge sharing among employees through programs such as mentorships. Generation Z appreciates transparent, collaborative learning environments and values opportunities to learn from their colleagues.

L - Leadership 

Gen Zers are ambitious and aspire to take on leadership roles early in their careers, so clear career pathing and expectations are key. They also demand a certain type of leadership; highlighting integrity, empathy, motivation, and collaboration as themes that they want out of leaders. 

M - Meaningful Work

Generation Z seeks work that aligns with their values and makes a larger, positive impact. Clearly communicate the purpose and impact of their roles within the organization to keep them motivated and engaged.

N - Networking

Gen Zers are redefining the old conceptions of networking to include virtual networking, social media, and the unabashed use of personality. Make networking opportunities easily accessible by encouraging participation in industry events, conferences, certifications, and internal sessions to help expand their professional connections. 

O - Onboarding Experience

Crafting a comprehensive onboarding program that introduces Generation Z employees to your company now goes beyond paperwork and process. Ensure you’re highlighting your company culture, values, and expectations to integrate them smoothly into your team. 

P - Personalization

This cohort of consumers highly values individuality and self-expression. With 77% of Gen Z believing it’s important to customize their experiences, the ability to personalize a candidate experience empowers Gen Z to manifest their unique personalities and preferences.

Q - Quick Career Progression

Introducing intentional career pathing provides Gen Z with a clear understanding of their trajectory and goals. When coupled with a personalized career roadmap, this approach enhances the likelihood of retaining young employees as well.

R - Remote Work Tools

Equip Generation Z employees with the necessary tools and technologies to thrive in remote or hybrid work settings. If you haven’t yet, invest in modern collaboration tools (Slack/Teams, Zoom, etc.), project management software (Notion, Asana, Trello), and other communication platforms to support their productivity.

S - Social Responsibility

Gen Z has higher standards so to attract and retain Gen Z employees, it’s crucial to assess your corporate values. Recent studies reveal that Gen Z workers gravitate towards companies that actively contribute to positive societal change, with 77% of Gen Z saying it’s “extremely important” for companies to operate in an environmentally-sustainable way. 

T - Technology, technology, technology 

With Google (literally) in their back pockets, Gen Z operates with a sense of unprecedented urgency. The overwhelming majority own a smartphone and are active on at least one social media channel, transforming the speed, scale, and scope at which they operate. For employers, embracing technology is a must, to align company ecosystems to what Gen Z wants. Enhance productivity and engagement by providing young employees with the right technology to do their job. 

U - Upward Feedback

Soliciting feedback from Gen Z requires trust and psychological safety: when it comes to giving feedback, Gen Zers display a preference for more personal modes of communication, such as face-to-face interactions, video chats, or even text messages, as opposed to impersonal emails. 

V - Values 

With 70% of Gen Z wanting to work for a company whose values align to their own, it’s important to align your values with the wants and needs of this generation. Characteristics to consider include: a digital-first mindset, ethical consumption, diversity, financial stability minded, and politically progressive. 

W - Work-Life Balance

We’ve talked about Gen Zs want for flexible work options, but what about work-life balance? Generation Z values their personal lives and seeks a healthy balance between work and personal ventures. Encourage time off, flexible scheduling, and wellness programs.

X - eXperiential Learning

Gen Z prefers hands-on experiences that allow them to apply their skills and gain practical knowledge. Incorporate experiential learning opportunities such as workshops, simulations, and real-life projects into their development plans. This approach will not only engage them but also enhance their learning and growth within the organization. 

Y - Yearly Reflection

Encourage young employees to take time to reflect on their accomplishments, challenges, and growth over the last year. Provide structured frameworks or tools for self-assessment and goal-setting. By fostering a culture of yearly reflection, you empower Generation Z to take ownership of their professional development and set meaningful goals for the future. This practice not only promotes self-awareness but also helps them track their progress and stay motivated as they continue to advance in their early careers.

Z - Zeal for Growth

Recognize and nurture Generation Z's zeal for growth and continuous learning. Offer continual learning and development opportunities that enable them to acquire new skills and stay competitive in their careers. 

Key Takeaways

Recruiting and retaining Generation Z employees requires understanding their unique values and expectations. By implementing the strategies outlined in this A to Z guide, organizations can successfully attract and engage this talented generation, driving innovation and growth within their organization. Embracing the potential of Generation Z results in a workforce that thrives on collaboration, personalization, and purpose. 

For more insights like these, consider Abode. Abode is modernizing how companies communicate expectations, facilitate connections, and build community - the three components needed to build strategies catered to the newest workforce generation. To learn more, get in touch with our team here or request a demo here

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