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Preparing for Generation Z in the workforce: Six key strategies

Is your workplace prepared to welcome Generation Z? With Millennials firmly squared in the workplace, now is an ideal time to get ready for the newest generation of your team.

Born in 1997 and beyond, this population has already started to enter the workforce. Larger than the Millennial generation, Generation Z is the first group of workers who grew up with the Internet since infancy, and dynamic digital and social communication from an early age has shaped their identities.

As more and more members of this generation enter their respective industries, you have the opportunity to empower both their success and your company’s. By developing an understanding of this population and harnessing the unique strengths and diverse perspectives they bring, you’ll be prepared to set expectations and parameters that everyone can get behind. When your organization is ready for Generation Z, you’ll skip the learning curve and jump straight to the positive outcomes you’re working toward.

Generation Z: The facts, and what you can do now.

  • Set salary expectations.
    Almost 25% of Generation Z thinks they will make $60,000 or more after earning their degree, according to Yello.
  • Prepare to scout early.
    Generation Z has their sights set on a job as early as their freshman year. Only 1 in 10 waits to find their ideal position until after they graduate, Yello also reports.
  • Innovate now.
    This generation wants to work with the latest technology. Dell reveals 91% of this generation says technology will influence their employment choice.
  • Focus on career and advancement pathways.
    What makes Generation Z different from Millennials? LinkedIn found that the upcoming generation of workers is motivated much more by financial incentives and career advancement.

How to prepare for Generation Z in the workforce

1. Envision an inspiring career path.
Generation Z is confident about their future, so make it a point to showcase a vision for where they can go and how they can grow at your organization. During interviews or one-on-one meetings, discuss potential career paths and opportunities. With the future in sight, Generation Z will feel greater optimism as they pursue their career goals. Plus, showing them that you see how bright their future is builds loyalty and fosters trust.

2. Meet salary expectations.
While Millennials place high value on work/life balance, Generation Z is all about getting a good salary. If you’ve found a candidate you’d like to hire or retain, try to meet their salary expectations. A bump in their paycheck may be more important than an extra vacation day. When your budget can’t move any farther, show these workers how their salary will increase over time and you might win them over.

3. Take advantage of adaptability.
Growing up in an age of digital advancement has shown Generation Z how quickly technology can change. Since change and innovation are inevitable, Generation Z team members can be an ideal asset: keep your eye out for this upcoming workforce who may be more adaptable to new technology than other generations.

4. Provide soft skill training.
While Generation Z is prepared to take on any new technology, they may not be as primed with other professional skills. As WBUR reports, the pressure to perform well and the shift towards more standardized testing has left some of today’s young adults feeling unready for challenges not found on a multiple-choice test. Consider offering training on communication, teamwork, creativity, leadership, time management and more. With additional training, you’ll increase the confidence of these newcomers and improve your organization.

5. Give them freedom.
This generation has learned to find the answers themselves with ever-present technology. To avoid the feeling of micromanagement, give them the chance to discover steps and solutions on their own, and on their own terms. This independence will increase their job satisfaction and excitement about their work.

6. Create helpful boundaries.
The independence of Generation Z may come with consequences. These workers are ready to jump in and achieve, so they’ll likely be asking for forgiveness rather than your permission. Help them thrive by setting boundaries ahead of time so your new employees will know where to draw the line.

What steps will you take to ensure that your company is ready for Generation Z? Start thinking about these options today for a smoother transition when more of this population enters the workforce.

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