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Guiding Gen Z: Navigating Career Expectations

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As the years go by, your workforce probably looks - and behaves - a little different. According to the World Economic Forum, by 2025, a staggering 27 percent of the workforce will be Generation Z (those born between 1997 and 2012).

This is a significant change. This new generation of talent has completely different expectations of their work and places high demands on their employers. Many companies are simply not prepared to meet them.

Fast Company reports that Generation Z is the least satisfied generation in the workplace. It is clear that if their high standards are not met, they are more than willing to leave the company and strike out on their own.

Therefore, leaders must quickly learn how to listen and adapt. Knowing what needs to be changed and improved can make the difference between attracting and retaining these skilled workers or losing them to the competition.

To build a thriving Gen Z workforce, modern companies need new approaches to people-focused business management.

Who is the Generation Z professional?

First of all, it is important to understand the key characteristics of a Gen Z professional.

Even if we don't get very far with generalizations, we can still identify some similarities in the way they approach their work:

  • They are career-oriented and ambitious, and many of them aspire to work for top companies or become successful entrepreneurs.
  • They expect frequent and valuable feedback on their work from their superiors in order to develop and advance.
  • They are eager to advance into high-paying leadership positions and sometimes expect rapid advancement.
  • They expect companies to be open to new ideas and to be able to further develop old processes.
  • They do not tolerate "toxic cultures, discrimination, discrepancies between management's words and actions, or work that cannot be adapted to their personal lives."
  • They expect their employer to prioritize a healthy work-life balance and create a company culture where mental health is considered standard.
  • They are less likely to present a "professional" appearance at work, which may mean bringing up personal problems and sharing them with managers, colleagues, and human resources professionals.

All of these characteristics present unique challenges for hiring managers as they look for ways to integrate and nurture their Generation Z.

How can you best accommodate Generation Z talent?

To make Generation Z feel at home in your company, it's worth rethinking your approach to wellness, knowledge, communication and flexibility.

Rely on health and wellness services

Recently, competition in recruiting has led many companies to rely on premium perks and benefits packages to attract the best talent.

Today's young professionals are willing to change jobs for better performance. Effective healthcare packages and a positive approach to workplace well-being are now truly crucial factors.

Lifestyle or health benefits such as gym memberships and free access to meditation apps are becoming increasingly sought after by the younger generation. It makes them feel like you care about them. As Rose Anna Garza writes in SHRM, "If you don't invest in your employees, they will feel like you don't value them."

Hold their attention

Interest and job satisfaction are key for Generation Z employees. Keep their attention with:

  • A compelling employee value proposition (EVP). This will help you recruit and retain the best younger employees and formulate your unique offer.
  • A progressive company culture committed to fair pay and diversity. Many professionals today expect this at work rather than seeing it as a special bonus.
  • Flexibility in your tasks. Gen Z professionals want companies to place more emphasis on the quality of work rather than hours, and for them to understand the impact that issues outside of work can have on them. They are also particularly interested in mixed work: most want a healthy balance between on-site and remote work that they can determine themselves.
  • A strong HR strategy for professional mobility. If Generation Z doesn't see an opportunity to climb the corporate ladder, they are likely to leave the company. Despite their relative inexperience, many of them already hold management positions and expect to advance more quickly than is realistic in your company. It is therefore important to provide regular on-the-job training to help employees up-skill and progress in their professional development.

Invest in mentorship and knowledge sharing

The strongest teams consist of a combination of skills and training. The last few years have shown that specialists need to be resilient and flexible in order to help companies overcome their challenges.

As a result, a skills-based workforce is becoming the new norm. Investing in mentor-ships, knowledge sharing, upskilling, reskilling and reskilling can increase engagement and prepare your teams for any eventuality.

Also, don’t assume that your younger team members are familiar with the technology. Ask them what they are familiar with and introduce new software as they progress.

Anchor communication and feedback in your corporate culture

Communication is crucial for a healthy workforce. However, many members of Generation Z are hyper-focused on career advancement and improving their skills. That's why it's important to talk to them regularly and give them feedback on their development.

A feedback system is also the best way to find out which benefits resonate most with your employees. This way you can design your future offer and become an even more attractive place to work.

The new generation of talent

Generation Z professionals are certainly unique and have higher standards and expectations than many of the older members of your company.

However, as they make up an increasingly important part of the workforce, it is not only advisable but necessary to attract young talent. By maintaining interest, paying attention to your employees' well-being, and providing them with regular feedback and training opportunities, you can build the skills and experience that will benefit your company - and your industry - in the years to come.

As the face of your workforce evolves, now is the time to understand and meet the needs and expectations of Generation Z.

In conclusion, accommodating Generation Z in the workplace is essential for long-term success. Leveraging tools like IceHrm can streamline HR processes, while prioritizing wellness, flexibility, and communication aligns with the expectations of this ambitious talent pool.

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