In the last of our Gen Z blog series, Sinéad D’Arcy, Manager of the Jameson International Graduate Programme, offers her insights into the next generation of talent – how they will disrupt the workforce, how best to manage them and how she is preparing to work with them.
How can smaller brands attract Gen Z to their roles?
Gen Z are known by many names – Centennials , iGeneration, screenagers. The key to attracting them is to be social, be mobile and be agile. Gen Z, just as with Gen Y before them, have many screens and platforms readily available to them. They are hyperconnected and seamlessly move from device to device. Unsurprisingly, their most used device is their smartphone. In fact, research suggests that on average Gen Z use their smartphones 15.4 hours per week. This points to two key areas employers should focus on.
Firstly, Gen Z want information at their fingertips so employers have to think mobile first. Brands have to be more tech savvy. Everything needs to be mobile friendly. This includes website, application forms and any ad campaigns.
Secondly, research points to Gen Z having an attention span of approximately 8 seconds. Therefore, as a recruiter or as a brand, developing short, snappy content is key. The popularity of this type of content is evident through the growing following of social media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram.
What do you think is the biggest priority for Centennials choosing a career path?
Although Centennials sometimes blur the line between work and play recent research suggests that work-life balance and job security are highly important to this generation too. Employers must understand and recognise these goals if they are to understand what motivates this generation and successfully attract and retain them.
Centennials are socially conscious. They want to make a difference in the world and connect with companies who are committed to this.
To attract Gen Z employers need to adapt a Centennial mindset and to retain Gen Z employers will have to show they understand the professional and personal needs of this generation and that they are willing to support the development of both.
As an independent cohort, will they be difficult to manage?
Gen Z have a lot to offer the workplace. 75% of teenagers want to convert hobbies into full time jobs so they have a real entrepreneurial mindset and as a result are bursting with ideas and eager to get stuck in. They are very much self-starters and the challenge to management is how to tap into that mindset and that energy!
They really challenge our management style as they seek constant feedback – needing a more mentoring or coaching style of management. To keep them on track it’s important to set clear milestones and to demonstrate how their contribution feeds into the organisation’s overall success.
As employers we really need to embrace the Centennial mindset to ensure we are building towards a workplace of the future. This means having the right workspaces to allow for collaborative working, having flexible working policies in place and having the right technology to ensure this tech savvy generation can work in a fluid and optimised way.
How do you see Gen Z changing the way we work?
When it comes to Gen Z the reality is that we still have a lot of work to do to deepen our understanding of this generation and the impact they will have on the workplace. However, available research suggests they will have a higher impact on our workplace than their predecessors, Millennials.
As Gen Z blur the line between work and play they expect a lot from their career in terms of both personal and professional development. As a result they will expect a lot from their employer.
Their biggest priority in choosing a company sits around the company culture and how it aligns with their own values. They will look to companies with a less hierarchical structure, one that encourages collaboration and facilitates strong work-life synergy. They will be a real asset to organisations that understand and embrace this way of working.
What changes have you made to attract and engage with Gen Z talent?
At Irish Distillers we are actively preparing to welcome Gen Z into the company and onto our graduate programme. We are very aware that they are now the students in college that our grad programme attraction campaign is targeted towards. Similarly to most employers, digital has been key to our attraction campaign for a number of years now and we know that when it comes to digital content is king! With over 200 million pieces of content being created and shared online per minute it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for employers, and brands, to stand out. Centennials want a real insight into our company culture, their role and the experiences they would have on our graduate programme. So, over the past 4 years we have taken a more multi-channel approach to our attraction campaign. It now includes a dedicated graduate recruitment website with a live chat facility and social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and this year the introduction of Snapchat. Online application for our graduate programme is now fully mobile optimised so that candidates can complete their application anytime, anywhere.
We have 75 graduates on our international programme who are spread across 42 countries. Each graduate has a unique story to tell so we invite them to be our content creators, telling their story, their way.
We invite our graduates to take over our social channels to talk about their role and their experiences in their international market. Taking into consideration the research on Gen Z our strategy has evolved to centre around short, snappy but insightful video content. We give our graduates GoPros and the freedom to share their story through web documentaries and short ‘Day in the Life’ videos.