Just when you think you finally have a good grasp of Generation Y, along comes a newer batch of prospective employees. Outnumbering Millennials by about a million, the 60 million members of Generation Z – young people born between roughly 1996 and 2011 – make up a quarter of the U.S. population. And while the oldest members of this group are just getting their feet wet in college and the workforce, employers need to start thinking about their impending tidal wave.
Here are a few things you should know about Generation Z in order to prepare your small business to attract and retain talent from this age group:
Tech is expected
Gen Z doesn’t remember life before smart phones and the Internet. For them, technology is a given rather than a brave new frontier. Luckily, your small business needn’t have the absolute newest gadgets to be impressive. Compared to their Millennial counterparts, Gen Z doesn’t get as excited by the latest and greatest because they know an even better version will soon take its place. However, your company must have a strong social media presence to even be on their radar. Likewise, seriously examine your small business’s mobile recruiting efforts. Candidates from Gen Z expect a convenient, positive experience when they attempt to gain information and apply for a position via electronic devices.
A long company history doesn’t mean as much
The idea of entrepreneurship excites these young people, and they’ve witnessed start-ups turn into household names virtually overnight. And the demise of many established companies and brands during the Great Recession has made them skeptical about immediately equating a big name with job security. The good news for small business owners: The recruiting field will likely become more level, and Gen Z job hunters will be willing to entertain offers from companies of any size.
Money still matters
Seeing their parents struggle through the economic downturn made an impression on Gen Z. Expect applicants to be highly conscious of salary. Between social networks and websites providing easy access to compensation information, you’ll be dealing with candidates who know what their services are worth, so be prepared.
They do their homework
On that same note, realize that all of these online resources at their disposal can be a big plus for establishing your small business’s employment brand. Website perusal and Google searches are second nature, so give viewers great things to discover about your workplace culture, values, and social involvement. Keep messages consistent and truthful – this generation spots discrepancies quickly and will hold them against you. Especially pay attention to what employees (past and present) and outside parties are saying about your small business. Gen Z puts a great deal of stock in non-corporate messages and reviews.
Give them chances to grow
Though many in Gen Z are still quite young, they are already being touted as a creative, intelligent bunch. Many may not pursue higher education to the extent of their predecessors for fear of too much student debt without substantial return on their investment, but they still thirst for knowledge. When recruiting, spark their interest by discussing training opportunities. They’ll see your dedication to employee development, and you’ll be rewarded with workers eager to grow your small business.
Want more advice and resources for building your small business? Learn about the essential elements of a standout recruitment strategy. You can also sign up to get the Small Business Recruitment-in-a-Box toolkit, compliments of CareerBuilder.