Millennials, millennials, millennials. It’s all we ever seem to hear about these days. While many companies are focusing their recruitment efforts on this much-discussed generation, it’s time to start setting your sights on the next large and up-and-coming new recruits: Gen Z.
While millennials are still undeniably important, Gen Z will soon hit the workforce. Who are they? Born in the mid-1990s, many are early-stage young adults looking to dive into their dream career by gaining meaningful, relevant work experience while in school.
Roughly 25 percent of the U.S. population, it’s a demographic worth getting to know now as they continue to mature and begin setting their sights on what companies they want to work for in the future. Like millennials, businesses need to begin early in building trust and loyalty with these tech-smart Gen Z’ers, and here’s what you need to know to do it!
Help them and they will help you
Gen Z understands the importance of gaining valuable work experience early. After witnessing millennials struggle to find the right jobs after college, Gen Z wants to avoid those same struggles with more secure positions. To prepare, they are already looking for real-world work experiences by volunteering, starting their own online shops and partnering with companies as interns or ambassadors. Working at the local grocery store just isn’t enough for Gen Z. Inviting them to be part of your company or brand now and helping them build their professional experiences is the key to engaging Gen Z. For your interns, make professional development a priority within your company. By investing time and energy in Gen Z, you’ll secure their loyalty at a formative time in their career.
Gen Z, like millennials, care a lot about authenticity from the brands they consume and the companies they want to work for. For one, they aren’t easily influenced by non-authentic spokespersons. According to a survey by Toluna Quicksurveys.com, almost half of Gen Z’ers say they could care less about celebrity endorsers. And after all, they have a lot of practice honing their own “authentic” voice on social media. Check out a Gen Z’ers Instagram page; you are sure to see not one but many selfies.
Mirror their willingness to put themselves out there by showcasing the personality of your company and the real people behind it in your recruitment materials. Gen Z doesn’t want to join a faceless company. Reveal behind-the-scenes features of employees that are “just like them” or one-on-one interviews and profiles of the company’s executives that share those funny, untold stories about how they got to where they are today. These efforts will go a long way in making a special connection with a generation that wants it.
Make an impact
Whether you’re recruiting a millennial or a Gen Z’er, one thing remains the same: they want to know that you’re a company that cares and how you are showing it. It is not enough to just say that your company cares about the causes this generation believes in; close to one-third of all Gen Z’ers prefer to buy products that donate a portion of their proceeds to a charity. Put a social good commitment at the center of a key business initiative. Provide updates, videos and emotional stories that convey the power of your brand’s philanthropy. Look to the companies such as S’well and Lokai. They appeal to both millennials and Gen Z because they have a good cause, show how they are making an impact and the products are not too shabby either.
But don’t forget millennials either!
To target Gen Z does not mean you have to forget millennials. There is a lot of overlap in what you can do when recruiting these two generations. Both generations are technologically savvy and fairly smart when it comes to business, and they want to make an impact. Both Gen Z and millennials want to work for a company that they believe in. Of course it’s always easier said than done. But if you are trying to recruit members from these two generations, showing your passion is the key. If they see the passion you have for your brand, they will follow.
Gen Z may be a young generation, but they are informed, ambitious and ready to be recruited. You just have to be vocal, visual and authentic in how you do it!
Christie Garton, founder and CEO of 1,000 Dreams Fund, is an award-winning social entrepreneur who has long supported the professional dreams of young women as founder of UChic.com, the first-ever online magazine for college-bound and college-aged women. The site became the best-selling college guidebook for girls: “UChic: College Girls’ Real Advice for Your First Year (& Beyond!).” A youth marketing expert, she also wrote “Marketing to Millennials: Reach the Largest and Most Influential Generation of Consumers Ever.”