Gen Z - The Low Commitment Society
Bet, basic, no cap, sus, snatched, pressed, high key, yeet.
What do all these words have in common?
Well, some of them don’t even look like words at all and are seemingly unrelated, but this is the slang of the peculiar group of youngsters. The so-called gen Z.
These unique breads of individuals are the youngest generation in the workforce, most ethnically diverse, raised on social media and technology. The starting years of 1997 and ending years of 2012 define the gen Z. This strikingly large generation comprises 2.47 billion of the global population, which is nearly 32% of the people living on this earth. Now, in 2021 the oldest of this generation will have finished their secondary education and jumped into the workforce. But what does this mean for employers? How do employers meet the needs of their future employees, how to attract them, what are their motivations? Let’s take a closer look at the current problems businesses face when hiring Zoomer’s, the turnover rate, how to combat this so-called “low commitment society”.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the mysterious enigma of generation Z.
1. What does it mean to be a gen Z:
Before we get knee-deep into the nitty and gritty, why don’t we take a moment to get some definitions straight? Starting off with the cut-off ages.
Gen Z is a tough one to define, most sources claim that generation Z lies between 1997-2012, however other sources claim that the cohort lies between 1996 and 2010. Anyone born between 1981 and 1996 is considered a Millennial, and anyone born from 1997 onward is part of the Zoomers. According to the Pew Research Center, the generation cut-off line needs to be sooner. They argue that Zoomers grew up with technology from the start, whereas millennials adapted to the use of technological advances over time.
Take the iPhone for instance. It was launched in 2007 when the oldest gen Zer’s were 10. By the time they reached their teenage years, it was completely normal to be connected with the web through mobile devices, Wi-Fi, or cellular service. Being connected 24/7, posting on social media, constant on-demand entertainment, and communication are norms that are largely assumed for those born after 1996. Whereas millennials had to become accustomed to these innovations as they came of age.
So what does this mean?
Well, they are on their way to being the most well-educated generation yet. But they are also digital natives who have little or no memory of the world as it existed before smartphones. They heavily rely on technology for even the simplest of things.
Now with that being said, we can’t reduce them to their tech-savvy skillset as the defining characteristic that makes gen Z distinct, there is plenty of attributes that makes this generation.
So why don’t we dig a little deeper and tackle something a bit more complex?
2. The stigma of gen Z – Why are they a low commitment society?
Okay, let’s be honest. Millennials didn’t have the best reputation to start, now that gen Z is in the picture, one can say that the apple did not fall far from the tree. Unfortunately, gen Zer’s get a bad rap in the workforce, the negative stereotypes loom over their heads like a halo on an angel.
Stereotype #1: «Short attention span»
Well, their attention span may only last an average of 8 seconds, but it’s not that bad. They are growing up in a time when they are bombarded with information coming from every direction, so they’ve gotten pretty good at tuning out the noise. A recent study released early this year shows that 13- to 23-year-olds spend by far the most time on social media - on average more than 21 hours a week. Which yes, seems like a lot. Nonetheless, Gen Zer’s are growing up in a social media landscape that is defined by character limits. The shorter, the better. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, forces short and concise copywriting, which gives gen Zer’s the remarkable skill of being able to communicate effectively. This skill can definitely come in handy as more members of gen Z enter the workforce. This skill can be leveraged to help convey a message with brevity and impact – saving time and optimizing communication.
Stereotype #2: «They are multitaskers»
To be fair, it is kind of true. In fact, according to a Sparks & Honey report, members of gen Z multitask across five different screens daily on their smart devices. Although having a split focus can have consequences such as burnout or increased stress levels, it can come with some positives. For instance, they will be powerhouses in the office when it comes to flawlessly managing and prioritizing the day-to-day duties of the workplace. They will also be able to thrive in chaotic environments.
Stereotype #3: «Gen Zer’s tend to job-hop and ghost employers - giving them the term “low commitment society"»
Data from RippleMatch found that 41% of survey respondents saying they planned on staying in their first job for only 1-2 years, to take it one step further, Randstad US revealed that about 43% of gen Zer’s had accepted a position then bailed on the offer. So, it might seem as though generation Z are a bunch of professional blindsiding, uncommitted societal players with no backbone – but are they really as bad as the stats make them seem? Besides, this is what is said about every coming generation. Interestingly, studies show that gen X (born 1965 – 1979) job-hopped just as much as millennials early on in their careers – so are gen Z the problem? Or is this a natural process that proceeds early career development?
Even in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, the economy is stable. Gen Z and other generations have a great advantage during this time to find a job that best matches their career goals, and they don’t have to settle for a job they aren’t happy with.
This brings me to my next point. How to attract gen Zer’s and what to consider when hiring them.
3. What to consider when hiring gen Zer’s:
A generation that has been glued to screens and constant connections, there are a few things to consider when hiring gen Zer’s.
Firstly, generation Z are digital natives, thus it is natural for them to use tools, apps, and technological devices to communicate. According to the Yello Recruiting Study, when it comes to communicating with potential employers, gen Z prefers to communicate via email. Try implementing a mix of communication channels that are best suited for sharing information, booking appointments, or sending documents. Consider implementing office productivity tools (e.g., Microsoft Office, Google Suite), collaboration tools (e.g., Slack, Microsoft Teams), and business intelligence tools (e.g., Tableau) to make your office more appealing for Zoomers.
Another key piece of advice is to consider, is to keep things moving fast. Gen Z jobseekers expect to receive an offer less than a week after the first interview. So try to provide them with frequent updates throughout the process to keep candidates engaged and interested, whilst you try to find the best fit as quickly as possible.
And last but not least, keep the Zoom interviews to a minimum. Yello’s study concluded that 50% of gen Z jobseekers value face-to-face communication and want to form a trusted relationship with their recruiters. So, keep the Google Meets for screening purposes only.
This covers the hiring aspect, but what about attract them and their general motivations?
4. How to make your company irresistible for gen Zer’s:
Generation Z are unique to previous generations, as they value purpose, ethical behaviour, and growth. Although millennials began the cusp of a new era in the terms of social responsibility, gen Z took the stance for corporate commitment to social responsibility on both equity and environmental issues to a whole new level. Especially when it comes to diversity and inclusion. They want a healthy work culture, a company whose values align with their own, one that supports and encourages them. And they do not hesitate to boycott companies that do not support their values.
With that being said, there are other aspects to consider when trying to attract gen Z. Seeing as they are fluent in digital tools, generation Z workers prefer to work from home or wherever is comfortable. Companies that offer flexible work options are guaranteed plus. As is working for a company that promotes a healthy work/life balance. Benefits such as paid time off, mental-health days, or activities that create a sense of community are essential for gen Zer’s.
That means when looking to attract and retain talent, organizations must consider what they can offer to gen Zer’s that encourages a healthy lifestyle and greater well-being. Is your company thinking beyond traditional employee benefits? To take your company competitiveness to a whole new level, why not ask your employees what they want to see.
5. Is your business gen Z ready?
You may not have a Gen Zer in your team just yet, but it is very likely that members of this generation are already your clients. Gen Zer’s as customers have an increasing purchasing power and make independent consumer decisions already early on due to the information- saturated world we live in. Taking this into consideration, it is essential for businesses to know realistically if they are well prepared to serve the clients of tomorrow.
Even if you think that gen Zer’s are not your primary target customer segment, do not forget how vocal and connected the new generation is and how powerful their influence can be also on the purchasing decisions of preceding generations. It is worth carrying out an evaluation of your business strategy to determine if your business has truly adopted a culture of innovation which looks towards understanding consumers and what drives them as human beings. In order to really evaluate your gen Z readiness you should focus not only on how capable your business is of attracting and retaining gen Z clients, but you need to also as yourself- would gen Zer’s want to work in this company? It is very likely that if you are not able to attract them as employees, you will also be unable to win them over as clients.
6. Listen to your gen Zer’s.
Having gen Z workers in your team could be very beneficial for the growth of your business. What could be a better way to learn about the next generation than directly communicating and working with them. If you already have gen Z team members make sure you listen closely. Sitting quietly, not voicing an opinion or an idea out of fear and respect for the long-established hierarchy at the workplace is a thing of the past and the younger generations are ready to speak their mind. As previously mentioned, Gen Zer’s are digital natives flooded with information, often enough false information.
But gen Zer’s are actually way better at filtering the so-called “fake news” than members of preceding generations. They are more critical, analytical and are not afraid to ask questions. Transparency and trust matter greatly to the younger generation and they will not waste time on nonsense. This quality could be valuable for your business, and it only goes to show that age and life experience are not always a prerequisite for knowledge, understanding and meaningful impact. Observing and interacting with your gen Z employees, listening about their needs, concerns and wishes can give you a lot of insight about this generation, which could then help you to reach out to it more effectively. No matter if you want to attract gen Zer’s as clients or as employees, you have to know and understand them well.
🎓 Due to their almost unlimited access to information, gen Zer’s are set out to be the most well-educated generation yet.
💪 Gen Zer’s may have a short attention span, but they are concise and efficient communicators who are excellent at multitasking.
💼 The newer generations are not unprecedentedly job-hopping, they will not hesitate to change jobs for career advancement or growth opportunities.
📲 Being innovative, interactive, and digital while maintaining personal connection and transparency is key to attracting gen Zer’s as both employees and clients.
🤝 Businesses need to intuitively deliver to gen Z employees and clients what they want the way they want it, allowing them to be part of the solution and to rapidly develop a relationship of mutual respect.
You struggle to understand and respond to Generation Z? - We are here to help!
Growth strategies focused on the needs of the next generation are our strong suit. Our growth strategy expert Désirée Dosch who dedicates special attention to the next generation client segment in her work is an experienced coach who leads professional training sessions which aim to help you and your business to better prepare for the clients of tomorrow. You can book a free 30-minute appointment with Désirée directly in her calendar via this link.
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