In the age of uncertainty employers have a role to play in guiding and reassuring Gen Z explains Jodie Grove from Meet & Engage.
As we emerge from a few years that, if we’re viewing the glass as half full, could be described as ‘transformative’. We’re starting to realise the impact of two years of isolation, disruption and worry – especially when it comes to the concerns and priorities of Generation Z entering work.
Rewind to 2019 and we’ll see a work culture that feels dated; long commutes, longer hours, little consideration of work/life balance. Opportunities may now be abundant in some areas, but we’re all painfully aware of how unexpected events can turn the world as we know it on its head.
We received a sharp shock to the system which made us realise what’s important in life, and while we still feel cautiousness in proclaiming the pandemic over, I don’t think many people are rushing to reinstate the notion of ‘rise and grind’ to its former position of glory.
The age of uncertainty
As one unprecedented situation comes to an end, we’re faced with further uncertainty thanks to the cost of living crisis – exacerbated by the war in Ukraine – and the ever-present fear of climate change and creeping global inequality.
Those entering the workforce aren’t doing so against a backdrop of prosperity and positivity, and choices are being made based on many ominous scenarios and very real pressures pertaining to personal and societal responsibilities.
The Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey shines a light on just how much younger generations are ‘striving for balance and advocating for change.’ The research identified that Gen Z and Millennials are:
- Deeply worried about the state of the world
- Struggling with financial anxiety
- Trying to invest in environmentally sustainable choices
- Feeling burned out, but many are taking on second jobs
- Pushing for more meaningful – and more flexible – work
- Are not always comfortable talking about workplace mental health or taking advantage of available resources, despite having inspired organisations to address the issue
Inform and empower
We all lost a huge amount of personal autonomy during lockdown and now we’re asking young people who missed out on so many social and developmental milestones, to make big decisions about their futures. It’s little wonder this generation are struggling.
For employers looking to recruit Gen Z, there is an incredible opportunity to play a part in helping them build confidence in both themselves, and their prospects.
At Meet & Engage we specialise in candidate engagement solutions via the use of our technology, but to us it goes much deeper. We appreciate how we’re uniquely positioned to help our clients have a positive impact on a large group of individuals by making advice, support and guidance more accessible. And we need a well-informed and empowered generation of young people more than ever. My top tips for how to guide and reassure Gen Z in the age of uncertainty:
Don’t rush back to just face-to-face events
We are all desperate for person-to-person interaction, but in the rush to get back to pre-pandemic style events, don’t forget that many people still don’t have the means, desire, or ability to travel.
One of the great things about a virtual or hybrid strategy is that it removes barriers to your business and in turn reaches a far wider audience. If you want to show that your culture is flexible and supportive, you’ll need to demonstrate this from the get-go.
Use hiring events to give back
Gen Z is playing catch up after two years of limitation and they are looking to businesses to help them up skill more than ever. Bright Network’s 2022/23 research shows that a lack of network is now considered the biggest barrier to securing a graduate role, closely followed by lack of relevant experience.
You decide what skills and experience you want to see from your applicants, so one of the most worthwhile things you can share is what these are. Nothing demonstrates your commitment and culture better than your people giving an hour of their time to virtually inform and encourage students. All will feel the benefits.
Focus on culture
Young people entering the world of work care deeply about the bigger picture and want to know how working for you will impact their wellbeing, and how your business impacts the world.
Mental health, the environment, and your culture with regards to DEI are key factors when making decisions. You must avoid appearing tokenistic or overly ‘corporate’ when having these conversations, so the best way to get these messages across is via your people.
Live streams with a Q&A – and even pre-recorded videos – both have impact if your employees have the confidence to speak openly and authentically. Consider how you can find ways to continue to reinforce your values and culture as candidates move through the recruitment journey.
Provide access to ongoing support and maintain engagement
With so many distractions consuming mental bandwidth, maintaining engagement with candidates and cutting through the noise is more of a challenge and more important than ever.
According to Bright Network, 27% of their research group said they would renege on an offer for a more exciting opportunity (bigger salary was 2nd with 18%).
Someone can’t be classed as hired until they physically start with you, so tailored communication, support, and engagement must be maintained all the way to day one and beyond.
Knowing that younger Millennials and Gen Zers don’t pay much heed to their emails – they consume content in bite sized chunks and favour video over all else – we developed ‘Recruitment Process Nurture’ and ‘Timeline for Onboarding’. These are automated solutions that enable our clients to meet this challenge head on. Get your employees involved in creating content on our social feeling ‘hub’ and help candidates to build their knowledge, skills and confidence in a way that feels natural.
Meet & Engage shared their insights at this year’s ISE Student Recruitment Conference. Read more from ISE event speakers.