Welcoming Generation Z into the Workforce

September 9th, 2016

On the heels of the baby boomers, Gen X, and Generation Y — also known as Millennials — a new generational cohort is about to step into the professional workplace. Get ready for Generation Z! These are the entry-level employees of the not-too-distant future, and since they fall between the ages of 16 and 22, they’re working their way through high school and college right now. Their sights are set, and the first wave of them will likely be submitting applications for internships and lower level positions within the next year or two. Are you ready to welcome them onto the team? Here are a few moves that can help you and your young employees get to know each other.

These are the real digital natives.

Members of Generation Z were born after the year 2000, so if you thought millennials were comfortable with technology, you haven’t seen anything yet. Generation Z, by contrast, will be uncomfortable without it. They played with smartphones and tablets in their cribs, and they can’t imagine a world before the internet. Leverage this to your advantage, and allow them to connect and communicate using their preferred resources.

Generation Z will be anxious.

These young people grew up in the early 2000’s, an era of economic uncertainty, stagnating wages, college debt, and an unreliable job market. They’re been pressured to “succeed” at all costs or face a life of dismal prospects, so their worldview may be slightly anxious and negative. If you encourage optimism and make them feel secure and appreciated, they’ll be more willing to take risks, grow, thrive, and contribute.

Let them make mistakes.

All young people and entry level employees should be encouraged to learn and bounce back from their mistakes, but for Generation Z, encouragement and coaching will have an extra impact. If you crack down on them for small mistakes, prepare to lose them quickly. But if you help and guide them with an eye on the long term future, you’ll benefit and so will they.

Help them make decisions.

Generation Z will face an unprecedented variety of options as they map out their careers, so if you can help them assess their strengths, choose a path, or pursue a certain branch of the industry, they’ll appreciate your input. If they stay with your company for several years, your investment and interest will pay off.

Be patient, generous, and optimistic.

If you treat members of Generation Z as the valuable future assets that they are, they’ll be far more likely to treat you and your company with the respect you deserve. Help them make the transition into the adult working world and they’ll apply the full force of their youth, energy, and enthusiasm to your enterprise.

For more on how to cultivate and retain the youngest members of the workforce, contact the Cleveland County staffing experts at PSU.

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