A few weeks ago I saw a tweet from a Human Resources recruiter showing the CV of a Gen Z guy (born after 1996 to 2012) that more or less read the following:
Honestly, not much since I just graduated, but please see the following:
April 2011 to date
Game of Thrones Expert
-I saw the complete series in a single weekend.
– I was staring at the screen for so long that I was blind in one eye.
– I only got up from the couch to go to the bathroom and go for snacks.
July 2016 to date.
Stranger Things Expert
– I saw the season in two days
– Create a fan on the “RIP Barb” page which now has 25,000 followers on Facebook
– I used my ex’s password for Netflix without him noticing. “
Perhaps many of you read it as a simple joke and in a way it is (although it is a real case). But I think it is much more representative of the next generation than we would like to acknowledge.
What does a CV like this tell us?
I present to you Generation Z
The “Z” or Centennials make up the generation that was born in the mid-90s and early 2000s, the youngest after Baby Boomers , Generation X , and Millennials who enter the workforce. It certainly includes a group of people who are ultra perceptive due to their access to online culture; it is quite self-motivated; digital native and has an entrepreneurial spirit. But they also have a strong ironic and anti-corporate charge, as can be seen in the previous CV.
They have faced great uncertainties – like the 2008 crisis, the 2017 earthquake and the pandemic – and as a result, they are looking for work that is meaningful to them. On the other hand, it is a myth that “salary is not the only thing they seek”, because what they really want is for their work to be recognized monetarily in addition to having a life mission. They want a good fortnight and existential motivators AT THE SAME TIME! (which shouldn’t really surprise us).
They have seen that the loyalty of their parents and older siblings has not been rewarded by employers, so for them loyalty to a company and its cause has to be a two-way street and it will be very difficult to achieve retention of these employees unless this is understood.
Gen Z acumen is able to quickly see behind corporate brands that are fake or not handled authentically. They need companies to passionately defend their principles and defend what they preach beyond a marketing campaign or a Social Responsibility strategy whose sole mission is to deduct taxes for the company.
As we saw in the CV, they are digital natives, capable of raising a campaign that amasses 25 thousand followers in a few days, but they also have a hard time seeing the corporate world seriously and separating the virtual space from real life, as well as their character in networks social relationships of your work person. For this reason, it will be essential to have strong and authentic leadership with them that leads them to understand these borders and to be productive members of society.
GenZ has faced great uncertainties, such as the 2008 crisis, the 2017 earthquake and the pandemic / Image: Depositphotos.com
Leadership for Generation Z
What can make a difference with this generation is that there is a new leadership that can be perceived as authentic, humanized, understanding and at the same time ordered, that offers training, motivation and above all coherence between what is said and what is done.
Although there will be younger entrepreneurs, who have the ability to relate to this generation in many aspects, it is necessary that they understand, above all, that coherence is basic and to demonstrate that one of the things that companies have to work on is their transparency in addition to horizontal organizational models. As we see in the previous CV, they do not believe in deference to superiors but in their ability to take an interest in them and provoke a conversation.
They are a generation that can have access through social networks to their heroes, leaders, mentors, it should not be different what they expect from their CEO. That is why you cannot think that they are going to take job hierarchies seriously.
Human Resources Strategy for a New Generation
Talent retention strategies and employee engagement are just a few of the challenges corporations will face in the short term.
As Gen Z moves into traditional work models, HR departments will need to review their strategies and their level of transparency when communicating with their people.
An extreme example is Buffer, a social media company founded in 2010 that publicly discloses its salaries. In 2015, PayScale surveyed employees on job satisfaction and salary. It found that the more information employees have about why they earn what they earn and the correlation between their performance and financial reward, the less likely they are to leave.
In addition, flexible work models are something that many are not only used to having, especially after the pandemic, but they will also feel entitled to demand them.
As we already know, offering flexible hours and global remote work capabilities gives employees a sense of control, particularly around work-life balance. It also increases engagement and can help address the talent shortage.
CEOs must participate and take every opportunity to communicate what they stand for. As the most prominent faces of companies, managers must show solidarity and a genuine intention to make a difference or they will be risking losing all their credibility with their younger employees – a serious strategic mistake. For this reason, they must “lead by example.”
Profitability is, of course, essential to running a business. But focusing solely on the numbers indicates a disconnect and a missed opportunity to identify and project a more humanized work culture, where people and mission are what make the company.
In conclusion, the real challenge for HRs now is to retain Gen Z. Leaders must constantly demonstrate why their employees have made the right decision by choosing to work for them.
The fight to attract the best talent, in a world where it is scarce, will be one of the most important parts of the entrepreneurial chess game. Make it clear what the company works for (mission) and create an attractive proposal for them (financial compensation, training, flexibility).
And you, are you ready to work with Generation Z?