Although many companies are spending millions on becoming millennial-proof, it is about time to prepare for the next kids in line: Generation Z, born between 1995 and 2010 (roughly). If you do your math, you can understand why it is so important to start focusing on them; they are coming of age and they are coming for you.
Who Are They Anyway?
First and foremost, the people making up Generation Z are more digital than Gen X and Gen Y (Millennials) will ever get. Gen Z’ers were practically born with a smartphone in their hands, knew how to operate a tablet before they were out of diapers and call for Siri and Alexa more often than they will call for their parents. Consequently, Gen Z is extremely cognitive and can easily process vast amounts of information and apply this to different online and offline settings. However, processing those endless data streams, goes at the expense of their attention spans.
A second important characteristic, is that Gen Z is extremely entrepreneurial. In fact, 41% strive to become their own boss. Many youngsters decide to “unfollow” the traditional career path as we know it. As student debts are becoming unpayable and post grads are becoming mainstream, Gen Z is inventing new, digital ways of earning money, for which they do not necessarily need a traditional university degree. After all, who was dreaming of becoming an iOS developer or a Youtube comedian 25 years ago?
Thirdly, Gen Z is known to be independent. Because of the autonomy provided by the internet, Gen Z is exposed to the world and all its opportunities and threats at a much younger age than previous generations. Naturally, this is also related to them being entrepreneurial, but it also causes them to be very environmentally aware. (I mean, have you seen all those teens giving crazy climate change speeches to important politicians?
Ok, so the new generation is made up of young, tech-savvy, entrepreneurial rebels who are ready to put their stamp on today’s workforce. What can existing companies do to attract and retain those influential kids?
Generation Z is used to and values autonomy, right? So, give it to them! Flexible working hours and free lunches alone are not going to do the job. Let them shape their own jobs, redesign organizational structures, rethink the concept of authority. Those are large, important building blocks that are essential to reconsider in the new working age.
The facts do not lie: many Gen Z representatives are about to be working for themselves. According to Forbes, 50,9% of the U.S. population will consist of freelancers by 2027. This means that companies need to learn how to embrace and make the most of freelance talent. Naturally, companies’ HR departments will need to be on top of their game as recruitment (amongst others) is going to be of constant, crucial importance.
Efficiency Is Key
Knowing that Gen Z is used to processing information ridiculously rapidly, make sure that your company’s processes are this too. Nothing is as annoying as slow, old-fashioned hiring processes, having to print unnecessary forms (who owns a printer anyway?) or answering irrelevant questions. Get to the point and get to it fast.
Green Is the New Black
Taking care of the planet and its resources is on top of Gen Z’s list. As such, this should be a priority for your company too if you try to attract Gen Z talent. This can be reflected in details such as having a paperless and plastic free office. However, if you really want to get the job done, incorporate it into your business model. Ever thought of becoming circular?
Create Actual Benefits
Of course Gen Z loves ping pong tables, free chai latte’s and having an office dog too. However, those are just superficial benefits. After all, if you aim to touch someone’s soul, you will need to get underneath the surface. So, invest in stuff that actually matters such as genuine trust, a warm company culture and the desired freedom we reviewed earlier on.
Got different ideas? We would love to hear from you!
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