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Recruiting Gen Z - Not Just Beanbags & Free Food Anymore (Part 2)

The baseline for expectation has gone up in this generation of workers. Having a nice working environment and offering flexible working is expected as standard. It’s not about offering nice coffee, perks and bean bag chairs, it’s about meeting employee values and showing what you can offer that others don’t. 

In the second part of this series, we step a bit deeper into the mindset for Gen Z, and look at what they want from work, and how employers like you can be attractive to them.

If you missed the first part of this series, you can read it here.




What do millennials and Gen Z want at work?

1. Flexibility 

Flexibility in the way we work has been a hot topic over the last two years. It was already something that millennials and Gen Z were pushing for in their work. However, now it’s an expectation, and probably one that they consider to be long overdue with the technological capabilities at the disposal of organisations.

Contrary to popular opinion, that doesn’t mean they don’t ever want to come into an office. Surveys show that many are looking forward to more interactions both socially and professionally post pandemic, and going to the office some of the time has the capacity to offer a new and exciting dimension to work rather than an obligatory one. 

Few expect to be in the office full time though, and neither is flexibility just about working from home - it might involve flexible hours and the option for the way of working to evolve over time. 


Question for You: The ability to adapt is one of this generation’s greatest strengths and we’ve seen it play out in the last two years. How can you harness that for the wellbeing of employees and your company?



2. Accountability 

We have mentioned the values of these generations and how strongly they live and work by them. That means that accountability is high on their list of priorities when it comes to who they work for and with. They are the people most likely to call out racism and sexism, and to reject companies and employers whose actions conflict with their personal values. They want to see businesses being proactive about and accountable for their environmental impact and their social impact.


Question for You: How do you measure your environmental and social impact and what meaningful actions do you take to ensure they are positive rather than negative?



3. A sense of purpose

Purpose is a big thing for young employees, tying into their wellbeing and all of their other values. Of course, everyone wants to do a job that pays the bills and they are practical about that. However, they also want to believe in the work that their company is doing, the greater good that it provides, and they want to be able to see how their job contributes to that goal. In short, they’re driven by more than their levels of remuneration that they receive or the perks of a nice office.


Question for You: Are you able to translate what you do as a company into a broader purpose? And if you asked your employees, would they be able to agree on what that purpose is?



4. Authenticity

“49% of Gen Zs surveyed by Deloitte said that their personal ethics have played a role in their career choices.”

These generations are savvy buyers and savvy employees. They have grown up with transparency and they expect authenticity from the people they work for. They don’t take well to virtue signalling or greenwashing - if a business claims to uphold a value then they want to see that value represented authentically at all levels of the organisation. 


Question for You: Do all levels of your organisation buy into the values you claim to uphold and how does that translate into everyday actions?



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How can employers engage younger workers?

With all of this in mind, what can employers do to turn that knowledge into improved recruitment processes? It requires a mindset shift in recruiting. The key is in the understanding that recruiting is now about making yourself attractive to the right employee rather than thinking that Gen Z has to prove themselves attractive to you.


Who’s in charge of your recruiting?

At every level of an organisation people feel under pressure to achieve certain short-term targets. While those are relevant, they can get in the way of longer-term goals. For example, think about what’s motivating the person in charge of recruiting in your company? Are they being judged by their ability to simply fill a vacancy quickly? Or do they have a vested interest in the long-term success of that recruit? 


Think like a marketer 

Recruiting is about selling yourself to the best talent available for the job. When you post a job vacancy, you need to come at it with a sales and marketing mindset, so it needs to show why they want to come to you, and it needs to speak the same language as the people you’re trying to engage.


Embrace the entrepreneurial mindset 

Think of the values in a generation with an entrepreneurial mindset and consider that in the way you design your job roles. How can you harness that? How can your employees have a vested interest in the overall success of the company rather than being siloed in their job role?


Treat it like a relationship 

Millennials and Gen Z, as well as the environment in which we now find ourselves working has created a change in the power dynamic between employer and employee. It’s no longer just top down and it’s no longer purely transactional. For employers this has the capacity to create enormous benefits where employees are really engaged in their job roles. How can you embrace and show that mindset shift?


Reflect on your own values

Make sure your values are front and centre of your recruitment process so that like-minded people can see them and identify with them. Explain not just what you do, but how to show authenticity and accountability.


Think long-term

Think about the long-term outcomes and success of the recruitment process. Consider the cost of recruitment but also the lifetime value of your team member so you focus on getting the right person for the job rather than someone who can be replaced if it doesn’t work out. On a practical note, staffing remains the highest cost for a business, but team members are also one of your greatest assets.

In 2021, The Office of National Statistics released its Labour costs and labour income report, which said the share of income received by employees in return for their part in producing output was an average of 59.9% - something that’s remained relatively flat since the 1970s. Meanwhile, the average cost of recruitment for a new employee in the UK is £3,000 - depending on the role of course, that could be much higher.


Keep evolving 

Whether it’s your approach to health and wellbeing or your environmental policies or your, commit to continued re-evaluation of your values and how you work proactively towards them. None of these things are static, and for recruiting to be and continue to be successful, companies need to remain conscious and cognisant of employee’s evolving wants, needs and values, as well as the growing opportunities available to meet them.




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