“Kids these days” – let’s face it, we’ve all heard it. I recently read an article that confirmed that each generation has grumbled about the next for over 2000 years!

As a Millennial, I’m no stranger to the bad press that surrounds my age group. As a result of this, I’ve often felt the need to prove that we’re not all selfie-obsessed, kale-munching, snap-chatting narcissists (thanks for that one Piers Morgan!)

So, having recently been invited by Lancashire’s Young Chamber to deliver workshops to Year 11’s. I decided it would only be fair to go into it with an open minded approach to Generation Z.

What did I find? In all honesty, being 16 these days is pretty much the same as it was when I was 16. The students had ambitions and were excited to be unleashed into the world of work. They still wanted what my Grandad would call ‘proper jobs’; to be Accountants, Engineers and Teachers.

I was a little surprised to find that there weren’t any aspiring vloggers in the room, therefore, made a mental note to ignore future claims by the media that ‘everyone wants to be an influencer these days’.

While this generation is still very young (the oldest are currently 24 years old) within a decade they will make up 1 in 5 workers. So I began researching these ‘digital natives’, the difference in skill sets and how best to attract them.

Most businesses in Lancashire already have the ability to offer what Generation Z want. What is needed is a change in perception on what is considered attractive to these job seekers to get noticed by them.

Here’s what to focus on…

Create clear and achievable career development opportunities

According to research by Glassdoor, company culture and career opportunities are most important to Generation Z. They are good multitaskers and thrive off continued feedback. They want clear goals, challenges and to be rewarded – this is what keeps them engaged.

Most businesses offer progression but often these opportunities are vague. There’s no structure and even when there is, it’s not talked about enough during the recruitment process.

Forget about office dogs or games rooms. Turn your focus to implementing a structured career development path and dedicated mentor. This will go a long way to attracting and empowering talented individuals who want to succeed.

Promote your health and wellbeing benefits

For Generation Z, whether a company cares about their employees’ health and wellness is a factor they take into account when they’re choosing a place to work.

Now don’t panic! The beauty of employee health and wellness benefits is that they can take on many different shapes and sizes.

From free fruit or cycle to work schemes to eye tests or health insurance. Most businesses in Lancashire already offer these benefits  – make sure potential employees are aware of them!

Keep up or miss out

Generation Z are the first digital natives. They were born into the world of VR, social media, smart phones and Alexa. When everything has been available instantly to you your whole life, it’s only natural that your patience and attention span would be shorter than that of previous generations.

Keep your candidates informed and engaged during the application process. This is always important, no matter what generation your applicants are from, but even more so with the younger generations and their short attention spans.

Recruiters always advise their clients to put a recruitment timeline in place, pre-booking interviews to keep things moving and set candidates expectations. If you plan to recruit at this level, make it quick to avoid missing out.

Show that you believe in inclusion and diversity

As much as we think that we are all accepting of others, it has been proven that Gen Z are the most open minded generation yet. They are extremely passionate about diversity and inclusivity.

Growing up in an era that saw a multitude of milestones relating to equality, it’s not surprising that their outlook shapes what they expect from an employer.

Businesses in Lancashire have made huge strides in recent years to address bias and promote equal opportunities. Is this demonstrated throughout every aspect of your hiring and progression processes?

Companies that aren’t actively promoting equal opportunities will lose their appeal (not just to the younger generation).

Shout about what you care about

As we’ve gathered, Gen Z care about making the world a better place. Thanks to the likes our beloved Sir David Attenborough capturing the hearts of the nation, a real biggie for this generation is the climate crisis.

They like to work for businesses that take a stand on important issues and so gravitate towards companies that are purpose driven, ethical and authentic.

What does your business care about? There are a lot of businesses in Lancashire making changes to reduce their carbon footprint or making contributions to charities or the local community. Yet do they openly talk about these things when recruiting? Hardly ever!

Gen Z are coming – are you ready?

It may feel like you’ve only just about got your head around the Millennials, but now Generation Z are hot on the trail, it’s time to make these tweaks and get ready for them.

From reading the above points it may seem that they expect a lot, but with the valuable skills they can bring to the table, they’re worth it! They want to do well and they’re seeking businesses that care about providing opportunities, feedback and support to help them reach their goals.

While salary and benefits matter (as they do to everyone), they’re not the be all and end all. They are looking for an employer who will be an extension of their personality and who shares their values.

If you can match their enthusiasm and dedication to making an impact in the world, they’ll be excited to get on board.