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Attracting and retaining Generation Z

When I was 10, I thought 25 was old.  When I was 25, I thought 50 ancient.  Now I am in my 50’s, I believe you are as old as you feel, however, last weekend I felt every year of my age.  Why? A friend shared with us her 14-year-old daughters YouTube channel where she was eloquently and thoughtfully discussing her thoughts and perspectives on gender equality.

Here was this delightful 14-year-old girl confidently speaking on a highly topical subject which she self recorded, edited, then uploaded to her own channel!  When I was 14 I was devoid of this level of confidence, I found it difficult to string a sensible sentence together in a public situation let alone do all this (not that any of it was even invented then!).

Generation Z are making me feel very old as they adapt to new technology naturally, technology that takes me many hours of reading and watching YouTube tutorials to work out how to use.   

This will have an impact on how we, as potential employers, should behave towards them.  Read further to understand why and how.

Gen Z, referred to as the Pivotal Generation are, in a word, amazing.  They have been born into a world where everything is streamable and downloadable, they have never known a world without smartphones, tablets, immediate access to the internet and take Wi-Fi for granted.  Devises are put in their hands as soon as they are old enough to hold them.

They take the constant change that is happening around us for granted and therefore don’t challenge it.  Using technology is obvious to them. Having trouble with your Computer or smartphone?  Ask any 10-year-old and they will fix it in a trice.

Its said that by 2020, Gen Z will compromise 40% of consumers.  They already make up 26% of the US population, the largest generation percentage, and contribute $44 billion to the American economy. By 2020, they will account for one-third of the US population. 

It is predicted that more teens, between the ages of 16 and 18 will go straight into the workforce, opting out of the traditional route of higher education, instead finishing school online, if at all. Would you make a major investment, possibly leading to years of debt to come, knowing there are new, more affordable (not to mention more convenient) online alternatives coming up every day?

“Pivotal’s” are a proud bunch, they value their intelligence, diversity, common sense and family.  They believe in hard work and understand that technology is yet another tool to make their work and lives more efficient. They are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed, and they are not above asking for help.

Like the Millennial generation before them, Gen Z is forcing Companies to rethink what it means to engage and retain their employees in a modern era.   Gen Z will soon make up 20% of the workforce, as an employer, how should you differ your management styles and approaches to attract a Gen Z to your Company?

Here are 5 observations to take into consideration when employing a member of the Pivitol generation:

  1. Encourage multitasking:
    In school Gen Z created a document on their school computer, did research on their phone or tablet, while taking notes on a notepad, then finish in front of the TV with a laptop, while face-timing a friend.

    Gen Z can quickly and efficiently shift between work and play, with multiple distractions going on in the background, working on multiple tasks at once.

    Talk about multi-multi-tasking. Just think about how this kind of flow might reshape the office.  The only frustration may be that you need to get used to communicating with them whilst they look around checking their many devises, not looking into your eyes!

  1. Allow independence:
    Gen Z desires more independent and flexible working environments. They dont want to waste time in the office doing busy work. They’re willing to carry their phones everywhere and will work late hours or off hours.


    When there isn’t work to do they don’t want to have to sit in an office and do meaningless tasks. When they’re on, they’re on, but when they don't need to be, they don’t want to waste time.

    With this in mind, look to introduce flexible working hours to your company, make sure that your focus isn't on the number of hours spent behind a desk but on the output and quality of your employees’ work.

  1. Encourage their entrepreneurial sprit:
    72% of teens say they want to start a business someday. One of Gen Z identifying factors can be traced back to the recession in 2008, from their frugality, to their value of experiences which has increased their likelihood to become entrepreneurs.


    When hiring someone in Gen Z, appeal to their entrepreneurial spirit by creating a culture that enables them to focus on new projects directly tied to business success. Show these candidates how this spirit can be used in the company, whether it’s flexibility, the ability to showcase new ideas, or however else.
  2. Take them seriously:
    Gen Z know they are young and just starting in their careers, but they also want companies to give them support and a voice. Gen Z has a slightly stronger desire for managers to listen to their ideas and value their opinions over Millennials.


    The workplace needs to be less about age and more about ideas and contributions. Gen Z want to be in executive meetings and not left out on the side lines having to wait years for the chance. Show them that you are invested in their success and long-term career.
  3. They want to work for an honest leader:
    52% of Gen Z state that honesty is the most important quality for being a good leader. They want leaders to be open with them and not hide information because of their age or title.

If you're honest, they will trust you and want to work for you or purchase from you, it's that simple. 

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Claire Donnelly

Written by Claire Donnelly

A Business Growth and HR Strategist helping medium size companies to Scale Up using proven systems. Claire is an MCIPD qualified Human Resource professional, with 25+ years’ experience working within various industries and 10 + years’ experience of HR practices throughout the Middle East. As a HR Generalist she has held a number of senior and Board level HR positions. She is experienced in working at both strategic and tactical levels.

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