No matter where you look you can’t help but to notice the help wanted signs everywhere. Our entire country briefly would appear to not have enough people to fill our jobs charged by consumer demand. Many smart businesses are looking beyond the stereotypes of generational classes and finding clever ways to embrace the now largest generation in our population: GEN Z.
The amazing part about all of this, is the companies changing their paradigm to attract Gen Z are also going to win in the marketplace.
It’s not difficult to conjure up a funny stereotype about some of the generational lines in our society. Claims of “walking to school uphill both ways in the snow” come to mind when thinking about the Boomer Generation.
Gen X cannot seem to figure out computer technology (even though they are the generation that invented most of it), Millennials are lazy and entitled, and Gen Z is so technology dependent. But when we peel back some of these layers let’s really explore what Gen Z is beyond the stereotypes.
Gen Z is roughly 86 Million citizens (Pew Institute Research) that were born between 1996 and 2015. Many compare them to their generation sibling Millennials, but there are massive differences between the two.
For Example: Most Gen Z’s came into young adult hood during the great recession. This allowed them to see their families experience challenges with income with climbing credit card and student loan debt. They also have never known a time before mobile devices. This combination has created an intuitive, mobile driven workforce that naturally has less debt, higher credit scores and crave stability in the workplace far more than its preceding generation.
So here is the hard part: If you are a manager or business owner struggling to hire, understand you know very little about communicating with your future employees. I had to make this realization with increasing demand in the market and I could choose to adapt or slowly age out.
The first thing we changed was converting our initial interview and application process to 100% test message based. Yes, that is right: no paper forms when applying for a position. We found several Millennials applying with the same methods and our application rate nearly doubled.
Secondly, we put forth our purpose or ‘why’ we are in business before we discussed the ‘what’ we do. Gen Z is highly in tune with social issues with so many channels for information. They want to work with growing companies that are making a difference, not just clock-punchers.
Last, we promote lateral mobility in our business. In fact, we highly encourage it. This generation wants to stay at a business for stability but only if it allows for mobility in the organization to learn and grow in different roles.
Fast forward to today. Since adopting these practices, our retention, culture, and customer service scores have improved. We now fill seats in our company typically within two weeks and employee referrals are now more common. This adjustment in my thinking has changed the way I look beyond the stereotypes of all generations and our company is better for it. I hope this helps you in making a difference in the market for your employees, customers, and your family.
Good luck out there!
Will Blake, is the Managing Member of Vesta Foundation Solutions, LLC. A regional home improvement contractor specializing in foundation repair, concrete leveling, dirt crawl space repair and basement waterproofing services. They Service nearly 45 homes a week in the Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas markets. For more information regarding Will Blake and Vesta Foundation Solutions, visit: vestafoundationsolutions.com or call 405-213-0492