A whole new generation of workers is just now entering the workforce, and the reviews to-date have been far from flattering. Known as Generation Z – or the iGeneration – this generation is more attached to their cellphones than they are a political cause, and they’ve already been lauded as the laziest generation to date.
One example is the reports don’t always note is that this same generation has always been surrounded by technology and thus will be able to learn an inventory system far faster than those from other generations, which is an attractive quality that HR is always on the lookout for.
Further, because system updates and new technologies have always been a part of their way of life, they’re far more flexible and more inclined to go with the flow than their older peers. These two things alone can make them an asset in just about any business – and they really do have so much more to offer if HR is willing to look past the lazy label and give them a chance. The HR experts at a PEO know exactly how to look beyond a label to see and maximize their innate talents.
So how can human resources coax the most out of these new workers? Below, we outline a few key ways that HR can help acclimate these newest entrants to the workforce and take them from good to great.
Check In Often
According to experts, one of the most important things for younger members of the workforce is to reassure them that they are doing a good job. With this in mind, your managers should plan to have an open-door policy for garnering feedback – or at the very least, an informal check-in process – as well as structured performance review.
Further, experts suggest that for the younger set, they want to be formally reviewed at least twice a year, but often as many as three or four times annually. While this certainly amounts to more work for your manager, providing frequent check-ins is the best way for them to stay on track – and for you to help shape and mold their behaviors.
Mentor Up When you’ve gone through your life with a mobile device in your hands at all times, you haven’t always had the opportunity to pick up your head and actually work on your face-to-face communication skills. Managers may thus find that their Gen Z underlings are a little more socially awkward than the average hire.
However, the quick fix for this is to pair them up with someone who’s a little more seasoned in your company and let the newbies learn how to interact professionally through modeling. If the jobs are too diverse and modeling won’t be effective, they can still serve as a mentor simply by being a sounding board to bounce ideas off of and determine the best ways to handle sticky business situations.
Strive for Independence While Gen Z appreciates frequent performance check-ins and could benefit from having a mentor, this shouldn’t be confused with a need to be micromanaged. According to an annual survey of high school students, the parents of Generation Z weren’t big into discipline, so they’ve grown very much accustomed to making their own decisions and figuring out the consequences. With this in mind, your managers will want to toe the line between providing guidance without being overbearing or over-involved.
Tailor Your Training Generation Z is used to having all the information they could ever need at their fingertips, but they’re also saddled with the attention span of a gnat. After all, this is the generation that made SnapChat – mere seconds long video stories – so popular. With this in mind, it’s best to go ahead and try to trim training modules down into bite-sized pieces and put them all up online or in a training folder so that they can be re-accessed on an as-needed basis.
Similarly, training should lean more heavily on the visual/multi-media side, as opposed to long chunks of text in order to get the most engagement and be sure that it is accessible across a number of different platforms so that folks can pull it up on their phones or iPads from anywhere.
Move Them on Up In a recent survey, nearly one-third of Generation Z indicated that their primary work goal was to achieve their dream job in the next decade (compared to Millennials who, after entering the workforce during a recession, selected financial stability as their primary goal.) Further, 39 percent indicated that career growth was the most important aspect of their first job.
With this in mind, you’ll want to be very transparent about your corporate ladder and what the various “steps” look like, how long folks stay there, and what it takes to move up. Further, HR should work with managers to consider adding in incremental goals or stretch opportunities for these employees to help them gain new skills and levels of expertise and prevent them from feeling like they’re stagnating in their roles.
Now, if you’re thinking that this seems like a lot of work just to recruit a ground-level worker – especially one that might actually be lazy – we’re right there with you. However, this generation will be an asset to your company and thus want to support you as you onboard them to your company.
A PEO can offer a full suite of training and development programs – or can come up with something original to meet your unique needs – and can even send in our own people to get everyone up to speed.
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