Gen Z’s Workplace Expectations Are Different From the Generations Before Them

The May 2021 jobs report showed encouraging news that the job market is continuing to recover and has picked up some additional momentum. As the country begins to ramp up from the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of job postings increases. Companies of all sizes are looking to add employees in temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire positions.

While these jobs require various amounts of experience, many job postings look for candidates with approximately two to four years of experience. Generation Z, those 18-22 years old, are beginning to enter the workforce. For hiring managers, it’s important to know how Gen Z will fit into the company culture and what they expect a company to offer. It’s become a special kind of balancing act with generations spanning from Gen Z to Baby Boomers in the workplace. Here are some tips on how to navigate the generational gaps to put your company at a competitive advantage while addressing the unique motivations of this emerging group of workers.

Article Highlights:

  • Gen Z Candidates Are Qualified
  • What Benefits Attract Gen Z
  • Gen Z Expectations and Motivations
  • Recruiting and Onboarding Gen Z
  • Working in Teams
  • Giving Feedback
  • Getting it Right From the Start

Professional Experience

It’s hard to believe that Gen Z candidates bring experience to the workplace because they are so young. The Gen Z generation is highly ambitious. According to Ryan Jenkins, a Millennial and Gen Z Expert, 55 percent of Gen Z feel pressure to gain professional experience in high school. This generation already participates in internships before college and tests the waters on what type of career is meaningful to them. With that in mind, when they graduate from college, they typically come with several years of workplace experience that may be a good fit for your open jobs. Jenkins also states that 84 percent of Gen Z believe that they have the skills necessary to be successful in a professional environment. Reinforcing that data, Pew Research finds that Gen Z job candidates are the most highly educated generation.

Jenkins goes on to say that 56 percent of Gen Z would rather write their own job description than being given a generic one. With the experiences they gain in high school and college, Gen Z candidates are clear about being the boss of their career growth and advancement. They want their work to have meaning for themselves and society.

Top Benefits Gen Z Looks For

According to a Zippia survey of 1,000 American job seekers, health insurance, the option to work remotely, and retirement benefits top the list for Gen Z. Jenkins adds to the list a competitive salary and a boss they respect. They are also looking for flexibility, longer breaks, employee assistance programs, and open communication because these candidates are also four times more likely to experience anxiety. The World Health Organization states, “Stress is a health epidemic of the 21st century.”

Gen Z believes it’s fine to leave a job in less than a year of employment if advancement opportunities are lacking and work-life balance is nonexistent. It’s no surprise then that Gen Z finds authenticity and transparency crucial to a robust work environment. They want to be kept in the loop via top-down communication via mobile phone as they continue to grow their career and determine what projects interest them.

How Gen Z Job Candidates Find YOU?

That’s right, Gen Z candidates find you.

  • Recruiting
    • When Gen Z is on the hunt for a job, like most job seekers, they scour job sites. However, Gen Z values the opinions of friends and family and other connections on social media. Your company’s level of diversity and corporate social responsibility policies and practices play an important role in whether they have an interest in working at your company.
    • Long, complicated interview processes are a turn-off.
    • Some Gen Z applicants want to work in teams, while others prefer to get the job done on their own. It will be important to know how a candidate fits the culture of the company and the job expectations because they will most certainly be asking these questions to gauge whether you’re a match for them.
  • The Onboarding Experience
    • Rea Regan, the Head of Content at Connecteam – developers of an all-in-one employee app, suggests setting the tone the moment your Gen Z employee steps foot in your company. Introduce them via a company-wide email or text with a photo and fun facts. Place training materials in an app or through a document-sharing program so they can learn at their own pace and review materials as needed. Hiring managers can monitor progress via a notification through the app.

Working in Teams vs. Working Alone

The experts differ in opinion on this subject. Many suggest that Gen Z thrives on the diversity and inclusion of a collaborative environment across generations and feels more engaged with individuals because of their different ideas, experiences, and perspectives. For these Gen Z candidates, their personality may hold more weight over their experiences if the position they are interviewing for requires team collaboration. On the other hand, several experts suggest that Gen Z candidates prefer working alone, in their own space, and believe they are the right person to get the job done alone. This candidate is better suited for a position in a less collaborative environment.

Giving Feedback

Jenkins reports that 67 percent of Gen Z is comfortable with having their manager check in with them but only for five minutes or less. They are “already comfortable with being monitored in some fashion or another at work,” he says. Regan suggests managers deliver feedback that is frequent and measurable to ensure specific points are addressed.

Getting it Right From the Get-Go

Managers and supervisors need to be more flexible in their hiring processes and adapt to their employees’ work and communication styles, regardless of age, to boost morale and have a productive and engaged team. Regan sums up the way to ensure your Gen Z workforce is at the top of their game. She says, “By understanding that Gen Z in the workplace are more fearless and crave opportunities to learn and grow, you can create an environment that helps them thrive.”

Having a solid recruiting plan for generational hiring and retention is key to business productivity. Businesses of all sizes face similar human resources challenges:

  • Should we fill the position with a temporary or direct hire candidate?
  • Are we up to date on the legal and compliance regulations that are constantly changing?
  • Do we have the ability or technology to assess not only qualifications but personality and behavior to match candidates with jobs and the teams they’ll work with?
  • Is our benefits package robust enough?

Understanding and addressing these human resources challenges are important to the business decisions you make. Casey Accounting and Finance Resources is here to provide the expertise and resources to assist you in matching the best candidate for your team and company culture. Reach out to us for your next hire. We’ll help you navigate the changing landscape.

Get Ready to Start Hiring Again

With many indicators pointing to life returning to normal, an uptick in the economy, and lower unemployment claims, companies are most certainly considering hiring employees again. The pandemic changed recruiting as we knew it with virtual interviews, Zoom training, and hiring workers who didn’t even live in the same geography. For the most part, these were all positive advancements for the recruiting world. After all, the last real revolution for recruiting was online postings, job applicants, and more advanced screening software. So, what have we learned in the last 12 months?
  • Employees can work remotely and be productive.
  • The talent pool widened when recruiting wasn’t constricted by geographic boundaries.
  • Employees are even more acutely aware of work-life balance and belonging to their organization.
  • DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) is a passionate topic when discussing talent acquisition.

Adapting Your Hiring Strategies

According to The HR Digest, the US is facing a 69% shortfall in available employees, the highest in a decade. Even though layoffs and hiring freezes will drop off, many workers used the pandemic to re-evaluate their career and life goals. With that said, what are the best ways to find talent and attract them to work for your company?

Hybrid Recruiting and Hybrid Workforce

  • Remote Work: many employees have determined that they like working remotely, at least for some portion of the workweek. Flexible schedules will continue to be the norm and should be incorporated into your recruiting culture.
  • Remote Hiring: the ability to interview candidates via video conferencing is a time saver for both employer and candidate. The technology options have improved. Personality assessments can be completed remotely. In the end, you might still want to meet the top candidates in person, but if remote work is an option, chances are you might not meet your new employee face-to-face for several weeks or months.
These are significant trends that have emerged in the last year. The hybrid workforce model will provide a greater pool of qualified candidates for talent acquisition, allowing recruiters to tap into the best talent for a position without geographic limitations.

Where Are the Best Candidates?

  • Look at your employees. The Boston Consulting Group, along with programmatic job advertising provider Appcast, found that 89% of US workers are willing to retrain to a different job role. Among the findings: Workers ages 31 to 40 and those with master’s degrees and above are the most willing to reskill. But even workers within the services sector or that require workers onsite (i.e., production and manufacturing) can adapt with access to the right training and resources. Re-skilling and up-skilling workers are positive investments for a company. Among many things, it reduces the costs of turnover and rehiring and keeps the employee’s intellectual capital at the company.
  • Look at Gen Z graduates. Many 2020 college graduates may not have entered the workforce in their area of study, and with 2021 graduation upon us, additional qualified candidates are ready to work in their chosen career.
  • Look at retirees. The pandemic forced early retirement for some very talented individuals who still have value to bring to a company. Consider this untapped talent pool for your open positions.

Committing to a DEI Strategy to Build a Diverse Team

Most company executives will tell you that their company is successful because of the employees. Happy employees are productive employees and are key to a company’s success. But employee morale has become more than just benefits. Employee engagement has shifted. People want to feel as if they belong at work that they see others just like themselves in positions from entry-level to leadership. That they are comfortable with their team, that managers listen to them. Having a DEI strategy is a big undertaking and can’t be fully addressed in a few paragraphs. Ryan Healy, founder and president of technology company Brazen Technologies, Inc., says, “Offering job opportunities to job seekers in underrepresented and underserved communities brings fresh, diverse perspectives to organizations.” According to Mariah Scout, head of DEI at webflow, and Leah Knobler, director of talent acquisition at HelpScout, DEI is everybody’s responsibility – not something that is the responsibility of one person or the HR team alone. DEI also requires a strong commitment. They go on to share the benefits of a DEI strategy to a company’s growth – “So if you’re building a diverse team that represents a diverse set of identities and experiences and abilities…you’re setting yourself up to build a product that services more people across those differences.” That’s a pretty powerful argument for DEI. Where should you start? Scout and Knobler offer these changes to your hiring process:
  • Survey your employee base to understand where the DEI gaps exist.
  • Write job descriptions using inclusive language that addresses what a candidate has done in the past that would be valuable to the company. Criteria, must-haves, and limiting jobs to certain locations may create entry barriers to hiring a more diverse workforce so you need to distinguish and understand what criteria, such as certifications, are critical to the position.
  • Ensure your interview process includes a diverse pool of candidates, right down to your final candidates.
  • Understand any hiring biases, conscious and unconscious bias, which will negatively impact the ability to make an effective hiring decision about the best person for the job.
  • Use Standardized Interview Questions and ask them to every candidate. This will help minimize and eliminate bias.
This graphic from Josh Bersin, a world-renowned industry analyst, educator, and thought leader in all aspects of HR, leadership, and HR technology, emphasizes the importance of taking action to create an inclusive culture:

Hiring Recruiting Experts

Bersin says that recruiting is the most important thing that happens in a company. “If you don’t recruit the right people, forget everything else. You can’t just train people that are the wrong fit for your company, the wrong culture fit, the wrong skill set, the wrong background,” he stresses. “Your ability to understand the organization and operate in an empowered way to find the right people is critical.” Oftentimes it is easier for outsiders to see the gaps in processes. At Casey Accounting & Finance Resources, we have years of experience evaluating recruiting programs and assessing employees’ skills for our clients. We are great recruiters who have hired great people for great companies. The future of employee engagement will include a robust strategy of competitive perks, flexible schedules, and work environments, and the implementation of DEI processes. Let us help you adapt to this new hiring landscape.

Preparing to Bring Employees Back to the Office

With more people getting vaccinated and the US economy coming back to life, companies are working on plans to reopen offices sometime in 2021. Most people have enjoyed working from home, even though it meant juggling parenting duties while kids learned virtually, sharing Internet bandwidth, and being around your family 24/7. A January 2021 survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that 83% of employers say remote work has been successful for their company. While COVID-19 did present work challenges, a survey by Yoh found that 39% of Americans employed last year have found new ways to be more flexible and adaptable in their jobs, 73% felt they had not grown professionally as a result of working from home. That summarizes the good news and bad news.

The Economy is Rebounding

The economic barometers are encouraging. The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) index of service businesses rose to 63.7 last month from 55.3, according to a press release on April 5, 2021. The level surpasses the previous record set in October 2018 and implies the fastest expansion rate since data collection began in 1997. The reading also beat all estimates from economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The Institute for Supply Management’s measure of business activity and production also showed a gain to 69.4 from 55.5 throughout last month.  The data affirms hope that the economy is growing, and the ISM’s report suggests the labor market’s rebound will continue into the summer. The institute’s employment gauge rose to 57.2 in March from 52.7, with nearly one-quarter of businesses saying they took on more workers. One respondent noted it rehired all its temporarily laid-off workers and made new hires. Another cited strong demand at new locations as the reason it hired more employees.

Motivating Employees to Return to the Office

With the economy improving, what can employers do to motivate employees to return to the office even though remote-work initiatives have largely been successful? Josh Bersin, founder of Bersin by Deloitte, commented that “companies are going to need to balance the needs of employees with the company’s plans to get people back to the office and happy about being there.”

1. Evaluating Talent

As company executives monitor the economy and customer demand, what was in 2020 might not be what is in 2021 and going forward. Therefore, as part of the discussion regarding strategic business initiatives, companies will need to evaluate their current staff’s skill sets while determining their future talent needs. Emmet McGrath, president of Yoh, says, “as the world moves closer to a slow return to normal, it is crucial for managers to recognize their teams’ efforts and begin to evaluate their teams for talent gaps so they can continue to maintain the level of skill needed to succeed in the post-COVID world.” Adding onto what McGrath says, another January survey by LiveCareer found one-third of workers would quit before going back to the office full-time.

2. Office Safety Measures

What steps do companies need to take to present a safe and inviting environment for their employees? Tami Simon, the corporate consulting leader and senior vice president at Segal, commented, “Above all else, employees need to feel safe: physically, mentally, and financially. Employers should transparently describe how they plan to make their workplace a safe place. In addition to the physical measures companies need to take, employees need to feel like they won’t face the consequences for expressing their needs or feeling reluctant to head back to the office.”

3. Offer New Benefits

Employees will be looking for new benefits, including rotating home/office schedules, added mental health support, caregiving assistance, and financial wellness. The best way to understand what your employees need is to ask for their opinions and ideas. Consider this feedback even if the company doesn’t move forward with every idea. Employees will appreciate the opportunity.

4. Communication

In a Fast Company article by Gwen Moran, creator of Bloom Anywhere, she states that it’s a good idea to communicate policies, changes, and expectations across different platforms, such as employee emails, manager meetings, and even internal podcasts. She says, “This is another period of rapid change, and your team needs help anticipating what’s next.” Moran also believes that once people feel safer to gather and work returns to normal, other activities such as get-togethers to celebrate birthdays and company milestones will increase the face-to-face contact we’ve all missed.

How Recruiting Experts Can Help

All of us at Casey Accounting & Finance Resources have seen our fair share of highs and lows in the employment industry. We’ve also been innovative and embraced changes along the way, improving workforce programs for our clients. We have experience evaluating staffing programs and offer proven approaches to evaluate the talent needs that best meet your company objectives. We are eager to partner with you in this transition back to work. Call us today.

Casey Accounting & Finance Resources Wins ClearlyRated’s 2021 Best of Staffing® Talent Diamond Award for Service Excellence

Diamond Award winners have won the Best of Staffing Award for at least five years in a row, consistently earning industry-leading satisfaction scores from their clients and job seekers.

The staff of Casey Accounting & Finance Resources (www.caseyresources.com) is pleased to announce they have earned ClearlyRated’s Best of Staffing® Talent Diamond Awards for providing superior service to their job candidates for at least five years in a row. Presented in partnership with presenting sponsor, CareerBuilder, and gold sponsors Indeed and Glassdoor, ClearlyRated’s Best of Staffing Diamond winners have proven to be industry leaders in service quality based entirely on ratings provided by their candidates. This is the sixth consecutive year the company has won the Talent Satisfaction award. Less than 1% of staffing companies earn the Diamond award for Best of Staffing.

Focused on helping companies find the right people for their job openings, Casey Accounting and Finance Resources received a Net Promoter Scores (NPS) are 88.2% for talent satisfaction, far exceeding the industry average of 18%. The NPS question of “how likely is it that you would recommend XYZ company to a friend or colleague?” created by Fred Reichheld determines the tier of how strong your customer service is. Anything above 70% NPS is at the top of the echelon and considered ‘world-class service.’

We want to thank all of our associates and job seekers for trusting our team. We appreciate you and look forward to ongoing partnerships with you.

How Customer-Centricity Factors into Successful Change Management

This is the second of a two-part series of articles on disruption and the importance of customer-centricity. The first part of this series was published in February’s newsletter. In this article, we’ll discuss the best predictors of successful organizational change. But first, let’s summarize the key highlights of last month’s article on How to use Disruption as an Opportunity for Change:
  • Most people are resistant to change, yet great leaders use disruption for capitalizing on change and improving customer-centricity.
  • The ways to prioritize change, and taking challenges, and turning them into opportunities included:
  • Gallup has also identified seven principles leaders can use for effective change management.
    • Clearly articulate the vision for change.
    • Involve the right people: limited vs. broad involvement.
    • Communicate the right information at the right time.
    • Always account for resistance to change.
    • Celebrate short-term wins without declaring premature victory.
    • Effectively anchor the change to the organization.
    • Always plan for change to be “the only constant.”

The Best Predictors of Successful Organizational Change

According to Gallup, the best predictors of successful organizational change are strong leadership and engaged employees. Plenty of articles outline successful organizations that have strong company cultures and strong customer-centric practices. So, how does this help with the change management process? Forrester Research states that to succeed, customer-centricity should be embedded in the way you do business. Therefore customers must be made the focal point of your business strategy and operations. Customer-centric organizations set high expectations for their employees to provide extraordinary experiences to customers, and in turn, customers reward these companies with trust. Customer-centric organizations also collect various data points that help determine ways to provide customers with better and additional services and products that, in turn, make their customers successful. Altogether, this knowledge helps drive decision-making processes, regardless of disruption. We all know that creating a strong customer-centric culture isn’t for the faint of heart, and it requires an ongoing commitment throughout the organization. What customer-centric organizations do well is they continuously build and strengthen customer relationships. So, how have they continued this strong bond during COVID-19, where everything is virtual? Scott Steinberg, a futurist and keynote speaker, offers these best practices to create meaningful relationships from a distance. Here are excerpts from one of his articles. To read the entire article, click here.

1. Create good reasons to be in contact.

Tactical takeaway: Rather than attempt routine check-ins with clients, instead create cleverly-packaged offers that help customers solve pressing problems—then creatively pitch these programs as can’t-miss insights, educational programs, and events.

2. Make a point to show your appreciation.

Tactical takeaway: Create fun, quirky and heartwarming mailers to surprise and delight your customers (and help you stay on their radar) with a message of appreciation or unexpected goodwill and cheer. Or, set up a virtual lunch and send your client’s favorite meal to his or her desk.

3. Become a go-to source of insight and education.

Tactical takeaway: Distill your expertise and insight into articles, guides, e-books, whitepapers, social media posts, videos, and other snackable content that can quickly steer clients towards the answers they need to help deal with ongoing challenges and disruptions.

4. Shine a spotlight on your clients.

Tactical takeaway: Establish partner-focused programs and publishing channels that put customers (and customer stories) front and center to show your appreciation, offer support and build awareness for their hard work and efforts.

5. Source partner feedback and input.

Tactical takeaway: Invite clients to offer feedback and input into the development process, create more opportunities for customers to share their opinion, and look for ways to promote greater ongoing collaboration. Steinberg comments, “The way forward in challenging times is always to work together – and, as ever, you and your customers can continue to do so successfully simply by looking for clever and creative ways to work (albeit digitally for the moment); hand-in-hand.” It’s never too late to lean into improved customer-centricity regardless of disruption. Don’t waste this opportunity to implement some or all these ideas or create your own.