Did you know that Gen Z employees will make up almost 30% of the workforce around the world by 2025? Besides, they are the most educated generation so far – 1 in 2 Gen Zer’s have or will have a university degree in the next several years.
These young graduates are sure to become the new driving force of the career market. Welcoming these aspiring professionals in your company is essential to growing a successful business, especially if you want to stay on top of trends and cater to younger audiences – no matter what your business niche is.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to organically onboard Gen Z employees to make sure they bring top value and expertise to your team.
Why Hire Gen Z?
Now you might wonder what advantages Zoomers have compared to older generations such as Millennials and Baby Boomers. Truth is, there are quite a few:
- Generation Z is highly productive and adaptive. In fact, 57% of Zoomers believe that growing up with access to modern digital technology makes them more mobile.
- They are creative. Gen Zer’s are much more used to generating content (take social media as an example) and looking for unconventional solutions to problems.
- Gen Z is flexible and stress-resistant. This generation is growing up in a world of rapidly changing environments.
- They are ready for a serious commitment. 61% of Zoomers claim they are willing to stay with one employer for more than 10 years. Out of them, 31% are ready to remain with the same company for 20 years and more.
In a nutshell, Gen Z employees are energetic, motivated, and ready to grow together with your business.
Onboarding Gen Z: 6 Best Strategies
Welcoming a new employee is a responsible task. Let’s break down 6 ways you can approach onboarding a Zoomer in a smooth, productive manner.
FOr Gen z, First impressions matter
More than half of potential employees from Gen Z believe that the onboarding process should take one day or even less.
Why does this number matter? It shows that young workers value both their and their employer’s time. That’s why making the right first impression when onboarding the new young specialist is key.
- Provide them with clear directions. It gives the new employee an immediate sense of purpose. For example, you can give them a doable, achievable task showcasing their role in your company.
- Create a memorable first-day experience. Give the new employee a tour around the office and introduce them to the colleagues – creating a friendly atmosphere is crucial. Alternatively, you can ask your fresh Gen Zer to post to your social media page, introducing themselves to your followers. This is an especially nice touch if your fresh hire is an active social media user and is interested in things like nano-influencer marketing. Perhaps they could even go on to become your online company spokesperson!
- Attach an onboarding mentor (or buddy) to the new employee. Gen Z values communication and personal support, and they expect guidance to feel more confident.
These steps will ensure a smooth yet quick adaptation with a positive onset for your new Zoomer employee.
make training resources easily available
Gone are the days when you had to have your new employees read endless printed documents as part of the onboarding process. For Gen Z, the accessibility and convenience of key materials are of primary importance. Cater to them!
- When introducing essential documentation, try to keep it short and sweet. For instance, consider presenting training materials in the form of a video or PPT presentation rather than a bulk of text on paper.
- Organise readable into easily accessible links the new employee can revisit whenever they want.
- Consider gamifying the training process. Include interactive strategies into training and integration to make your Gen Z employees feel engaged and motivated – this generation values dynamic edutainment approaches.
For instance, you can implement such gaming elements as badges, point systems, and achievement boards among the young newcomers. It will mark onboarding with healthy competition and give you the chance to provide fresh hires with incentives for instant growth.
You will not only demonstrate your digital savvy – a quality highly valued by young professionals – but also accelerate the onboarding process for your active and mobile Gen Zer’s.
Make their value seen right away
We have already mentioned the importance of giving a fresh Gen Z employee a clear purpose, right?
Gen Z workers want to feel that their time and energy are not wasted at the company that employs them. That’s why it is crucial to show them how what they do makes a truly positive difference for your business and customers.
A good idea would be to provide the young employee with a clear idea of what the end product of their work is.
- For instance, if you hired a copywriter, let them know how their texts will impact your marketing success. Keep track of engagement rates and organic web traffic – this way the new employee will have a clear understanding of the effect their efforts have on the whole operation. This is a great motivator.
Pro-tip: another way to help your new Zoomer employee feel valued is to clarify career frameworks at your company. Explain to them what you understand by progress and growth, what skills and experiences they should gain, and what will help them get promoted and climb the career ladder at your company.
Make sure your company is no place for ageism
Almost half of Zoomers (45%) claim that they expect challenges working with older generations, particularly Baby Boomers. 17% feel working with Gen X might be problematic, while 5% feel the same way about Millenials.
A lesson to learn from this? When onboarding Gen Zer’s, you need to make sure they don’t feel discriminated against by older colleagues. If you lead a multi-generational workplace (and today – who doesn’t?), treat this diversity as a value, not a problem.
- Educate your employees on workforce diversity and its positive outcomes. Also, consider bringing cultural intelligence practices into your company;
- Refrain from criticising Gen Z workers for things like looking at their smartphones more often than older workers. Instead, get curious – perhaps they are using technology to enhance their work performance;
- Organise knowledge transfer sessions between the employees of different generations;
- Value Zoomers’ authenticity in communication, working style, and work-life balance. You have as much to learn from them as they do from you;
- Avoid generational stereotyping.
create a vivid workplace social culture
Your company is not only a place where employees perform their duties in a communication vacuum. It is also a territory for information exchange, socialisation, and shared experiences of different kinds.
This aspect of employment is especially important for Zoomers: 90% appreciate a real human connection with their colleagues. Healthy, dynamic workplace culture can allow such a connection to thrive.
Here’s what you can do to facilitate it:
- Find the balance between authority and equality in day-to-day communication between senior and junior employees. Zoomers will not respond very well to the traditional command-and-control management style. Respect each other and address young hires as equals, while exercising your authority by means of providing guidance and counsel. A firm hand is great, but don’t overdo it.
- It is great to organise a common space in your office where workers can gather and chat during breaks. And it is not necessarily a kitchen/canteen. If your space and budget allow, think of creating a social gathering room with board games, books and journals, and pleasant background music. Such spaces will also allow workers – both younger and older – to unwind and re-energise.
Invest in mental health practices and resources. It is no secret that Gen Z cares about their mental health. Providing them with resources that can help them combat such issues as professional burnout, stress, and other mental health problems will make them feel supported within your company. You can start small: spread useful reading materials and psychological help hotline numbers at your workplace. Or, take it a step further and incorporate anti-stress practices into your workday for everyone who is willing to participate.
Support outside-of-work initiatives. For example, connect with Gen Z’s genuine concern with climate change. Encourage employees to make eco-friendly decisions or raise money to donate to green charities.
Cater to remote workers, too
Another thing to keep in mind – Gen Z is more used than any other generation to working remotely. The COVID-19 pandemic has only intensified the trend: 69% of Gen Zer’s claim they prefer working from home most of the time, even if coming back to the office is an option.
That’s why onboarding young employees for remote positions is no less important than welcoming a new hire in the office. Make sure you can cater to their immediate needs, such as:
- A swift and convenient system of communication. Create a company/ branch chat where your workers can welcome and guide the young employee.
- A sense of belonging. Fresh Gen Z hires, especially those working remotely, may feel distanced from the rest of the employees, and your job is to involve them in the team. You can use the onboarding buddy tip here – let them stay in touch with the new hire and provide necessary help and communication. Also, organize video meetings and check-ins where they can share their working experience and concerns with colleagues and superiors.
- Team-building. Discuss case studies, solve problems, brainstorm – all of these events can be organised online and make remote employees feel more engaged with the rest of the team.
Onboarding Gen Z employees can seem puzzling – new generations call for new approaches and ideas.
With Zoomers, however, it’s not so hard. What these young professionals look for in the professional sphere is recognition, value, transparent communication, and dynamics.
You can demonstrate these qualities in the process of onboarding and show the new hires that you appreciate their enthusiasm and vision. In response, they will commit and work hard onside.
Author: David Morneau – Co-founder and CEO of inBeat
Photo credit: Jason Goodman on Unsplash