Dr. Colleen Batchelder

Want to Attract Gen Z Talent? Understand These 4 Truths

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Do you want to mix it up and add some Gen Z faces to the boardroom?

That’s great. Every company should be looking outside their employee pool and inviting more people to the party.

Now you might see a vast crowd of fresh graduates, and assume that you can just bait your hook and catch the big one. But, let me give you a piece of advice, simply casting your rod won’t reel in this fish.

You need to try harder and connect with this generation differently.

If you want to attract Gen Z talent, you need to understand these four truths.

Related: ARE YOU LOOKING TO MENTOR MILLENNIALS? READ THIS FIRST

Truth #1: Gen Z are Nothing Like Millennials

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Memorize this. Please write it down. And paste all over your office.

When Millennials first entered the workforce, they automatically stepped into a hierarchical leadership structure. Generation X and Baby Boomers ran the show, and much of the office was still stuck in the 1960s.

It wasn’t an ideal environment, but for the most part, Millennials sucked it up, got to work, and continued to dream about a lateral and equitable future.

Now, some things have changed. And Boomers and Xers compromised here-and-there, but the workplace, in general, still caters to employees who vie for the corner office, sit at the table, and want a 24/7 career without a social life.

Related: GENERATION Z DOESN’T TRUST YOUR BUSINESS: HERE ARE 4 REASONS WHY

Truth #2: Gen Z Doesn’t Care About the Old Ways

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You’ve heard it said, “If it’s not broken, then don’t fix it.”

Gen Z believes that the majority of things are broken, and they should be fixed. And who can blame them? For years, Millennials tried to change the workplace from the inside out. They compromised and played by the old rules––but the old rules were broken. And, in many ways, they needed a complete overhaul.

Gen Z wasn’t going to play the same game. They saw the frustration from their older peers and decided that their work experience would happen on their terms and be played by their rules.

Hence, cancel culture.

Related: 3 Ways CEOs Can Support their LGBTQIA+ Employees

Truth #3: Gen Z Doesn’t Trust You

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According to Pew Research Center: “Unlike the Millennials – who came of age during the Great Recession – this new generation was in line to inherit a strong economy with record-low unemployment. That has all changed now, as COVID-19 has reshaped the country’s social, political, and economic landscape. Instead of looking ahead to a world of opportunities, Gen Z now peers into an uncertain future.”

Gen Z doesn’t trust the establishment. And they don’t trust you. Think about it. This generation has witnessed their Millennial siblings struggle with student loans, an insane recession, and a global pandemic.

Gen Z isn’t going to buy it when you tell them that your company is the greatest. They want to see it––they want more than your word. If you want to gain their trust, you need to take your time. Give Gen Z the chance to know you and see your character for a while. This generation won’t jump in with both feet––they want to dip their toes in and go at their own pace.

They also have a hard time trusting you because of how they grew up. Remember, the shooting at Columbine happened during the teen years of Millennials. But, Gen Z can’t remember a time when they weren’t hiding in closets or listening for gunshots while trying to understand their multiplication tables.

Related: IS YOUR COMPANY DIVERSE? ASK THESE 3 QUESTIONS AND FIND OUT

Truth #4: Gen Z Wants More than Beer Pong

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Okay. It’s true.

When Millennials first entered the workforce, they redefined their workplace environment. They wanted the glitz and the glamour. And applied to companies with the best quidditch teams, LED screens, and rooftop parties. Now, they moved the pendulum forward towards progress, but in many ways, they settled for painted hallways and open office spaces instead of fighting for equitable policies.

Millennials changed the feel of the office without transforming the company’s vision. Generation Z wants to do more––and they expect companies to follow their lead.

If you want to attain Generation Z expertise, you need to consider their demands, be willing to shift your ideas, and, most importantly, learn these four truths. If you start here, you’ll gain their attention and their talent.

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As a Leadership Strategist, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, Executive Coach, and National Speaker, I help leaders create companies where Millennials and Generation Z want to work. My doctoral background in leadership and global perspectives also gives me an added edge because I approach generational dissonance from all directions, including from an anthropological, theological, sociological, and ethnographic lens.
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