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Recruiters BEWARE! Prepare For Gen Z

First published on LinkedIn.

Congratulations to the Class of 2023!!

Gen Z has inspired some leaders, especially those in charge of hiring and HR, to see the power of Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace.

It's a game-changer in four major ways:

  1. It boosts productivity and profits.

  2. Diverse candidates at the decision-making table lead to better decision-making overall.

  3. Embracing diverse employees gives you a competitive edge.

  4. When all these things happen, your brand gets a major boost. It's a win-win situation.

If companies want to attract and keep young talent, they’ve got to step up their game with new policies. These policies need to promote flexibility, belonging, authentic commitment, accountability with consequences, employee resource groups, and have more representative leadership.

So what is Gen Z looking for? Below are some common questions Gen Z are asking during the interview to assess an organization's authenticity and accountability.

What Gen Z Say: How does the organization prioritize Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging?
What Gen Z Mean: Does the organization allocate resources to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging?

Here's the deal: Gen Z isn't all about chasing big bucks in their careers -- only 32% of them think that way. Instead, they're more focused on making a difference in the world. A whopping 39% of Gen Z want to leave their mark and seek employment where their contributions are truly valued.

A staggering 83% of Gen Z have made it clear that a company's commitment to Diversity & Inclusion is a major factor when they decide where to work. They want to be a part of a team that embraces DEIB. And get this: if a company's Diversity & Inclusion efforts don't pass the "Gen Z test," 75% of them would think twice about applying. That's a lot of potential talent slipping through the cracks!

Gen Z is shaking things up. They're not just changing the workplace; they're REDEFINING it! As the most diverse generation ever, they're challenging everyone around them, both inside and outside the office, to recognize the importance of Diversity & Inclusivity. They've got a knack for starting conversations about politics too, even at work! A study from October 2022 found that both Gen Z and Millennials are more inclined to discuss politics on the job. Talk about breaking barriers!

What Gen Z Say: Could you tell me how the organization celebrates employee achievements?
What Gen Z Mean: Do you provide promotional opportunities, bonuses, and raises?

Gen Z is not just about settling for fair wages—they've got big dreams and ambitions too. A staggering 76% of them expect to get promoted within 12 months of starting a job. And 32% of Gen Z even believe they deserve a promotion within the first six months of their very first job. They're not afraid to work hard and go after what they want. But at the same time, they don't feel they have to compromise their happiness or mental well-being to achieve success!

Speaking of ambition...Gen Z is all about reaching for those management positions. 60% of them are interested in climbing that career ladder and becoming leaders. They've got their eyes set on the top, and they're ready to work for it.

But it's not all about money and titles for Gen Z. They're also looking for stability in their careers. They want to grow and develop, but they also want protection against rising costs and the possibility of a recession. They're thinking ahead and taking steps to secure their future.

Here's something we can applaud them for: Gen Z is not shy about talking openly about pay, and they're not afraid to advocate for livable wages. It's a sign of their determination and willingness to fight for what's fair and equitable.

What Gen Z Say: What does a successful employee look like at the organization?
What Gen Z Mean: What does the growth path look like for a top performer?

According to Glint's 2021 Employee Well-being Report, nearly three-quarters of Gen Z respondents want more career development and entrepreneurship opportunities. They're hungry for growth and eager to explore new horizons.

If businesses want to hold on to their Gen Z employees, they've got to bring their A-game. That means offering dynamic and engaging career pathways. No one wants to feel stuck in a dead-end job, right? We need to provide innovative and collaborative forms of working that keep our Gen Z crew excited and inspired. And, let's not forget about continued learning and development. They want opportunities to keep growing, and we should support them every step of the way.

So, let's create exceptional work environments where learning and growth are at the heart of it all. With training programs, career development opportunities, and a commitment to our Gen Z team members, we'll keep them motivated and thriving. Together, we can build a workforce of the future that's constantly leveling up and achieving greatness!

What Gen Z Say: What is the organization's view on employees managing commitments outside of work?
What Gen Z Mean: Does the organization value employee well-being and work/life balance?

A whopping 69% of Gen Z care the most about work/life balance. They're all about finding that sweet spot between work and play.

So, what can leaders do to make everyone happy? Well, they should take a good look at the company's employee value proposition (EVP) and address the needs of both Millennials and Gen Z. Elevating well-being is key. If leaders weave well-being into the company's DNA and take a humanized holistic approach, it can make a world of difference. Well-being is like a magic potion that covers a wide range of awesome programs and benefits.

There are so many factors that influence employees' lives and overall well-being: purpose, social connections, financial security, physical health, community engagement, and mental and emotional wellness. To really nail it for Millennials and Gen Z, companies should have programs and services in place that cover most, if not all, of these areas.

Now, here's something to keep in mind. Gen Z workers tend to feel the weight of stress and anxiety more than other generations. Nearly half of them, 46% to be exact, say they're stressed or anxious all or most of the time. And women, in particular, feel the impact even more. Mental health should be integrated throughout the organization, with policies and programs that truly care for the whole employee, and value their personal and professional wellness.

What Gen Z Say: What was one of your favorite days at work and why?
What Gen Z Mean: Do you like your job? Is there a good culture?

Companies also need to understand that if they want diverse individuals to feel comfortable contributing to business decisions and expressing their ideas, they must foster a diverse and inclusive culture. It's not enough to simply have one representative from a particular group as a token gesture or to fulfill "diversity metrics." True diversity should permeate throughout the entire organization.

In a recent survey conducted by Deloitte, it found that only 23% of Gen Z plan to stay in their current jobs for more than five years. Even more concerning, 40% of them express a desire to leave within just two years, indicating a high level of dissatisfaction among this generation.

Interestingly, when it comes to job satisfaction, certain roles stand out. According to Glassdoor, the top-rated jobs for Gen Z workers are corporate recruiter, marketing manager, social media manager, data scientist, and product manager. These roles have one common factor—they provide Gen Z workers with the opportunity to influence company culture and make a broader social impact.

This is all just a taste of how Gen Z is pushing back on employers.

They aren't afraid to speak up and ask the tough questions. So, here's the deal: being prepared is key, and it ties back to workforce planning and talent management. Gen Z needs to learn about the workplace, no doubt about it. But employers who meet them halfway and prioritize their needs have a massive advantage in holding onto top talent.

Feeling connected is crucial. When you feel seen, heard, and valued, you can be your true authentic self, and feel free to share your thoughts and opinions without fear of retaliation, humiliation, or retribution. In other words, you feel psychologically safe. It gives you confidence that you'll be given a fair chance to succeed, judged solely on your contributions.


In honor of Juneteenth, my LinkedIn Learning courses will be FREE for 24 hours!! If you haven't already, be sure to join the community of 300k+ learners who are LinkedIn Learning Certified in Diverse Recruiting and DEIB Data Proficiency and Accountability. Be sure to check my posts on LinkedIn on Juneteenth!


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  • Immigrant Heritage Month - Established in June 2014. It gives people across the United States an opportunity to explore their heritages and celebrate the shared diversity that forms the unique story of the United States. It celebrates immigrants across the United States and their contributions to their local communities and economy.

  • Caribbean American Heritage Month - Established in June 2006. It honors and celebrates the rich and diverse culture of the Caribbean American population.

  • Native American Citizenship Day, June 2 - Commemorating the day in 1924 when the U.S. Congress passed legislation recognizing the citizenship of Native Americans.

  • National Loving Day, June 12 - References the names of Mildred and Richard Loving, who fought against the laws restricting them and other interracial couples from getting married.

  • LGBTQIA+ Equal Pay Awareness Day, June 15 - This day raises awareness about the wage gap experienced by LGBTQIA+ folks.

  • Juneteenth, June 19 - This federal holiday honors the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas and Louisiana finally heard they were free, two months after the end of the Civil War.

  • National Indigenous Peoples Day or First Nations Day, June 21 - Gives recognition to the indigenous populations affected by colonization in Canada.

  • LGBTQIA+ Pride Day in the United States, June 25 - It commemorates the Stonewall Riots that occurred on June 28, 1969.

Until next month... Be well and stay safe & healthy!


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