The ABCs Of Adapting Your Business To Generation Z


Whatever you want to call them, digital natives, the connected generation, the iGeneration, the latest generation that is approaching entering the workforce is putting the industry on notice as they struggle to adapt to Generation Z, said Celia Harper-Guerra, global head of talent acquisition at Illumina.

In a workshop at the Women of the Channel event, hosted in New York by CRN publisher The Channel Company, Harper-Guerra addressed the issue of recruiting and engaging the biggest generation yet, and the biggest part of the population staged to enter the workforce.

"We've got this new generation coming up and all they want to do is be online ... and they want to be connected," Harper-Guerra said in her workshop. "They don't know anything different. They came and the Internet was already here. They just figured out how to make really good tools and use those tools."

 

[Related: 10 Truths Characterizing Millennials In The Channel]

Generation Z is the sequel to the Millennial Generation, usually classified as born in the mid-1990s or later. It's a whole new ballgame with this new generation, Harper-Guerra said. Generation Z approaches the hiring process and the on-the-job tactics differently, and businesses today need to adapt to make sure they are bringing on the best talent, she said.

In the hiring process, Harper-Guerra said the first step is to make sure that company values are clearly established. She recommended making sure there is an Employer Value Proposition in place, to show Generation Z applicants who all are looking for the company's bigger impact.

"It becomes your DNA; it becomes who you are. People want to be part of something bigger and it's about the calling for Generation Z," Harper-Guerra said. For Generation Z, it's all about the big, lofty ideas.

To get the Generation Z applicant through the door, it's all about being real and being mobile accessible. Harper-Guerra said that Generation Z isn't going to want to go through the paper application process, or even the company website, to apply for a job. They are going to want to be able to apply quickly on their phones, she said. That means companies need to adapt their applications and branch out from the traditional company website job listing. The job posting should entice applicants with strong company values and larger implications of the job, but without overembellishing.

"Generation Zs aren’t going to apply for jobs -- they are going to select a company," Harper-Guerra said. "They're going to search out a company that fits into who they are. It's about their calling and their purpose in life."

Looking beyond the company website, sites like Glassdoor.com pose a threat if not embraced, Harper-Guerra said. For them, it's all about the "like," she said. Generation Z cares more about what their peers can weigh in about a company.

"That's where the Generation Z is going to be going. They're going to be looking for the real-time, authentic information about your company," Harper-Guerra said. "You need to really figure out from the marketing perspective, how are you going to get the authentic real word [out] about your company?"

NEXT: Once A Generation Z Is Hired, How Do You Keep Them Around?