New Era of Employment: Unraveling the Gen-Z Impact from apc’s Latest Webinar

by | Aug 1, 2023 | Blog

In an era where technology thrives and a generation of digital natives takes the world stage, the employment landscape is facing unprecedented shifts. On the forefront of this transformation is Generation Z (Gen-Z), a group that’s grown up with iPhones and lives at the crossroads of digital and humanistic experiences. Their influence spans across all industries, prompting a significant redefinition of hiring paradigms. The recent webinar “Hiring for Gen-Z – How Emerging Customer and Employee Expectations are Changing the Face of Hiring,” featuring esteemed panelists from renowned brands, dissected these changes, offering valuable insights.

Gen-Z: A Unique Workforce Demographic

As panelist J.D. Barnes from Hilton highlighted, Gen-Z has an ardent enthusiasm for the brands they admire. This generation thrives on engaging content and authentic narratives, forcing businesses to adapt. No longer can they rely solely on traditional recruitment channels. Brands must embrace social platforms like TikTok and Instagram, delivering bite-sized content that highlights the benefits of their employment offerings.

Brands must also understand the differences between Gen-Z and their millennial counterparts. Where millennials feel connected to legacy brands like Hudson’s Bay, Gen-Z tends to view them as relics of their parents’ era. To counteract this perception, Chris Stamper of Hudson’s Bay mentioned their innovative approach of employing in-store creators, who double up as approved brand ambassadors on social channels. This not only elevates their brand among younger audiences but also gives employees an empowering voice.

Emerging Tools for Gen-Z Engagement

To effectively communicate with Gen-Z, companies are leveraging modern tools that blend seamlessly with their tech-centric lifestyle. An example comes from Taziki’s Mediterranean Café. Julie Wade discussed an upcoming app that aims to gamify training, thereby transporting in-store experiences to the palm of an employee’s hand.

Ruth Crowley from Hudson Group further emphasized the importance of technological adaptation in today’s retail scene. During the pandemic, Hudson noted an increasing consumer desire for control, prompting the deployment of self-checkout options and digital aids to their associates. By making vital information readily accessible, they ensured that their employees could match the pace of their digitally savvy customers.

Elevating Employee Engagement: A Crucial Factor

Employee engagement is transforming in the Gen-Z dominated workforce. A key understanding provided by Chris Stamper indicates that conventional practices, such as prolonged periods in the office, may not align well with the younger workforce. Stamper notes that for Gen-Z, 4 days in office is too much, a perspective that encapsulates this generation’s need for flexibility and autonomy. As a response, some companies, such as Hudson’s Bay, are adapting to these shifting expectations by implementing forward-thinking strategies like unlimited vacation policies and an 8-week ‘work anywhere in the world’ program. These flexible policies champion a work-life balance that resonates with Gen-Z, simultaneously infusing a sense of thrill and independence that can enhance both employee morale and output.

Yet, effective engagement of Gen-Z extends beyond the realm of flexible work policies. According to Stamper, what really matters to this generation includes “having meaningful work, a great boss, being compensated fairly, and the opportunity to contribute and grow in their career”. This highlights the fact that Gen-Z is not just looking for a paycheck but desires purposeful roles where they can make substantial contributions, fair pay, and opportunities for growth. In line with this, many companies are establishing roles like ‘in-store creators’ as brand ambassadors, enabling employees to play a more active part in the company’s mission and fostering deeper workplace engagement. In summary, grasping and responding to Gen-Z’s evolving work preferences is crucial to nurturing a motivated, satisfied, and high-performing team.

Revolutionizing Work Culture

The Gen-Z workforce values work-life balance significantly. A law in Canada prohibiting after-hour work communications, mentioned by Chris Stamper, reflects the global trend of respecting personal boundaries. At the same time, flexibility, opportunities for career advancement, and an engaging culture are paramount in retaining this workforce.

Another groundbreaking initiative is Hudson’s ‘pay everyday’ option, which was well received by employees. However, Julie Wade mentioned that Taziki’s similar scheme had a lukewarm response, with more excitement generated by their unique ‘path to ownership’ program, indicating the desirability of career growth opportunities among Gen-Z employees.

Work flexibility also translates into the work-from-home culture. The pandemic has forced a rethink of traditional work models. Many businesses, like Hudson and Taziki’s, have adopted a mixed approach, allowing employees to split their week between home and office.

The Gen-Z work ethos is disrupting traditional norms. They are a generation that values networking and personal growth, often preferring to be in office for intentional learning and collaboration. They appreciate environments that offer meaningful work, fair compensation, and most importantly, flexibility.

Prioritizing Employee Well-being

EJ Kritz’s remark that “Gen-Z is a generation that works so they can live their life versus live to work” encapsulates the shift in workplace values. Mental well-being has taken center stage, with brands like Hilton providing resources for mental wellness and encouraging personal growth through initiatives such as sabbaticals for charity work.

It’s clear that the new era of employment requires companies to understand and adapt to the unique traits and demands of Gen-Z. Brands must ensure they deliver an experience that caters to Gen-Z’s preference for digital interaction, work-life balance, and personal growth while ensuring a humanistic connection is not lost in the process.

With the insights shared during this webinar, it’s evident that hiring for Gen-Z is not just about filling job vacancies. It’s about forging a partnership with a generation that values purpose, transparency, and authenticity.

Nurturing a Culture of Recognition

Recognition goes a long way with Gen-Z, as Ruth Crowley pointed out. Employees want to know they are valued and play a crucial role in the company’s mission. Initiatives like sales contests, employee-of-the-month awards, and public acknowledgments of their efforts cultivate a positive workplace environment. When employees feel appreciated, they are more likely to stay engaged, motivated, and loyal to the company.

Promoting Employee Empowerment and Ownership

As Julie Wade explained, Taziki’s unique ‘path to ownership’ program is an example of how businesses can offer a sense of empowerment and ownership to employees. By giving them the opportunity to own a part of the business, the company not only boosts their morale but also motivates them to work with more dedication and passion. Such strategies encourage Gen-Z employees to view their job not just as a means to earn a living, but also as a platform to grow personally and professionally.

Leveraging Technology to Enhance Employee Experience

J.D. Barnes from Hilton mentioned how companies are increasingly using technology to improve the employee experience. From digitized training modules and performance trackers to employee engagement platforms, technology is becoming an integral part of the workplace. Embracing technology not only aids in meeting the digital expectations of Gen-Z but also helps businesses operate more efficiently. In this age of information, brands need to pivot their thinking and take advantage of technology to enhance the employee experience.

Preparing for the Future: Building a Gen-Z Strategy

As Gen-Z becomes a dominant force in the workforce, businesses must prepare to meet their unique needs and expectations. This includes adapting to their digital habits, providing flexibility, nurturing a culture of recognition, promoting mental well-being, and offering opportunities for growth and empowerment. Brands must be proactive in understanding Gen-Z, identifying the trends that resonate with them, and tailoring their strategies accordingly. As EJ Kritz aptly pointed out, Gen-Z is a generation that works to live their life, not live to work. The future of work lies in acknowledging this change and evolving alongside it.

New Era of Employment: Unraveling the Gen-Z Impact from the Latest Webinar

The Gen-Z Wave is Here

It is unmistakably clear that the Gen-Z wave is not just approaching – it’s already here. Their unique set of values, digital inclination, and desire for meaningful work are reshaping the face of hiring and employment. The insights gleaned from our distinguished panelists underscore the importance of adapting recruitment strategies to resonate with this new generation of workers. By adopting a Gen-Z-centric approach that promotes work-life balance, prioritizes mental well-being, and fosters an environment of recognition and empowerment, brands can position themselves as desirable workplaces for this digitally-native workforce.

The task at hand is two-fold: understanding Gen-Z and translating this understanding into actionable strategies. It’s about creating a workplace that not only attracts this dynamic workforce but also engages and retains them. It’s a new era of employment, one that requires flexibility, adaptability, and a keen sense of the evolving digital landscape.

Are you ready to ride the Gen-Z wave? Need help strategizing your approach to attract, engage, and retain the Gen-Z workforce? Our team of experts are equipped to assist you in navigating this transformation. Reach out to us today to learn more about how you can adapt your hiring strategies to meet the expectations of this new generation. Don’t just wait for the future of work to arrive – be a part of shaping it.