As the world continues to navigate the changes brought on by the past couple of years, the future of work is shifting in ways that we could never have imagined. But one thing is for certain, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) is no longer an afterthought, but a core component of business identity. Generation Z (Gen Z), the most diverse generation in U.S. history, places a high value on companies and careers aligning with their values, particularly when it comes to DEIB. Companies who establish authentic, transparent DEIB-grounded cultures & operations will elevate themselves as destination employers of the future.
- From 2022 to 2023: Strategies to Continue
- How Gen Z Differs From Previous Generations
- Authentic Strategies For Attracting Gen Z to Your Organization
- Shifting Your Mindset: Changes to Make in 2023
To help companies build effective strategies to attract Gen Z talent, Untapped’s very own Co-CEO and Co-Founder, Tariq Meyers, sat down with two powerhouse individuals, Kristen Edwards, Human Resources at GCM Grosvenor and Britteny Soto, Director of Talent / HR at BFS - Built From Scratch to share their expert knowledge. Here is a breakdown of what this webinar revealed and what recruiters need to think about for 2023.
From 2022 to 2023: Strategies to Continue
To no surprise, the past couple of years brought many challenges for recruiting teams. A number of factors influenced companies' strategies in 2022 in support of early-career talent and DEIB, including the pandemic, remote work, and the impact of systemic inequities. Tariq asked what Britteny and Kristen would carry forward from 2022 into 2023 as a result.
For Kristen, making DEIB an underlying component in every aspect of the hiring process will continue to be vital, from the initial application to the final offer. GCM Grosvenor does not view DEIB and hiring separately. She explains that their approach is to ensure DEIB is present throughout every step of the hiring process, at every level and role. This includes reworking and dissecting their entire recruitment process, including what interview questions are being asked, to ensure DEIB is embedded throughout.
Britteny agreed with Kristen’s sentiment, adding the importance of transparency every step of the way. She says, at Built From Scratch, candidates are always kept informed, and are given all the necessary details to make an informed decision when it comes to offer acceptance. She acknowledges the concern that providing too much information may deter candidates, but she believes that it's worth taking that risk to ensure that only those who have all the information about the team will proceed.
How Gen Z Differs From Previous Generations
Compared to previous generations, what sets Gen Z apart? For one, they are the most diverse generation, and they are set to make up 30% of the workforce by 2030. In addition, they prefer companies with a strong commitment to DEIB, with values aligned with their own. It's not just about displaying values and providing free lunches. In a distributed environment, it's about leveling the playing field and ensuring everyone has access to the same information.
Britteny points out that Gen Z has experienced a lot leading up to entering the workforce, and this has influenced their behavior and attitudes. They’ve had unprecedented access to information and grew up in a digital-first, technology-enabled world that has had a significant impact on their lives. This exposure has made them more aware of the world around them, and they are not afraid to speak out about the issues they see.
As a result, they are a demanding and proud generation who want to be heard and respected. They want transparency and honesty in their interactions with others, and they are not satisfied with just being told what to do. They want to be involved in decision-making and have a sense of ownership in their work.
Britteny also emphasizes that psychological health is a top priority for Gen Z in the workplace. They are beating down the door for it and want to be heard and respected in this area as well. She further explains, Gen Zers are also disappointed that the world is not what they thought it was, and they are not silent about their disappointment — instead, they are empowered to make a change.
Kristen shares a similar sentiment, noting that Gen Z is pushing companies to be more transparent and authentic in their values and actions. This generation is not satisfied with just hearing that a company has values, they want to see where the company's money and time are spent and how they are living up to those values. They are looking for honesty and integrity, and they want to see companies take real steps toward doing the right thing, even if that means admitting that they are not perfect.
In the interview process, Gen Z is not as focused on compensation as they are on learning and development opportunities. They want to know what growth opportunities will be available to them, and they want to see that these opportunities are supported by the company's structure and culture. Kristen explains that companies need to be aware of this shift in priorities and be prepared to be forthcoming and authentic about their values and actions. They should also make sure that they have a solid structure for learning and development in place so that they can attract and retain talented Gen Z employees.
Authentic Strategies For Attracting Gen Z to Your Organization
- Flexibility in the hiring process: Gen Z values flexibility and doesn't have time for traditional in-person interviews that take up a whole day. Employers can make adjustments to their hiring process, such as conducting interviews via Zoom or only inviting the top candidates for in-person interviews.
- Employee wellbeing: Gen Z values the well-being of not just themselves but also their potential employer. Organizations can demonstrate their commitment to employee well-being by implementing policies and programs that promote mental, physical, and emotional health.
- Authentic storytelling: Gen Z is looking for a workplace that aligns with their values and personal goals. Companies can showcase their culture and values by telling authentic stories about the growth and development of their employees, as well as their involvement in the community.
- Candidate experience: Gen Z values a positive candidate experience and understands the importance of prioritizing well-being centric in the hiring process. Organizations can make sure that their recruitment process is a positive one, by being mindful of the candidate experience and treating job seekers with respect.
- Emphasizing personal growth: Organizations can highlight how they can provide opportunities for personal growth and development for Gen Z employees, by promoting the availability of learning and development opportunities.
- Emphasizing work-life balance: Businesses can demonstrate their commitment to work-life balance by promoting the flexibility of the workplace and highlighting employees who have achieved a healthy work-life balance.
Overall, organizations need to be transparent, authentic, and flexible in their recruitment process to attract Gen Z job seekers. By understanding the values and priorities of this generation, organizations can make adjustments and improvements to their recruitment process and become a talent magnet for Gen Z.
Shifting Your Mindset: Changes to Make in 2023
Despite a reluctance to change hiring practices, it is crucial for organizations to compete for top talent by shifting their mindset. Say goodbye to the “conventional” ways of hiring.
One way to expand the talent pool is to move from pedigree and previous experience to skill-based hiring, shares Britteny. This means assessing a candidate's skills and abilities, rather than relying on their past job titles or education. By focusing on skills, organizations can create an anti-bias hiring process and ensure that they are finding the best candidates for the job, regardless of their background.
As part of the hiring process, Britteny recommends adding a skills assessment. This can be in the form of hypothetical situations or tasks that a candidate would be expected to handle in the job. By introducing this earlier in the process, organizations can better assess a candidate's abilities and ensure that they are a good fit for the job. Formerly a critic of cover letters, Britteny now recommends checking them out more thorough. She points out that cover letters can be helpful for candidates to express how their skills and experiences align with the job requirements. In addition, it is a great way for underrepresented talent to get their foot in the door.
Kristen believes that organizations can streamline their talent acquisition process by implementing a job kickoff call. This call can help align the internal team on the job description, hiring process, and expectations for the role. By identifying must-haves versus nice-to-haves for the role, organizations can ensure that they are attracting the right candidates and providing a clear understanding of the job requirements.
She also recommends improving job descriptions to be more concise and clear. Job descriptions that repeat the same information multiple times or are not specific can discourage potential candidates from applying. By separating required qualifications from preferred qualifications, organizations can make it clear to candidates what they are looking for and what qualifications are required for the role.
This approach can also help to increase diversity in the candidate pool. Historically, women and other underrepresented groups have been less likely to apply for a job if they do not meet all of the qualifications listed. By separating required qualifications from preferred qualifications, organizations can encourage more underrepresented candidates to apply for the role.
The future of work is not just about adapting to the new normal, but about reimagining how diversity and inclusion can be at the core of our business identity. Transparency, equity, and inclusion are vital in every aspect of the hiring process, and it's essential to understand and accommodate the unique perspectives and expectations of Gen Z. At Untapped, we are committed to leading the way in this new era of work and we encourage other organizations to do the same.