In a job market where employers find it harder and harder to fill positions available in their company, the solution to their problem may already be solved. . . and it makes up over 20% of the world’s population, today. Over the next three years, Gen Z will make up roughly 27% of the workforce. One out of every four employees will be part of this new, younger generation. Take a moment to think about that. But, between estimates of the population today, and of the workforce of tomorrow, we first must challenge ourselves to stop and listen, so that we might understand what it is the next generation is looking for. 

In a generation built upon ingenuity and independence, there has also been paved a way for a great deal of divisiveness. Not just between the new and older generations, but between themselves. This is important when taking into consideration our first bullet: Purpose. To make a difference, and be educated in prior generations experience. A “university of experience,” so to speak. One that, as we know, comes at no small price. They’re looking for something driven —someone driven to take them under their wing, and shape them into the future leaders they are destined to be. 

Feeling purpose in your workspace isn’t determined by how much work you are entrusted with. Your worth isn’t determined by how much work you are entrusted with. True sense of purpose in the workplace comes from an aligned set of core values, which should be brought into the forefront of the interview process. You can’t put an hourly rate on respect, and value. If these core values align with what this modern generation believes in, work begins to feel less like a load of responsibility, as much as it is an opportunity, and a platform to make a change. To make a change in, and through your company today, and tomorrow.

Let’s begin this second bullet with a few common misconceptions. Firstly, the misunderstanding that all of Gen Z is reluctant to work. Granted, there’s always going to be a few bad eggs in a generation, who are constantly on the lookout to break the system, for their own selfish gain. But, just as the case is in every generation, as well, Gen Z is made up of a group of highly innovative (as we’d mentioned) and scrappy workers, who truly have put their name on the phrase “work smarter, not harder.” I think a very beneficial example of such a thing would have to be their savviness when it comes to technology. Technology, however — with its great advances, and enhances to society — can come at a price. Over saturation in the market of your product can lead you to blend in with the competition, seemingly with no way to to set yourself apart. Enter Gen Z . . . This newer generation not only has a wonderful gauge on “what sells,” alongside “what not to do” in today’s social media takeover, but also had a huge part in making it the platform we know (or don’t know very well, for some), today. This is a very valuable asset to have on your team, and one of the many reasons that hiring younger, now, will be beneficial for you, and your company’s future.

Secondly. . .

Often, an employer thinks that because an employee is young they can pay them less. The truth is, the younger generation — and the rest of us, as I’m sure we all can agree — wants fair pay for the work that they are doing. On the subject of payment, as well, I would like to point out that “pay” doesn’t always come down to dollar signs, and benefits. These are very formative years we are borrowing time out of. So how does that benefit them, and help them work toward their future? These are questions every company needs to ask themselves when looking to hire young.

Pay in currency is just part of what the next generation is after. They want a safe space, where they can enjoy investing their time. After all, if you love what you do, and where you do it, it isn’t truly work.

Flexibility and stress loads are another major factor in career decisions for Gen Z. Statistics show that this current generation has dealt with more stress related issues than any other, before them. It seems, every time we click on the tv, or feel a buzz in our pocket, some major world event is just hitting us. We are currently living in some kid’s history book, some twenty/thirty years from now. That can take a lot out of someone, let alone someone who’s still trying to get everything figured out. If an employer allows for flexibility, that can go a long way. 

As members of an older generation, it’s our responsibility to lend a helping hand to those who are struggling, or are confused. To those who might feel that the world can be too much, sometimes. Because, at the end of the day, the older generation has a history —somewhere for them to look back on their experiences, and pull from. But the “new generation” is just that: new. They’re still creating their history. They are history in the making.

So now that we have a better understanding of what it is the next gen is looking for, as leaders, we need to ask ourselves, “where do I fit into this next generation?” What is our legacy?

In order for both our company to grow alongside our new hires, we need to focus on getting out of our comfort zone. Get out of your own way. Nothing grows when it’s comfortable. I mean, you could look at a flower, and say that it thrives in the comfort, and stability of its pot, but that’s not true growth. When you plant a seed, you know what it is going to grow into. Where it’s supposed to end up, and all the steps to get it there. Like we’d touched on in my previous bullet, this current generation doesn’t have that. There’s no “before and after” picture on the box, before you plant the seed. This next generation represents growth with no limits. And, I feel, that we need to take advantage of this uncertainty, instead of fearing it. The kind of growth I think we should be promoting, is a growth of unlimited possibilities. Unlimited, all thanks to the aid of doing things the way we don’t know how / haven’t done, before. 

And I think that the best way to scout out these new ways of thinking, is to work together with these young minds. After all, they’re the ones who are going to be leading it, someday.

 In conclusion, it is wise for a company to have ears to hear what tomorrow’s leaders are saying, today!

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