Well, we knew this day would come. I mean, it was inevitable what with the oldest millennials (myself included, depending on who you ask) turning 40 soon. There was only so long The Olds could continue speaking about millennials as if they are some baffling force fueled by Cap’n Crunch and cellphone radiation, but now that we’ve succeeded in ruining literally everything and are settling nicely into the cynicism that comes with old age, it’s time for old folks to find some new hand-wringing targets. Tag, Zoomers, you’re it.
We haven’t talked much, if at all, about Gen Z around these parts because at least for me it makes me feel old as hell to realize they’re starting to graduate from college and — gasp — enter the workforce. As with previous generations, the cutoff is not universally agreed-upon, but broadly speaking we’re talking about folks born mid-to-late ’90s so try to keep up, old people.
Alright so today I opened up my Inclusion Solutions (*cringe*) newsletter from the AICPA and saw this article linked at the bottom. Ah cool, I thought, finally Gen Z gets some attention. I really don’t understand how I have even a shred of optimism left after all these years of doing this, I should have known long before I clicked that it was going to let me down.
Let’s start with the headline: “To Hire the Best of Gen Z Make Your Job Like a Gig.” Oh yeah, I totally see where this is going. I bet they’re going to say Gen Z prefers a “gig-like” workplace and support for their side hustle which they are definitely working not because our dumpster of an economy requires it but because those crazy kids just love a hustle! Right?
Strategy 1: Support side jobs
The gig economy has transformed the workplace and the workers who encompass it. It’s not that everyone wants to work a gig job, but side hustles have become a norm.
According to the study from The Workforce Institute at Kronos and Future Workplace, 46% of Gen Z currently participate in the gig economy in some way. The study also found 1 in 5 Gen Z employees (18%) have two jobs – a side gig in addition to their main job. That’s a number employers should not ignore.
Rather than discourage employees from taking on a side hustle, forward-thinking organizations should show they embrace and encourage these gigs and passion projects. Doing so presents a golden opportunity to increase engagement, strengthen employee loyalty, increase productivity, and be known as an employer of choice among all entrepreneurial job-seekers. As much as Gen Z is attracted to the gig lifestyle, only 10% are working at it full-time.
Called it. Sure, support for passion projects is great and all but is Gen Z following in millennials’ footsteps when it comes to side hustles because they want to, or because they have to? Let’s just move along.
Strategy 2: Be flexible
What is it about gig jobs that most attracts Gen Z? It starts with flex appeal. 55% of survey respondents said that the most appealing benefit about working in the gig economy is schedule flexibility. On the flip side, they fear the lack of stability (47%) and unpredictable pay (46%) the most.
These results provide a useful glimpse into what Gen Zers are looking for in their working environment. Are your workplace policies rigid, or do you embrace schedule flexibility? Seeking flexibility in schedules is not unique to only Gen Z workers. This is something every employee – regardless of generation – desires.
Yeah no shit. Breaking news: human beings like to be able to make doctor appointments during work hours without having to beg the boss, losing pay, and sacrificing no less than one virgin to an angry volcano. What a revelation. OK this is starting to piss me off, let’s just get through this.
Strategy 3: Communicate about career, mission and money
According to our survey, Gen Z is enticed to work by quick advancement, independence, and the ability to earn more money. Perhaps more than any other generation, it’s paramount Gen Zers see their career path, how they are contributing to the mission, and what their next career milestone is with their employer.
Title and advancement in the workplace matter to Gen Z employees. In fact, they measure success not just by their title, but how quickly they advance. Gen Z workers are looking for their employer to provide a clear and defined path for how and when they will get promoted.
While not exclusive to Gen Z employees, money also matters. Despite all the anecdotal evidence that’s been published about Gen Z caring most about the mission, among 16-18 year old Gen Zers surveyed, 39% say they are most likely to measure their success by how much money they make.
OK you know what, I’m done. Once again, this applies to everyone. Literally no one takes a job and says “you know what, pay me whatever you want, I don’t care about money!” I mean sure, lots of people won’t say out loud that money matters but come on.
For anyone interested in other sweeping generalizations about Gen Z, apparently they’re impatient, printer-less, addicted to their phones, hate hold music, and won’t sign email attachments when asked. Man I can’t wait to see what they plan to ruin. The torch is yours, darlings, now go forth and burn some shit down.