There is an array of articles about Millennials in the workplace. Now, another generation is coming of age. Gen Z (whose members were born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s) are the “new kids” in the workforce. Fortunately for manufacturers, there are some similarities between what Millennials and what Gen Z want in a workplace. However, as is the case for any generation, not all members of Gen Z will follow every trend. With that in mind, most of Gen Z is looking for four main things at their jobs: mentorship, career growth, fulfilling work, and stability.
Much like Millennials, Gen Z members want feedback about their work. If they are doing something right, they want to know. One great way to give this feedback is to set up new employees with a more seasoned employee as a mentor. If you decide to implement a mentorship program for your shop, it doesn’t need to be fancy. However, before you start this program, it’s important to make some guidelines for things like how often the mentor and mentee should meet, and if the pair should be in the same department. Whatever guidelines you choose, the point of this program is so that new hires can meet and talk comfortably with someone more experienced at the company.
In general, Gen Z is looking to learn new skills and take on new roles within their company. It’s useful if their manager can help them follow this path. If there is a usual route to take to get to management and beyond, Gen Z employees may want to know about it. If your shop doesn’t have a typical route, then managers should go over a general road map of how employees can get promoted. Many people in Gen Z are ambitious and want to grow within the company, but if they don’t have a way to do that, then they could look for another job somewhere else.
Another characteristic that overlaps with Millennials, Gen Z wants to know that they are making a difference with their job. It’s easy to see how some shops make a difference. Any shop that makes medical instruments, or works with non-profits can easily show how they impact the world around them. Other shops may need to be more creative. This can include fundraisers for a worthy cause, or collecting needed items for natural disaster relief or local charities. Another way to impact the community around your shop is to give employees days off to volunteer or to organize a day when your shop will volunteer as a group. Gen Z will feel great about working at a shop that cares and the community at large will feel grateful that your shop calls that place home. It’s a win-win.
Many people in Gen Z saw their parents lose their jobs because of the Great Recession. Now that members of Gen Z are getting full-time jobs of their own, they may be worried about losing their jobs too. One of the best ways to show Gen Z that they have nothing to worry about is to be transparent about how the shop is doing. Make sure everyone internally knows its goals and when you meet or exceed them. Also, make sure everyone knows if the shop has been profitable or not. If not, share the plan to turn things around, and if it’s true, tell your employees that no one will be laid off due to the slowdown. If folks in your shop, including Gen Z, are worried that they could lose their job, they may try to find another job first to avoid being laid off. Being upfront with your employees is one way to put their fears to rest.
Four of the biggest things Gen Z members are looking for in a job are mentorship, career growth, fulfilling work, and stability. If your shop is already offering some of these features, then you’re ahead of the curve, and you’ll want to highlight these things when you’re recruiting. If not, you may find it easier to get and keep younger employees if you implement one or more of these. The rest of your workforce will probably appreciate them as well.
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