Millennials have overtaken baby boomers to become the largest portion of our workforce. But just as employers are finally getting used to millennials’ values and habits, there’s another generation entering the working world—generation Z.
Millennials, originally known as generation Y, were born between 1980 and the mid-1990s. Generation Z consists of those born between the mid-1990s and 2010, so they’re starting to reach adulthood. The oldest among them are college-aged and will soon be seeking full-time employment.
Gen Zers—or post-millennials—are even more technology-dependent than millennials. They’ve never known a world without laptops or cellphones. Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram are to them what video games and MTV were to those of us who grew up in the 1980s. (That would be generation X; if you’re keeping track.)
For employers—and that includes MSPs—attracting Zers will require a basic understanding of what makes the post-millennial generation tick. If you thought millennials were individualistic and independent, know that Zers are even more so. Teamwork isn’t their thing.
Post-millennials tend to be creative and have a keen sense of branding. To them, shopping is an online experience, as opposed to going to the mall or the shops downtown. Zers, despite some accusations to the contrary, don’t have strong material attachments. It’s a trait that has been passed on from millennials and likely stems from having the world virtually at their fingertips with their smartphones.
As post-millennials start to enter the workforce, MSPs should prepare for them. Here are four tips for hiring generation Z workers:
Place job postings in multiple platforms, including Glassdoor, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. Optimize them for mobile since post-millennials are even more attached to their smartphones than their generational predecessors.
Like millennials, Zers aren’t 9-to-5ers. They prefer flexible hours and like choices in work locations. While you can’t always accommodate location preferences, at least give them the choice of working from home part of the time if possible.
Generation Z has a short attention span—about eight seconds, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. They’re used to consuming information in quick bites. So don’t beat around the bush when making a job offer and setting expectations. Be concise.
The days of vague promises of advancement “if you do well” are over. Zers want to know from the get-go what their prospects for career opportunities and promotions are. If they feel stuck in place, they’re bound to bail.
We often make too much of the differences between generations. While millennials and Zers certainly bring new ideas and customs to the workplace that should be accommodated, employers shouldn’t overstate the differences. Instead, focus on what each generation can learn from each other and figure out ways to get them to work together.
Pedro Pereira is a Massachusetts-based writer who has covered the IT channel for two decades. Recognized as one of the first journalists to cover managed services, Pedro continues to track, analyze and report on the IT channel and the growing MSP partner community.
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