Part 2- Gen Z: who are the new generation of coders & how do you onboard them?

Part 2

77 percent of Gen Z candidates said the way a company approaches diversity would effect whether they would work with them
Via Deloitte: Welcome to Gen Z

Last time we learnt that…

If you haven’t already, it’s time to shift your graduate hiring focus to Generation Z. Generation Z is the name given to all those who were born from 1995 onwards. They’ve never known a world without tech and because of that, they are perfect for the technology industry. It’s something that is second nature to them.

In part 1 of this blog series we learned that this generation is keen to jump straight into work after education. They know what they want and are fiercely independent. 

Technology is at the forefront of everything that they do, after all, they’ve never known a world without it. As a result of this, they are attracted to companies that use or have cutting edge technology as a core product. It all sounds like good news for the tech industry.

Ultimately, throughout all of this, they want to feel like they are making an impact on the world around them.

We’ve covered attracting and interviewing Generation Z in our previous blog, now, it’s time to look at what the next steps are. So, we are going to tackle just that, onboarding, and most importantly, retaining this talent.

I’ve found the perfect Gen Z candidate. How do I make sure my onboarding process is flawless?

Your Gen Z candidate has accepted your offer and you’re ready to start the onboarding process. From here until their first day, you need to ensure a smooth journey. An awkward onboarding process is only going to put them off before they have even completed their first day! So how can you create that flawless onboarding experience?

Preparation is key

It’s no secret that Gen Z likes to be prepared. As confessed ‘self-starters,’ their ambition to work makes them eager to hit the ground running. Prepare them as much as possible before they start by sending over any information they might need or want to know before starting. Do you send information packs as part of your onboarding process? If not, consider creating an information pack that features:

  1. Company overview and history.
  2. Company beliefs, mission and values (remember that Gen Z are highly motivated by values they can get behind.)
  3. Insights and case studies from your existing employees.
  4. Bios on the team so they have a little bit of information on who they’ll be working with before they arrive.
  5. Prepare them for the role. Share further reading on what they can expect, more about their role and even who they can connect with on LinkedIn.

Be creative too, don’t just stick with the corporate information. Consider adding in other useful information such as:

  1. Local restaurants and where to find lunch.
  2. Transport options- closest stations and buses for public transport. Do you have places to store bikes or walk to work schemes?
  3. Is there a local spot where the team usually grabs a beer after work on a Friday?
  4. Do you host pizza lunches every now and again or other lunches they can look forward too?

Automate

Gen Z are a tech savvy bunch, we know this. They use technology where they can to make their everyday lives easier and they’ll expect you to do the same in the workplace. Communicate these technologies with them, so they’ll know what to expect on their first day.

Think about using technology in your onboarding process too. By doing this, you’ll automatically smooth out the whole process. Just remember – a messy and awkward onboarding process will only make them think life as your employee will reflect this! Consider providing them access to a portal with all the relevant documents they will need. Small things make a big difference too, such as, online contracts that provide virtual signing for ease of use.

Values first

Lead with your purpose. Keep your mission and values at the heart of all your communications with your Gen Z candidate. They are mainly motivated by working for a cause they believe in, especially if it has a positive impact on society, so don’t be afraid to talk about this. When allocating initial projects for them to work on, keep this in mind! Do you have any CSR initiatives or programmes? If so, give an overview of these to your new starter. Include key details such as how they can get involved, and the type of role they could play in these programmes or groups before they start so they can get stuck in from their first day.

How do I retain my Generation Z candidate?

According to Clear Company, these are the top 5 reasons why Generation Z employees leave:

  1. Lack of transparency and trust given by their employer
  2. The company demonstrates a lack of compassion surrounding diversity
  3. They aren’t working in an autonomous environment
  4. No focus or understanding from their company about mental health or well-being
  5. Lack of flexibility or work-life balance

But let’s focus on the positives.

Here’s how you can retain these excellent employees:

Growth opportunities

A ping-pong table, beer taps and office dogs are nice and all, but these are the perks you would have used to impress millennials. Gen Z has a different list of priorities. According to LinkedIn, the No.1 motivator for a Generation Z is career advancement going hand in hand with financial incentives. Almost 60% are interested in learning professional skills in order to make more money so make sure you’ve got means to offer this opportunity. A recruitment-software company, Entelo, awards their employees $1,000 each year to invest in further education and professional development.

Don’t manage them, mentor them. Assign various employees as mentors who can help grow and progress their career. Don’t forget to switch the roles too once in a while. Although they are keen to learn from someone else, they also want the opportunity to be a mentor too.

Use the latest tech

  1. Video conferencing- you’re trying to connect with a generation that has grown up with Skype and Snapchat, video calling for them, is nothing novel. They prefer this method of communication over email, it allows them to connect instantly with their colleagues around the globe. Because of this, invest in a collaboration platform that offers video calling and instant messaging.
  2. Seamless collaboration- Just like video calling, the cloud is also something Gen Z are expecting your company to have. Deploy cloud tools throughout your business to ensure your employees can access a document from anywhere in the world or work collaboratively with a colleague.
  3. Voice control- I don’t know about you, but I grew up in a world where being able to play Snake on my mobile was the best functionality it had. So just imagine a world where your mobile and your home has always had a voice assistant present. It’s no wonder that they want to see these scattered around the workplace too! It makes routine tasks that much easier to complete, such as; scheduling / starting a meeting, taking notes and memos (most are integrated with Office 365 and G Suite calendars now,) and even sending emails.

According to Staff base, Gen Z want to see these 6 technologies embrace by their employers:

  1. 41% said social media
  2. 27% said wearables (such as Apple watches)
  3. 26% said virtual reality
  4. 20% said the use of robotics
  5. 18% said massive open online courses
  6. 14% said augmented reality

Embrace their independence and entrepreneurial spirit

69% of Generation Z employees would rather have their own private workspace. With Millennials it was all about open spaces and communal areas, but Gen Z want to see the walls going back up. If you’re one of the many companies that have taken down the walls, consider placing ‘phone booths’ or pods in areas so that your employees can work by themselves if needed.

Generation Z are great at identifying problems and solving them on their own by working independently. They’ll scan the web for tutorials and answers and value their independence. Something to be kept in mind when working with them. Keep this in mind when assigning group projects and tasks.

Embrace their entrepreneurial spirit. According to Accounting Principals, Gen Z are 55% more likely to want to start their own business when compared to Millennials. They love to soak up knowledge and want to learn as much as they can so allowing them to do this could see your company reaping big benefits. Sony did just this. One day at Sony, a junior employee had an idea after playing around with a Nintendo. And from that idea, PlayStation was born.

Show your caring side

CSR, diversity, equal pay and equal promotional opportunities. All of these are expected from your company. Although it’s expected, you can’t just say this is what you’re doing, you’ll have to show a genuine interest and be authentic about it. Companies that aren’t providing any of these will lose their appeal or even worse, will fail to retain their Gen Z candidates.   

The truth is, more than 77% of Gen Z candidates say that the way a company demonstrates diversity, affects their judgement, with those not embracing it losing out. If you feel like your company is making efforts to create a more diverse workforce but isn’t there yet, be open about these efforts, they’ll be appreciated. As one Generation Z employee says:

“Just because you’re trying to appeal to us doesn’t mean you have to try to be like us … If you’re authentic, you will stand apart from your competition because authenticity resonates with Gen Z.”

Just to recap

  • When on boarding:
    • Keep their journey as smooth as possible
    • Send over content and materials ahead of their start date for them to prepare as much as possible.
    • Use automation tools where you’ve previously experiences delays or bumps in your onboarding process previously.
    • Keep your values and company mission at the forefront of everything you do.
  • Once your Gen Z candidate has been successfully been onboarded:
    • Highlight progression and development opportunities, but make sure you see these through.
    • Put mentorship programmes in place to help aid their development but also allow them the chance to mentor other colleagues.
    • Use the latest tech to ease everyday tasks.
    • Embrace their independence.
    • Keep authenticity at the heart of everything you do.

If you enjoyed this blog, or found this advice useful, try these other blogs out: “Tech Leaders: are you truly harnessing the power of agile working and inclusion” and “Steps for improving your interview process.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for advice on any of the topics mentioned above, give us a call on 0117 4280600.


Engineering, Information Technology, Resources