Jan 22 • 2 min read

Millennials have been one of the most talked about and studied generations ever, particularly when it comes to their behavior in the workplace. This year, as members of Generation Z (generally defined as those born after 2001) graduate college and begin to enter the job market, employers must consider the impact of a whole new generation.

Aaron Mitchell, BBA ’04, following his time at the Fox School, earned his MBA at Harvard Business School and is currently the head of talent at a major financial services firm. With more than 10 years of experience in talent acquisition and HR strategy, we asked Mitchell to share his thoughts on how employers can prepare for Gen Z.

What’s unique about recruiting and attracting Gen Z?

Gen Z grew up getting information from a search bar. Their level of digital engagement is putting HR on the forefront in a similar way to how marketing is on the forefront. This year, Gen Z really became part of our target population. They show up to events in larger numbers than millennials did, and they come prepared with lots of information. They know what our employee value proposition is; that means we have to make sure our message is clear and consistent. Gen Z puts a greater responsibility on organizations to deliver on their promises.

What should companies take into consideration when hiring them?

You see a lot of companies refining their messaging on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, or even SnapChat. You even see companies like Airbnb having a “head of employee experience” instead of a head of HR. Gen Z is coming into the workforce significantly more diverse in America than generations prior. Their diversity may be a natural forcing mechanism to help organizations truly learn to integrate difference.

What kind of organizations do you think are best prepared for Gen Z?

Organizations need to be consistently thinking about how to be nimble and succeed with difference—that’s the focus. The organizations that are able to work well with Gen Z are probably the same ones that do a good job of integrating women, people of color, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and LGBTQ people. Many organizations have grown more agile over the last 10 years as they considered how to work with millennials, so hopefully working with Gen Z won’t feel like nearly as much of a shock.

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