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You’re going to need a very flexible style of recruiting, leading and perhaps thinking in order to be successful with the young people who were born after the millennials.

The members of this next generation – Generation Z – have interests, values and expectations that are very important to them, and you will need to be adaptable in your business, your approaches, and maybe even your thinking if you want to get them to join your equipment distribution or manufacturing company and stay. 

Everything you say and do, and the culture you create as a leader, needs to be relevant and meaningful to Gen Z. They are, after all, poised to begin making a significant impact on and contribution to the national and global economy and, hopefully, your company!

About Gen Z – The Good News
An estimated 61 million individuals born in the mid-nineties have begun to enter the workforce.
They are creative, open-minded, innovative, and fun-loving – which is good. In addition, and contrary to what many people think, there are numerous studies that reveal the majority of Gen Z are willing to work hard – which is also good! This is largely due to the fact that they watched their parents struggle during the economic crisis of 2008.

More good news: According to the Washington Examiner, Gen-Z high school grads are starting to opt for trade school or blue collar jobs that pay well. The reason is that they don’t want to spend half their lives paying off college debt or have a job where they have to take work home – which just might be more good news. In addition, The AED Foundation has been doing a great job of generating interest in the industry and providing training and certification.

Important Things You Need to Know About Gen Z
Rest assured, it won’t be easy to recruit, hire and retain members of this generation. Nevertheless, you can’t ignore the necessity of doing so. Below is what you need to know about them.

Like everyone else, Gen Z wants a good wage, but they want it with the potential for higher wages in the near future. They also want benefits. Be brutally honest in your interview. Break it down and explain how they’re going to be compensated. Will they be paid hourly? Will there be a commission or bonuses? Let them know about opportunities for getting a raise. Gen Z likes to know that they can grow and move up within the company.

Members of Generation Z are skeptical – more skeptical than millennials. They tend to be distrustful of promises people, leaders, and institutions make. For that you can thank their exposure to societal turbulence, data breaches, negativity in general, and an entire parade of horrible stuff marching past their eyes and ears daily in the news, whether real or fake. To allay their suspicions, you’ll need to sell your company and your culture in your ads and during the hiring interview. You will also need to be honest about what the job entails. Be aware of the importance of demonstrating authenticity, transparency, and your company’s core values during the hiring interview and forever. Everyone in your company should do the same, or your new hire will never stay.

Why You May Need to Change Your Culture
Gen Z cares about making the workplace and the world a better place. They care more about health and safety, life balance, and gender and racial equality than any other age group. In a study of 5,000 members of this generation by Medium.com, a whopping 76% stated that they care deeply about the environment. It would be wise to shape your culture and values to include and reflect all of these issues. This holds true regardless of the size of your company. Don’t think you can fake it. Gen Z will smell that a mile away.

Happiness Should Be a Strong Part of Your Culture
Fifty years ago, you never heard anyone say a word about workplace happiness. Today, however, it gets talked about a lot. That’s because workplace happiness is something employees in the 18-35 age bracket commonly expect to enjoy, regardless of where they work.
 
Gen Z, as well as the millennials, want to be happy where they work. Indeed, a recent Wells Fargo survey revealed that a massive 88% equate success in life not with affluence, but with happiness. So it’s not a stretch to say that your young employees want to be happy in both their personal lives and their jobs. Then again, who doesn’t? But the thing about millennials is they see it as a birthright to be happy where they work – and if they’re denied happiness, they’ll move on to somewhere they hope will make them happy.

How to Make Gen Z Happy? Make fun fundamental.
Hold contests. Have frequent cookouts. Go river rafting or bowling. Host an annual Employee Appreciation Day event. Invite them to join a Young Leaders’ Problem-Solving Idea-Sharing Club. Give them rewards for great suggestions. The idea is to give your younger people fun and gratifying events they can look forward to.

Gen Z wants training. By all means, put your Gen Z technicians through certification training, but don’t neglect to give parts and service employees training on how to handle difficult people and situations. Explain at the start that dealing with difficult people simply comes with the territory. 

Manufacturers offer product sales training, but they don’t offer sales training. Give Gen Z sales communication training, negotiating, and time and territory management training as well.

These are just a few things to consider when it comes to today’s new workforce. One thing is for sure – it will be harder to retain Gen Z, so do your best. The equipment manufacturing and distribution industry must be able to understand Generation Z to ensure they will enter the industry feeling well supported, valued, and willing and able to help carry companies into a successful future.

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