HR Strategy

How Gen Z is shaking up the workforce

“They’ll be the dominant workforce here soon…From my perspective, it’s a good shift. It’s not all about stockholders. It’s about the people, too.”
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Meredith Graham

3 min read

No cap: It’s pretty cheugy if companies don’t rethink their HR strategies for Gen Z.

And brushing up on their slang could be a good place to start, especially since Gen Z is on track to overtake Baby Boomers in the full-time workforce this year, according to Glassdoor’s 2024 Workplace Trends report.

Meredith Graham, chief people officer at IT consultancy Ensono, shared with HR Brew how the rise of Gen Z is impacting her company, and how she’s rethinking recruitment and retention as a result.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What are some key trends you’ve seen among Gen Z workers?

Gen Z is just very interested in innovation and also coming into a company where their values are aligned with the values of the company. So, I feel that Gen Z is much more purpose-driven than the other groups, the older groups. So, when they’re looking at companies, they want to make sure that their values are aligned, and a lot of the time, that means that [companies] are doing some sort of good and giving back to communities.

[Gen Z] doesn’t have the same debts and obligations that probably some of the older workers have, and so they are easier to go and find different roles…and are willing to accept probably a little bit less than compensation, again, to make sure that they feel like they’re being heard and that they really enjoy their work.

What recruitment strategies have you implemented at Ensono to appeal to younger workers?

Definitely social media, reaching out in various forms on social media and just explaining who we are, and the impact that you can have within our organization…We’ve featured a lot around career stories and featuring individual associates that have grown and been promoted up into the organization, vertically and/or horizontally in different technologies. So, really focusing on the opportunity to grow your career, but then also, being able to see the people that you’re meeting and that you’re going to be working with is important. Because again, it’s about the enjoyment of work. It’s just not all for that paycheck, but it’s making sure that you’re enjoying what you’re doing.

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You mentioned moving horizontally in the company. Is that an opportunity Gen Z wants?

What we’ve seen is just in the younger generation, that Gen Z generation, they come on board and they have a job, maybe their first job or a second job. But, when they start to [use] a technology, there’s so many new technologies that are coming into play—[like] AI and developing that in organizations—and I think that [Gen Z workers] want the opportunity…to move into those different technologies to learn more. It’s about being able to develop and grow, and learn different things and be challenged.

What changes do you think Gen Z is making in the workforce?

When I started work, it was a very different feel. Employers treated their employees differently, and I think that shift is coming from a lot of Gen Z coming into the workforce. [They’re saying] we want to be valued. We want to have more focus on our careers versus just being a cog in the wheel. We want companies to be able to give back to the community. We want companies to say that they’re doing more than just making sure that the shareholders get paid. So, I think that there is definitely that shift, and a lot of it is coming from this group of the Gen Z that’s coming in. They’ll be the dominant workforce here soon…From my perspective, it’s a good shift. It’s not all about stockholders. It’s about the people too.

Quick-to-read HR news & insights

From recruiting and retention to company culture and the latest in HR tech, HR Brew delivers up-to-date industry news and tips to help HR pros stay nimble in today’s fast-changing business environment.