Generation Z is about to join your workforce - are you ready?
A view from Sean Talbot

Generation Z is about to join your workforce - are you ready?

Sean Talbot, head of audience and content at GradTouch and a member of Media Week's 30 Under 30 2017, shares his lessons from the ladder.

Generation Z continues to flow into the working world. Paired with the younger members of the millennial generation, they are bringing with them a change: people increasingly want to work for small companies over large organisations.

In the search for transparency, personality and disclosure, the next generation of top talent has already made waves in HR teams across the country in other industries, and agencies will have to adapt too.

At employer branding agency GradTouch, I’ve been specialising in giving large corporations a more personal employer feel for five years, with a particular focus on the young job-seeker market. 2018 will be the year employers open up in order to scale up.

Increase transparency

When it comes to up-and-coming talent, 48% of students would not choose an employer if they do not know enough about them. HR and talent teams across the country have been adapting endlessly for years as each generation of brings with it a shift of focus.

Today’s need to work for a company you believe in and can truly get behind has seen an increase in transparency across all industries. For most, opening up and being more transparent means highlighting your ethos, work culture and belief system. For example, do you give to charity? Does your product harm the environment, and do you even care?)

You must showcase all of these things, make it easier than ever for people to Google you and find the answers to the questions they have, such as, "What is it actually like to work there?" With a website and all the social media you can think of at your disposal, there really is no longer an excuse not to do this.

For agencies in particular, opening up can also include your work. Good work will always speak for itself, but it can no longer stand alone in talent acquisition as it once may have. Impressive creative work paired with a visible culture of respect, however, is something you can market.

It’s also worth noting that, although every agency wants its clients to think its team is bigger than it probably is, this mentality isn’t always going to work when it comes to talent acquisition. 2018 job seekers aren’t looking for their work and ideas to get lost in an endless pyramid of personnel. They want to be able to see exactly where they’ll slot in, and more importantly where their work will shine.

Value the talent you already have

Much like "new customer only" deals that forget about existing, loyal customers, talent acquisition can often forget about retention - which plays a bigger role than you may think in the attraction stages.

Let prospective employees know you’ll value them by valuing your current team. Retention can play a major role in attraction if you’re able to display that all the hard work doesn’t stop as soon as someone signs on the dotted line. A valued team of people who love where they work is everything you need to attract the next top talent, and you can do that in a great number of ways – the best way to start is with the employees themselves. Speak to them, ask them where they don’t feel valued, and enact real change.

Instead of having a web page that showcases just your work, have a page that showcases the people who worked on it, too. Linking work to individuals allows prospective employees to see the connection between human success and business success, and what role they can play in achieving both.

Believe in young ideas

As Generation Z begins to enter your workforce - the first generation who’ve been digesting your online campaigns from a very young age; the generation who’ve been out there navigating this landscape you’ve created, silently and subconsciously ignoring, criticising and appreciating your work - teams all over must prepare and allow for entry-level acquisitions to have their say.

Encourage new talent to come forward and suggest better ways of doing things, and ensure it’s someone’s responsibility to see the best of their ideas realised.

Capitalise on this unique opportunity where you have the first of a generation to enter the working world. They have new perspectives that will very quickly become the norm as the years go on. Value their lived experiences, their opinions and their ideas, and you’ll remain fresh and at the forefront of where you need to be.

2018 is a new landscape for talent teams across every industry, but if you have an honest and innovative approach to acquisition (and retention), you’ll see your teams not only grow, but inspire one another.

Do you think you're the future of the industry? If so, put your money where your thoughts are and enter the 2018 Media Week 30 under 30. Deadline extended to May 25, 2018. Invest in your career here.