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COO’s Corner: Hiring & Retaining Gen Z

Move over, Millennials. On the cusp of their professional careers, Generation Z (born between 1996 and 2012) is joining the workforce at an opportune time. As businesses continue to rebound following the pandemic, this presents a large array of opportunities for the next generation of employees.

Who exactly is Gen Z?

Don’t get confused; while Gen Z shares a number of characteristics with Millennials, their formative years have shaped different attitudes and outlooks on the world today.

Here’s a rundown of Gen Z characteristics:

  • Digital Natives
  • Visually Oriented
  • Financially-Minded
  • Shrewd Consumers
  • Increase in Mental Health Awareness
  • Politically Progressive
  • Diverse

Gen Z has the unique experience as the first generation to grow up with technology at their fingertips. They don’t recall a world without the internet, smartphones or social media. But tapping into this new generation of digital natives has become more strategic than ever before, even platforms like TikTok are piloting their own job site.

As our agency continues to grow, we’re thrilled to open our recruiting efforts to persistent, creative individuals with strong critical thinking abilities. We’re currently growing across all departments with opportunities in PR, content marketing, social media and digital marketing.

So, as businesses push to hire Gen Z, how can we attract them? To draw and retain this new generation, employers need to be more strategically personal, get social and promote opportunities for advancement.

1. Double-Down on Campus Recruitment

Gen Z is on track to be the best-educated generation yet, according to the Pew Research Center. Among 18 to 21-year-olds no longer in high school, 57% enrolled in a two-year or four-year college compared to 52% of Millennials in 2003 and 43% of Gen X in 1987.

For companies looking to recruit this demographic, establishing strong relationships with colleges and universities is a great pathway for referrals and connecting with up-and-coming talent.

At All Points, we’re committed to building connections with nearby universities through our AP University Initiative. This program is designed to strengthen partnerships with on-sight visits, speaking engagements and agency tours. Despite COVID, we’ve upheld our mission and hosted virtual tours and Q&As with our staff to educate the next generation of the public relations industry.

2. Use social media to enhance corporate culture

Considering their connection to the digital world, social media is the most ideal way to attract and engage Gen Z. Use this opportunity to your advantage by promoting your company across social channels, raising your awareness and showing off your company’s unique culture.

According to a survey by Tallo, 87% of Gen Z respondents feel it’s important to build a professional brand online. Take a page from their book and make sure that your culture is accurately reflected across all channels.

If you look at our social platforms, you’ll get a glimpse into the life at APPR. From employee Instagram takeovers to agency seminars, and appearances from our office dogs, Cubby and Ivy, we give a well-rounded perception of what our agency life is like. I always encourage all applicants throughout the interview process to take a look at our blogs, social media and website to fully understand the ins and outs of the agency and our clients.

3. Promote Learning and Development

Gen Z is highly motivated to grow their careers, with 76% seeing learning as the key to their advancement, according to a LinkedIn workplace study. As newcomers to the professional world, emphasizing growth opportunities is key to Gen Z retention.

We offer several programs across the agency for development, including our mentorship program and employee development courses. We see education as an opportunity to invest in our employees’ careers while adding value to our clients.

In reality, there’s no secret to success when it comes to hiring Gen Z professionals. This a dynamic and highly skilled generation of workers, and the best thing businesses can do is understand their needs and be ready to adapt to meet them.

Check out our current job openings here!

Lauren Izaks is the COO and executive vice president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

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