Managing Generation Z
eBook - ePub

Managing Generation Z

How to Recruit, Onboard, Develop, and Retain the Newest Generation in the Workplace

Robin Paggi, Kat Clowes

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eBook - ePub

Managing Generation Z

How to Recruit, Onboard, Develop, and Retain the Newest Generation in the Workplace

Robin Paggi, Kat Clowes

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About This Book

Expert advice on attracting, training, managing, retaining, and succeeding with America's newest generation of hard-working, tech-savvy employees.

A new generation is entering the American workforce—Gen Z, the age cohort born after 1996. Having grown up with smartphones, social media, emoji-speak, helicopter parenting, and no expectation of privacy, Gen Z has a unique culture and working style that can be baffling to their Millennial, Gen X, and Baby Boomer managers.

In Managing Generation Z, Robin Paggi, a veteran HR manager, and Kat Clowes, an educational consultant who has worked with hundreds of Gen Z'ers, join forces to give employers and managers a practical, easy-to-understand guide to the new generation defining the future of work. Based on Clowes's in-depth knowledge of Gen Z habits and Paggi's real-world experience of how generational miscommunications can cause expensive personnel problems, Managing Generation Z gives managers at all levels a plan for getting quality work from Gen Z employees while avoiding cultural clashes at the office.

Gen Z is highly educated, extraordinarily tech-savvy, eager to meet expectations, and loyal to employers, but many Gen Z workers have never been trained in the basics of professionalism, workplace communication, and the unwritten social rules older generations instinctively expect. Managing Generation Z teaches managers how to bridge the communication styles between Gen Z and older colleagues, how to train Gen Z staff to make work objectives clear, and how to evaluate and correct Gen Z employees so they will listen, accept, learn, and improve.

Like having an expert HR manager at your fingertips, Managing Generation Z is essential reading for both front-line supervisors and C-level executives who want to get the most from the newest generation in the workforce.

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Section 1 Takeaways

• Recognize the Gen Z gems.
• Find the Gen Zers who will help your company.
• Perfect your hiring process.
• Know what you want: experience or talent.
• Choose your interview questions carefully.
• Test—legally—to finalize the process.


Some of you may be thinking that hiring and training Gen Z workers sounds like it could be a lot of trouble. It could force you to learn new techniques and think about your employees from a new point of view. Is that really necessary? Maybe you don’t expect to have any trouble filling vacancies for a while and you assume that anyone you hire will be happy just to have a job—any job.
This book was written in the spring and early summer of 2020 as millions of people were losing jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. In that climate, employers might be tempted to think it won’t be too difficult to find workers or replacement workers if their new hire doesn’t work out. But your company could soon regret not having some enthusiastic Gen Zers on board, for a number of reasons.
They’re Techies
For starters, Gen Z has skills your company needs. Hundreds of employers, HR professionals, managers, and supervisors whom I’ve talked to overwhelmingly say that being tech savvy is this generation’s greatest strength.
Do you understand the differences between Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter and how all of them can be used to reach your potential customers? Has your company struggled during the pandemic to adapt to virtual meetings or find long-distance substitutes for in-person sales and marketing efforts? Would you like to have an employee who seems to intuitively grasp all the finer points of Zoom? Or one who could tell you where all the young people went when they left Facebook? Then you need some Gen Zers in your office.

Employers React to Gen Z

They are able to do research on the internet—they google everything or YouTube it so they can find an answer or how to fix something. So, they have the answer in a matter of minutes instead of the old-fashioned way of going to the library, checking out a book, and then reading it; or they find an expert in that field to tell them or teach them.
As we get older, we tend to resist change—especially new technology, although once we learn it, we usually can’t live without it. Gen Z can help you plug into the latest programs and gadgets, and you might be surprised by how quickly you come to rely on an app or tech device once you’ve seen how helpful it can be. According to a Forbes article by Robert Glazer, “A 2019 Pew Research study found that 68% of Baby Boomers own smartphones and 52% own tablets. That technology use is about to leap upward (because of the coronavirus).”7
Employing Gen Z workers and helping them feel empowered and engaged can help your company make the most from rising technology use—for both your employees and your customers.

They’re Younger

According to “Marist Mindset List for the Entering College Class of 2023”:
• The primary use of a phone has always been to take pictures.
• PayPal has always been an online option for purchasers.
• YouTube has become the video version of Wikipedia.
• There have always been “smartwatches.”8
There are 61 million Gen Zers, so you are not going to be able to ignore them for long. And they’re coming along at just the right time to help replace all the Boomers who are hitting retirement age. In fact, you may soon discover that a number of your Gen X employees are also looking to retire or find a new career path, especially with the global pandemic upending so much of “normal” life.
“Many Gen-Xers will likely come out of all this thinking long and hard about what they really want to be doing for the remaining few chapters of their life,” according to Glazer. “I expect a lot of voluntary and involuntary career changes.”9
So, who will replace all the Boomer and Gen X employees who are deciding to step away from your company? The Gen Z wave is coming.

They Can Be Practical

Gen Zers were children and adolescents during the recession of 2008. Many of them saw parents and family members lose their jobs, their houses, their retirement accounts, and their sense of security. So, Gen Zers tend to be more risk averse and to seek more stability, which means we’re less likely to see them bounce around from company to company as Millennials have tended to do. Gen Zers tend to look at jobs more practically.
In addition, Gen Zers are used to testing and metrics because they grew up participating in high-stakes testing at their schools, which needed to hit certain benchmarks to avoid funding cuts. So workers from this generation are likely to meet or exceed expectations—as long as those expectations are clearly communicated and documented.

They’re Magnets

If you make your Gen Z employees feel valuable and engaged, they are likely to attract other qualified Gen Zers who want to work at your company. One of the best ways to attract highly qualified applicants of all ages is to build a great reputation as an employer. Your employees are living advertisements for your business, and you can ensure that they say good things about your company if you make your organization a great place to work.
How can you make sure your company is a great place to work? Of course, it never hurts to offer higher pay and better benefits than your competition. But it requires more than that. Companies that made Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list in 2020
• demonstrate they care about their employees and put them first;
• give employees autonomy and support;
• are transparent;
• provide a work-life balance and flexible work schedule;
• cultivate an inclusive and diverse culture;
• provide opportunities to learn and grow; and
• are philanthropic.10
Having happy Gen Z employees will attract more Gen Zers who will be valuable additions to your firm. The next chapter offers other tips for finding great Gen Z workers.
7Robert Glazer, “COVID-19 Will Permanently Change the Way Every Generation Lives—Here’s How,” Forbes, April 1, 2020,
8Marist College, “Marist Mindset List for the Entering College Class of 2023,” accessed June 1, 2020,
9Glazer, “COVID-19.”
10Fortune, “Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For 2020,” accessed May 29, 2020,


Even when millions of people are looking for a job, it’s not always easy to find just the right person for your company. And Gen Z workers may be harder to find because their job searches may not be following the “traditional” paths.
It is highly unlikely that Gen Zers will ever answer your classified ad in the newspaper, and not many of them will stop in and ask about the Help Wanted sign in your window. If you want to find great Gen Z candidates—or have them find you—you’re going to have to get in the social media game.
Consider this: in the first quarter of 2020, more than 2.6 billion people logged on to Facebook every month,11 more than 166 million people actively used Twitter every day,12 and 690 million people had a LinkedIn membership.13 So, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you discount the impact social media can play in employee recruitment—even if you think Facebook is silly, have no idea how to tweet, and have not looked at your LinkedIn account in years.
Social media is especially important if you are trying to attract Gen Z workers. The Center for Generational Kinetics calls social media a carefully curated lifeline to and for Gen Z.
According to Laura Hill, CEO and executive recruiter of Pinnacle Recruitment Services, social media isn’t just for Gen Z. “Social media has become a go-to resource for us in almost every candidate search. We continue to see our business rely heavily on it as all generations become more technologically advanced.”14
Here are some tips for setting up a Gen Z–friendly application process:
• Allow applicants to apply on their mobile device. Although about 95 percent of Gen Z members have a smartphone, fewer of them have access to computers.
• Make the application process quick—it should take less than fifteen minutes.
• Make sure applicants can save the form and return to it later if necessary.
• Allow applicants to express interest in a job online before beginning the formal application process. If you do that, you can connect with the ones you want to apply.
• Promptly notify applicants that their application was received and let them know about the next steps in the process.

Online Attraction

Your company’s website is one of your most powerful tools for finding job candidates. Post job openings there, but do more than that—use your website to make people want to work at your business. Post pictures of company events, positive employee testimonies, your mission statement and company values, and other messages that communicate your company culture.
Job boards are another powerful tool to reach Gen Z workers. You can advertise openings on a variety of generalized online job boards, such as Monster and Indeed. But look for the more specialized job boards to get the best results. For example, I’m a member of the Kern County Society for Human Resource Management, so the society’s job board is the perfect place to post when I’m looking for HR candidates.
If your firm has a Facebook page, you can always post your job opening there. However, you will probably get better results if you buy a targeted ad so you can ensure that more of the right people will see it. Facebook will allow you to choose your exact audience and then offer different options and price levels.
When posting on ...

Table of contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright
  4. Dedication
  5. Table of Contents
  6. Introduction
  7. Section 1: Open the Door to GEN Z
  8. Section 2: Hire Them
  9. Section 3: Welcome Them
  10. Section 4: Train Them
  11. Section 5: Work With Them
  12. Section 6: Avoid Problems
  13. Section 7: Keep Them Healthy, Safe
  14. Conclusion
  15. Acknowledgments
  16. Index
Citation styles for Managing Generation Z

APA 6 Citation

Paggi, R., & Clowes, K. (2021). Managing Generation Z ([edition unavailable]). Linden Publishing. Retrieved from (Original work published 2021)

Chicago Citation

Paggi, Robin, and Kat Clowes. (2021) 2021. Managing Generation Z. [Edition unavailable]. Linden Publishing.

Harvard Citation

Paggi, R. and Clowes, K. (2021) Managing Generation Z. [edition unavailable]. Linden Publishing. Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2022).

MLA 7 Citation

Paggi, Robin, and Kat Clowes. Managing Generation Z. [edition unavailable]. Linden Publishing, 2021. Web. 15 Oct. 2022.