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Understanding Gen Z: Striking the Balance and Owning Your Offer

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Charlie takes a view on navigating Gen Z's expectations as employers: Embracing change, confidently upholding your unique offer, balancing demands, and promoting a positive future.

Fresh off the back of the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) conference in Manchester and what a great time it was! A hotbed of insights, it was buzzing with industry pros sharing the latest thinking on Early Talent. If you've not been yet, it's a must! A standout discussion, ‘Attract and engage a generation who want it all!’ really got the gears in my head turning.

It was all about Gen Z and how we're causing a bit of a stir when it comes to graduate roles because of our expectations from employers. Now, being part of Gen Z myself, I couldn't help but feel a bit distanced from the Gen Z being described. So, I thought I'd share my perspective on how to strike the right balance.

Gen Z – They Mean Business:

We're Gen Z, and we want it all, right? Purposeful work, work-life balance, societal impact, and a solid pay packet. It's a lot to take in and even more to deliver. But here's the thing: it's not about being intimidated. Instead, we should view it as a chance to grow, to instigate some positive changes. It's time to embrace Gen Z, to see our 'demands' as opportunities for both you and your organisation.

Enough Is Enough, Or Is It?

One question that kept popping up at ISE was about knowing when enough is enough. Balancing the needs of Gen Z while keeping an eye on the company's bottom line is a tough act. It's essential to realise that meeting every demand might not be feasible or beneficial in the long haul.

So here are my thoughts, coming at you straight from a Gen Z perspective, on maintaining this delicate balance:

  1. Be Confident in Your Offering:

The competition for top talent is fierce, no doubt. It's all too easy to feel the pressure to cater to each of Gen Z's wishes. But, let's not lose sight of the opportunities and offerings you bring to the table.

Rather than feeling overwhelmed, let's take a moment to assess why someone would want to join you. Remember, the impact you can have on a graduate's life goes beyond ticking off their wishlist. Stick to your core values and unique culture. It's more than just salaries and work-life balance – it's about creating meaningful roles that will attract the right fit for your organisation.

  1. Embrace, But Stay Grounded:

Working with Gen Z doesn't mean you have to lose sight of your company's ethos. It's about recognising the evolving employment landscape and using it as a springboard for positive change.

Gen Z's expectations can inspire us to re-evaluate some business priorities, like embracing ethical practices, sustainability initiatives, and community engagement. By acknowledging Gen Z's influence, we can shape a brighter future while staying true to our core values. Embrace the positives and lead with impactful change.

Perhaps it's high time to consider a Graduate-specific Employer Brand Proposition?

In Conclusion:

At the ISE Conference, Gen Z was painted as a demanding bunch, but that's not always the case. As we dive into this year's graduate campaigns, let's keep in mind that it's about finding the sweet spot between meeting expectations and preserving our values. Just don't get me started about Generation Alpha - we can save that discussion for another day. 

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About Author

Charlie Nicholls
Charlie Nicholls

Charlie joined Tonic in 2018 and works in our Client Advisory team.

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