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Recruiting the next generation

To recruit the best, employers have long had to consider the less tangible aspects of business, such as ‘employer brand’ and how they might genuinely engage and include the workforce. Recent research from Henley Business School suggests that when it comes to hiring younger workers, your social conscience is a significant factor – in other words, are you ‘woke’?

Henley surveyed workers and business leaders to explore the impact of an employer’s social values on their attractiveness to job hunters. Four different age groups were included – Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, Gen Z – and it seems that younger recruits have some specific criteria…

Our survey says…

To paint a picture in numbers, the headline results were:

  • For 84% of workers, it was important that an employer care about its impact on society.
  • Similarly, 84% of workers would look for an employer with similar values to them.
  • 63% of Gen-Z (born ’95-’05, more or less) are looking to make a positive impact on society with their career.
  • With 72% of employers seeing some kind of social purpose as an important way to attract new recruits, arguably workers and employers are on the same page. (Interestingly, 80% also saw ‘social purpose’ as important in attracting customers).
  • However, just 36% of employers admitted to being significantly focused on having a social purpose.

Attracting Gen-Z employees

While pay, progression and benefits might still be important to today’s workforce (they are), it seems having a broader view of society and the employer’s place in it is potentially going to be a key factor in business success. So, how to attract Gen-Z? What are the practices and policies that make a great employer in the eyes of the post-Millennial set?

Values – Most companies tout some kind of values statement these days, or at least have a sense of what drives them. Gen-Z are looking for inclusivity, conscience, awareness of impact and not just a focus on the bottom line.

Flexible working – To fit with modern lives, employers are expected to offer flexible working options. And interestingly, a previous Henley study noted that flexible working options are connected to increased productivity and employee wellbeing. What’s more, two-thirds of Gen-Z respondents stated they were interested in flexible options that gave them a shorter working week.

Communication – Above all, workers are more and more looking for transparency from employers; open communication with and involvement of the workforce in growing the workplace culture, investing in development and training, talking about diversity and inclusion.

The Henley study confirms that where corporate social responsibility initiatives were maybe once a nice-to-have (a calculated way of saying, look at us, we’re nice guys) now they’re more an essential strand of your business strategy, at least, if you ever want to employ someone under 25, that is…

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