Generation Z is entering the workforce, and attracting them will require some new employer recruitment strategies. A good hiring strategy starts with understanding who Generation Z is. This group encompasses anybody born between 1997 and 2015. Generation Z can be differentiated by three characteristics.
- They’re true digital natives. Even more than millennials, Generation Z has never lived a life that wasn’t heavily permeated by technology.
- This generation is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation yet.
- They’re also one of the most socially conscious. Generation Z has grown up with exposure to some extreme global issues, so social change is a high priority for them.
As workers, these three features of their generation heavily influence them. Because so many people of Generation Z are either racially or ethnically diverse themselves, or many of their friends and peers are, they place a high value on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This is only compounded by their concern for social justice. Employers who want to attract this group will strengthen their bid for young talent with diversity and inclusion initiatives and by recruiting for diversity. This article covers tips for excelling at both.
Recruiting for diversity: initiatives in the workplace
To create strong initiatives, it’s important for employers to understand what diversity in the workplace should look like. Ideally, a workplace that actively practices recruiting for diversity will have assembled a team that reflects society. This means the team should be comprised of people of various races, ethnicities, and religions. Diversity isn’t just about race or ethnicity, though. It’s also about gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and socio-economic levels. Here are some tactics for creating strong diversity and inclusion initiatives:
- Start with a structured plan. Lay out goals and discuss how to measure success.
- Constantly seek feedback from workers. Let them weigh in on how things are progressing. Simply encouraging this dialogue will go a long way in making a workplace feel more inclusive. If you have employee engagement software like MP’s, you can send out surveys (both anonymous and named).
- Allow anonymous feedback. Sometimes workers might feel concerned about candidly sharing difficult feedback. Create channels for them to do so anonymously and assure people there will be not retaliation or negative consequences.
- Make changes. The best initiatives are tweaked and reinvented, especially incorporating feedback. Stagnant initiatives are often unsuccessful and don’t feel like genuine efforts to employees.
- Upper management must participate enthusiastically. When workers see their managers participating, they are more likely to feel comfortable and supported in doing the same. Corporate culture is often built more by behavior than by written policies.
- Consider a push for pronouns. Many employers use email signatures to allow workers to share their pronouns (if they feel comfortable). It can also be effective to have people identify their pronouns in meetings or when they’re introduced to somebody new.
- Support the creation of groups for minority workers. Offer them space and time to meet. Allow them space to advertise in company newsletters and bulletin boards.
- Offer use of message boards and other features on employee engagement software like MP’s. While these HR solutions can be used for work-oriented communication and collaboration, they also work well to connect employees for diversity and inclusion initiatives, especially when people are working remotely.
- Rework your handbooks and other employee policies to consciously create a corporate culture that welcomes and nurtures diversity. Most importantly, manage to these policies. Educate managers on the new changes to policies and discuss ways they can incorporate them into their daily work. One example might be explicitly banning harmful language or jokes. Managers and employees alike can ensure this initiative is effective by taking it into account every day and deliberately pointing out offensive language or jokes when they happen.
- Create PTO initiatives to support workers who celebrate different religious or cultural holidays. Make it easier for them to take time off for these important days, especially if it doesn’t penalize them by making them dip into their vacation time for it. Some companies offer a floating holiday that workers can use whenever they want.
Best practices for recruiting for diversity
Recruiting for diversity should go hand-in-hand with internal diversity initiatives. In fact, it’s easier to recruit diverse candidates when a company can point to their successful initiatives for an inclusive workplace. It’s also easier to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace when an employer has been, and continues, recruiting for diversity– because the team is actually more diverse. Below are some tips employers can use to bolster their talent acquisition strategy.
- Create goals. Make concrete, numerical goals for hiring diverse candidates and set deadlines. Then check up on these goals periodically. Create penalties if the employer cannot reach them.
- Go beyond hiring goals. Don’t just hire to hit goals as quickly and literally as possible. Don’t make this the only tactic in a hiring strategy, either. Simply hiring to get ‘enough’ diverse team members isn’t enough and will feel like a hollow effort to new hires and current employees alike.
- Work with local and non-local colleges. Post jobs in their job search networks and go to their career fairs. Partner with them on workshops for students. Make connections with the career services office. Some colleges and universities will be particularly important to consider including when recruiting for diversity, like HBUs (historically black universities) and HBCs (historically black colleges). Don’t limit to colleges that are local. Some students may be interested in moving to a new area after they graduate. If an employer is located in an especially homogenous area, working with schools in other cities or states can be a great way to bolster hiring strategy.
- Partner with organizations that support minority groups in particular professions. There are many that get very niche, including the Association of Professional Insurance Women, or the National Gay Pilots Association. LinkedIn is a great way to find these groups.
- Create a section on the company website that shares how the company is committed to creating an inclusive environment. If employees feel comfortable, feature quotes or videos of them discussing how diversity is embraced in the workplace.
- Encourage workers to rate the company on Glassdoor. There is now a diversity and inclusion score there. Employees can also just discuss this topic in their reviews if they feel comfortable doing so.
- Offer internships for specific groups. Create spots specifically for minorities and underrepresented groups. Employers should look to these interns as potential new hires for the future or as evangelists to spread the word about the business to their network.
- Use a blind review process when sorting resumes. Consider removing the names and addresses of candidates before looking through their resumes. This can help overcome unconscious bias and help hiring managers seek out the best person for the role.
- Create a referral bonus program. Encourage employees to share candidates for your open roles. Offer a bonus if they’re hired and stay on successfully for 6 months. This strategy is helpful especially if minority workers make use of it.
- Go to meetups for specific groups. For now, digital meetups are best. But when the pandemic is over, employers can send recruiters to in-person meet-ups to network and share open positions.
- Work with MP on your hiring. MP has cutting-edge tools and expertise, so we can reach to a more diverse pool of candidates.
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