The Millennial generation (people born between 1981 and 1996) will soon take up a huge space in the workplace landscape. It is estimated that by 2025 75% of the workforce will be made up of Millennials. Even as Millennials become the majority of workers, a new group – Generation Z – enters. Gen Z is made up of people born between 1997 and 2012, and they are the new players in the workforce, and will require some spotlight when it comes to recruitment and retention.
Some may ask of Gen Z, “Aren’t they the same technology focused, career advancement seeking, make the world better workforce that we’re already dealing with?” While the two generations share many of the same characteristics, it is good to know what makes these groups different as you continue to refine how you reach different generations with your recruitment strategies.
Comparing Millennials and Gen Z
One way to better understand both generations is to compare or contrast their priorities and motivations. For the most part, Millennials are well-educated and their education is important to them, so it is important for their jobs to reward formal educations as an accomplishment. On the other hand, members of Gen Z may have received their education in various forms. They grew up during the 2008 recession and saw their parents struggle financially. Online courses and learning became more relevant and available and, in most circumstances, more affordable. So a traditional university setting may not be something that all Gen Z believe is the best way to gain an education. Changing your entry requirements for those who are willing to learn on the job and crave continual ongoing learning may be needed for this next generation. This is great for the healthcare industry, which requires and encourages ongoing education, as a leg up when recruiting from this pool. Focus on and highlight the continuing education offered and given by the hospital as a “benefit” in attracting this group!
By in large, Millennials seek collaboration, flexibility, and culture. While Gen Z may value culture, they also crave independence and a chance to shine on their own. They prefer to work alone and be recognized for their successes. They want a job (and their finances) to be secure, and they want career advancement opportunities to be clearly drawn out for them to achieve. Encouraging and recognizing innovation from your healthcare frontline workers helps to accomplish their desire for recognition and success while servicing and bettering your healthcare system. It is a win/win for everyone.
What is MOST Important to Gen Z?
There are a few characteristics and values that set Gen Z apart from their older counterparts more than anything. The first is technology. Gen Z was born into it, and they expect it.
On average, most of the people in Gen Z had a smartphone by age 10 (https://www.kasasa.com/articles/generations/gen-x-gen-y-gen-z). To say they are tech friendly is an understatement. They want a company that has a focus on technology and a commitment to improving their technology presence. This also means they are more likely to put in time outside of the tradition 9-5 hours, logging on from home while on their couch in the evenings. Providing more flexibility in hours and where they do their work will go a long way with this group. Within healthcare, this can also mean offering more “on-demand” staffing options. By being able to choose their schedules on their smartphone, pick up shifts, or change their schedules around themselves provides them independence and touches on their technology side.
Financial security and stability are also big career motivators for Gen Z. According to the Change Recruitment Group, “Gen. Zers are motivated by financial security, which means they want monetary rewards and career development opportunities, as well as to work at companies making a difference. Eighty-four percent of Gen Z employees said they wanted to do meaningful work at a company they believe in, that gives them financial security, and allows them to build their careers.” (https://www.changerecruitmentgroup.com/knowledge-centre/embracing-change-how-to-attract-retain-gen-z)
This creates a great opportunity for Gen Z in the healthcare field where the demand for providers and caregivers is higher than ever before.
Discovering what motivates a new generation of workers can be daunting, and of course will vary by individual or situation. But Gen Z is entering the workforce now. If you are ready for them, they are certainly ready for you!
Michaela has been in healthcare staffing for 16 years and has worked to serve hospitals all over the United States. She has served in management and strategic staffing, as well as providing nurses directly to the facilities themselves.