Gen Z: HR Manager’s Dream or Nightmare? - Part 2
Generation Z is the first truly global and digital workforce entering global job markets. In this podcast, Mary Lemons, VP of Human Resource Solutions at Global Upside, continues the discussion on the Generation Z workforce and provides additional insight into the behaviors and characteristics of this population.
Part 2 discusses the following questions.
- Is Gen Z the HR manager’s dream employee or are they a nightmare to manage?
- How can employers best utilize the skills of Gen Z in a global, virtual workforce?
- How can employers make themselves more attractive to Gen Z?
- What is Gen Z looking for in an employer? What do they dislike?
- How do you best reach Gen Z, what are tips/tricks for finding them around the world?
- What systems and processes need to be updated to pay, train, manage Gen Z?
- How do you stay in compliance with this workforce globally?
- Are Gen Z’ers the ideal candidates for a company that is ready to expand internationally?
Welcome to the Globig podcast where we talk to international expansion experts from around the world to make it faster and easier for you to take your business global.
Hello. I am your host, Anke Corbin, the founder and CEO, Globig. Today’s hot topic is all about generation Z and the new global virtual workforce. This is part 2 of a two-part series. You also want to listen to part 1 where we talk about and kind of define this new virtual workforce.
Our guest in this series is Mary Lemons, the Vice President of Human Resources Solutions at Global Upside. Global Upside is a leader in helping companies transform their Finance, Accounting, and Human Resource function in over 100 countries.
Mary, welcome again to the Globig podcast.
Hi. Thank you for having me.
Utilizing the Gen Z Skillset
Absolutely. So, for those of you who are going to go ahead and jump right into the Q&A but please listen to the first podcast where we talk all about Mary’s background and all the great things that she has done in HR. So, let’s go right in.
So, is this generation an HR manager’s dream or is it a nightmare? How do employers best utilize the skills of gen Z and this kind of global virtual world?
Well, it is definitely not a nightmare. So, in fact, when I think about that I think from a working standpoint, you know, if I can just reflect back on, you know 30+ years ago, you had people in jobs that could not really move around. There was an expectation if you changed jobs twice in your career, you were a job hopper. So I think from that standpoint, is that, in today’s world we have a job market where people opt-in, you know, they are really voluntary workers and that they often, you know, choose to do what they do and they love what they do and they are not stuck in a position and I think gen Z will bring more any time, more than any time, they will bring a desire to really be opted in to what they are doing for an organization because they have done a lot of research about us.
They have looked at our websites and, you know, studied us out on social media and so they are probably making, I think, one of the most informed decisions when they come to work for us. So, I think the only nightmare might be is that we haven’t done our work to understand gen Z and what their expectations are from us but they are going to have a great skill base.
Number 1, they are just technology adept more than any other generation and they are also not afraid to ask questions and want to know why things work a certain way. They may take some shortcuts but they will probably get the same result working smarter vs harder. That’s kind part of their identity.
That’s an exciting group of young people that are coming out, right? I mean, they are really really smart, they are really savvy. They are not afraid. They want to do amazing things. So, they have this passion and kind of zest for attacking really hard things.
So, if anything makes us all as managers better because they are going to challenge us to be giving them sort of feedback and the input and the challenging work environment that they seek, right?
Yeah and I think there’s going to be an expectation that they are going to be looking for mentorship, opportunities, they want to learn and grow and will need to be able to provide that as part of our organizational structure and how we can help them grow. From the stuff that I have read about the gen Z interested in entering a workforce that a lot of them are looking at a possibility of bypassing college which I think is interesting and probably influenced by the fact that they don’t want to graduate with a quarter of a million dollars and that to go out and try looking for a job that might not be existent. They think they are more practical and pragmatic in their approach.
So they will be looking for organizations that are able to provide training and development opportunity in addition although you know most of the training is not going to be sitting in a classroom, it’s going to be hands-on doing the work and getting real-life experience which is actually some of the best training that you can give your employees because we know that you can send an employee off to sit in a classroom for a couple of days but it doesn’t usually come back in terms of on-the-job effect.
Appealing to Gen Z Employees
Right, it’s really that apprenticeship model that they have used effectively in other parts of the world that now is coming you know to everyone. So, I think that’s a great segue, they want these really exciting companies, how can employers make themselves more attractive to this generation Z?
Well you know one is having a social media presence and showing that I mean they are going to be looking as they are more driven by more social activism and you know environmental care and having a connection with the social values of the company. I think one thing in for the company to be mindful is making sure that your social identity actually reflects within the inside of your organization because the gen Z will be pretty quick at sniffing out whether or not you are a fake.
So, it’s something to think about. I know I went through years ago in an organization to go through their value process and I can’t tell you how many times that I had employees sort of values listed. This one company I worked at, they were listed behind me and framed and I thought that was really great when I joined the company and so the first week I was there, an engineer came up and said ‘you know these values, doesn’t mean anything here.’
I was so like disappointed to hear that but you know more than just putting on face value that these are the things that we believe in that companies are really going to be expected to live up to that value system or they won’t keep the gen Z workforce.
Managing the Gen Z Workforce
You know in the first podcast we had talked about what gen Z is looking for as far as you know how their schedules are set up, they wanted more flexibility, they might want to be able to have some sort of remote access and may they want to do things from around the world.
From a company’s perspective and from an HR manager’s perspective what sort of systems and processes do we need to have in place to be able to manage this right? To be able to pay and train and manage a workforce that’s global, that’s virtual, that’s on their time and schedule and that might be doing this from remote locations. Like how do you do that?
Yeah, that’s a really good question and you know, honestly I think that we are still developing how we work in a virtual world and there is always a little bit of a wood saw between companies that allow their employees to have the flexibility to work remotely and then all of a sudden they pull out back and say that they want to have everybody in the office.
So I think that we will continue to provide, you know, more opportunities for computer-based training as well as the kind of microlearning, climate where people get enough information, kind of the right information, at the right time and there is a lot of great resources that are developing out there in terms of training, where you have a library of access to, you know, maybe a YouTube clip or any topic that you need to know more about. So, I think we will definitely see more of that.
And I think the tools, you know, lots of the kids coming out of the school have used the Google doc environment to collaborate and so I think the expectation will be that there will be resources involved. So, people do have a responsibility to collaborate and get information in a timely way.
A Fit with the Global Company?
That makes sense. Are gen Zer’s the ideal candidates for companies that are ready to expand international?
I certainly think so. I think there will be a creative and innovating and risk-taking type of employee. I think that we will definitely need to look at how we create the developmental opportunities for them to, you know, not just survive but succeed in business. There is going to be, you know, probably a little bit more training required because we may have more employees entering the workforce perhaps without formal degree education and how we can accommodate those employees that want to come in for that more apprenticeship type model.
I can see that. Now for global companies, that’s going to be really interesting, there’s not only where you have them, how do we get them to be part of our culture, how do we get them to be doing the work. Within that there are the international differences on top of that, right?
Right, it’s understanding the broader global environment that we work in but there is actually some really great talent out there in the world, outside of the United States and some pretty hard-working employees that live in an environment where they work very very hard and education has been more distributed. So, I think the global workforce, we are definitely all going to be advantaged by the global market.
You know I had this opportunity just this week to talk to a couple of companies that are really looking at and this is primarily in technology because it is somewhat challenging to get the types of developers that you want locally, that’s not always possible. You know they are really looking at offices around the world where they can bring in other developers from around the world, right?
So, they are not only looking outside of their home market as a base, or having several bases, but then they are also looking at bringing in people from all different countries. So again, they are just not that local either. So, it’s really fascinating how we are all having to think differently about how we grow and how we find this talent and most of them or many of them are really gen Zs they are looking for.
And I think you know there is always been a lot of work to help people understand how to work with different cultural groups or people from different locations and I think gen Z’s will really bring their exposure to the global, they are really going to be the first global workers and so they kind of already have this experience being out there in the world and I think that they will actually work pretty well with their peers in global organizations.
Yeah, there are already all these norms that they have grown up with whether it’s, you know, it’s your gaming or whether it’s you know social connections. They really as children already had these international experiences. It’ s very interesting. Do you know any resources that you would like to share, how can someone learn more about whether it’s processed to manage or just approaches on how you deal with people that want to work in different time zones and different schedules, just all the things that HR managers are really having to deal with right now.
Yeah, well definitely and our globalupside.com website, we talk about things that are current topics on how people deal with processes and push things out in a global organization with some great resources.
Fantastic. Is there anything you would like to add that I haven’t asked you about? Would you like to share any more information about generation Z and kind of the HR managers challenges with this new generation?
Well, I would just say, I am actually looking forward to seeing how they shape our work environment and how they challenge us as HR people to figure out you know what their means are. I actually feel very hopeful about the future knowing that these kinds of employees coming into the workforce and I am curious to see how they change our work environment and the conversation. So, I think it’s going to be very fun to be on this next cusp of employees.
I agree. I think it’s fascinating and exciting and I think this generation, I am very hopeful about what they are going to bring to their organizations as well. Mary, I want to thank you again for joining us today and I want to let everyone know please do listen to part 1 of this podcast series which will also be at the bottom of the podcast description.
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