Jim Link is chief human resources officer of Randstad North America, where he manages all aspects of the company’s human capital strategy. His accomplishments at Randstad include overseeing programs to enhance recruiter efficiency, tripling the company’s leadership programs and greatly increasing employee participation in professional development opportunities.
Next month he’ll share that expertise at the 2017 SHRM National Conference in New Orleans, giving his take on what we can expect as Generation Z enters the workforce and on how smart employers are preparing for their arrival. He shared a little preview of his session with us.
What's unique about Gen Z in terms of their identity as workers?
Generation Z has grown up in a world with instant access to everything. Immediate access through technology is a norm for this generation, just like picking up a telephone was for generations before them. Caring, involved and blind to human prejudices of the past, this generation still craves in-person communication when the topic is important, and wants to be around others from whom they can learn something.
How do you see those traits affecting the workplace?
Like the society in which they grew up, Gen Z employees will need ready access to company information and data to drive decision-making. They will want collaborative work processes, will have little to no regard for hierarchy or bureaucracy, and may be confounded when more senior members of a workforce want them to follow specific career paths or do things in a specific way.
What are 3 things employers can begin doing now to prepare for Gen Z?
First, be comfortable with where, when and how work gets done. The idea of a full-time employee doing a job for a set amount of time will not be appealing to this generation. Secondly, use collaboration as an engagement tool in the workplace and in the community. Finally, quit thinking about career paths and start thinking about career experiences these individuals need to complete in order to grow in your organization.