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Meet the Masters
Alex Hattingh is the Chief People Officer at Employment Hero and has over 15 years experience in people management and leadership development. Alex derives energy and passion from helping both companies and their employees succeed. Alex’s roles have covered large Fortune 500 companies through to start-ups including Google, Yahoo!, Lendlease and Ivy College.
Dan Fish is Director of Strategy at GO1 and possesses extensive experience in strategic development. Following a successful career in advertising, Dan spent 6 years working in child welfare for both international and local NGOs. It was here that he understood the impact, or lack thereof, education could have. Following this Dan has spent the last 11 years working in leadership positions for education and career-related businesses, SEEK and GO1.
Michael Osmond is the People and Culture Manager at JobAdder. He is focused on driving impactful processes and providing support for leaders enabling them to continue to attract, manage and retain high performing staff. Michael has 10 years of experience in Human Resources for a wide range of Australian businesses, including more recently 3 years with Football Federation Australia – the governing body for Football in Australia.
Generation Z at Work.
Join Alex Hattingh, Chief People Officer (Employment Hero), Dan Fish, Director of Strategy (GO1) and Michael Osmond, People and Culture Manager (JobAdder) for an exclusive roundtable. Gen Z is a whole new ballpark, are you ready?
Join an exclusive roundtable with people and culture leaders, Alex Hattingh, Daniel Fish and Michael Osmond as they chat about the latest insights on Gen Z at work.
We commissioned a study of over 1000 Australian Gen Zs and uncovered some interesting truths. Gen Z is ready to get to work. But, is the workforce ready for them? Young Australians are entering the workforce – and then leaving again, quickly. As we speak, 30% of Gen Z workers are looking for a new job.
Low career satisfaction, high turnover and poor value alignment are posing issues for Australian businesses. With the cost of recruiting still around $3000 per hire, your business is paying the price. With this in mind, how can you attract and keep the right young people?
What You Need to Know.
Your panel of experts will talk through:
- Key findings from our Gen Z at Work report
- Developing a future-proof employer brand and EVP
- Skills-gap analysis and career mapping
- Implementing new strategies to foster young leaders
Alex: Good Morning everyone and welcome to our webinar on generation Z at work. I’m Alex Hattingh and I head up People and Culture here at Employment Hero. I’m absolutely thrilled to be joined by Dan Fish from Go1 and Michael Osmond from JobAdder. Here at Employment Hero we’re always really curious to understand Australia’s workforce. And now we have this new generation Z joining our ranks. So we wanted to understand what are the consequences of this generation? We commissioned research through YouGov into Gen Z and we’re here to get advice from both Dan and Michael on what our findings were. So I’d love to start off by having Dan and Michael introduce themselves.
Dan: Thank you very much. I’m Dan Fish from Go1. I wear a couple of hats and am currently heading up strategy there. I’ve been with the organisation for around 4.5 years, since inception and I’m very privileged to work with alot of smart people there. Prior to that, I spent 8.5 years working at SEEK in the areas of career and education and this is what I’m passionate about. Go1 is a training platform – the easiest way to think of us is like Spotify but for education and learning. It’s one of those things where we want to be able to provide a solution to get the most access to the best content at the right time. I’m very excited to be here to talk about Gen Z.
Michael: I am the people and culture manager at JobAdder. I’ve been there for just going 6 months. I was brought into the business by the CEO with a startup culture role. My focus is looking at driving processes and supporting our leadership team and at the core of it its focused on getting better performance and outcomes for the business. Before that I was at a national governing body for sport, Football Australia for a couple of years and before that I was HR generalist in financial services at a mid tier accounting firm. On the topic today, I’m interested in their generational research. We don’t specifically have any place that would target particular generations, but always interested to see how we naturally fit into some of the approaches to be able to track these people and how to connect with them.
Alex: Thanks Dan and Michael. I’m looking forward to your insights today. I promise we didn’t coordinate the black t-shirts. So let’s get started with some of our findings into Gen Z.
- Gen Z are ambitious but unsure of where to go next
Our insights report showed that 37% of young Aussies are working in their desired career, yet 22% report that career aspirations are their highest priority in the job-hunt, it’s clear something is wrong. There is a mismatch between the ambitions of Gen Z employees and the fulfilment of those ambitions that they have. So Michael I’d love to throw to you, do you have any recommendations on how we can better align career aspirations for Gen Z during the hiring process?
Michael: When I saw some of these insights when I was preparing, I think back to JodAdder and what’s worked well, I think what has helped is our CEO is naturally a person who is transparent and honest. I think taking from that when we’re recruiting into the business, we would be quite honest with them what the opportunities are and where the business is at so were not setting any unrealistic expectations. With that being said, when were honest and transparent there are a lot of opportunities. I think being up front and honest with the people we’re bringing into the business, but also prioritising career progression internally. If someone has a career conversation, we generally put a lot of effort into finding something that can work for them. Staying honest and transparent throughout that process as well. Our CEO before my time was quite good, he would be visionary, so where we will need someone down the track, he would put someone into a role where they could develop into the future. In the past, in my experience, it would be more reactive where it’s ‘we don’t have the need or the budget at the moment’. Thinking outside the square and how we can provide those opportunities for our staff. It might mean that we might not need it right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t give them exposure to that. Whether that’s through a couple of hours or days a week, or through a project – giving them exposure without having to move them to a new role.
Alex: That’s great. I really love that. That’s really great advice especially when you don’t have a tonne of money. That’s a perfect segway into our second finding and that is that:
- Generation Z really lack career direction, they also take about money being an issue and poor culture. It’s causing young Aussies to jump ship
Would you believe that Gen Z Australians are entering the workforce – and then leaving again, quickly. As we speak, 30% of Gen Z workers are looking for a new job. So Dan, I’ll go over to you. You’ve had years of experience of managing people and with this new generation coming through, how do you keep career development front and centre all the time?
Dan: I think there’s probably a couple of key themes to this, but one of the big ones is the concept of personalisation. More than ever, we’ve got access to data with Gen Z coming through, so we should be in a better position to be able to respond effectively and efficiently – and not just serving the same experience, whether it’s onboarding or training. I think the big thing for me is personalisation and with that comes the idea of not just for the candidates or the people themselves, but also organisations. What we’re going to start to see is organisations looking in other areas or other ways to explore other avenues to engage this personalisation process. It often means unchartered territory because you’ll have your tech stack, whether its sourcing candidates or managing the ones come onboard, but you’ll need to start looking elsewhere. What are the Gen Z’ers doing in their personal or professional time so you can build up a profile to see what they enjoy doing and where they want to go in their longer career. The average lifespan of an individual at a company is about 3.5 years. The reality is that people can go through a number of organisations in their lifetime. Organisations that are less risk averse and can acknowledge that these employees are coming from somewhere or can end up going somewhere is really critical. This means that organisations are putting their money where their mouth is and highlighting the fact that this individual might not be with us forever, so we want to work with them at this point in their career. Whether this is through access to training for future skills to show them that we’re committed to doing this. This is one way we can help shape what that career looks like, but giving the feeling that organisation is looking to support, not just in traditional ways but in ways outside out of work whether that’s project stuff you can be pulled into later.
Alex: Great point. Even here at Employment Hero, I’d love to see so many companies get to the point where we give employees psychological safety when it comes to their next role. If you’re a small to medium business, you might not have that job ready for the employee so opening the safety that says ‘you know what Dan, my next play is not here, can you help me find my next role. I’ll help you backfill me.’ This way you’re having someone leave, learn new skills, they’re a brand advocate, and hopefully one day they might come back.
Dan: I think that’s the key thing – the brand advocacy is so critical. There is a social component out there so if you’re not thinking about this, it could be damaging.
Alex: Absolutely. So moving onto the next finding and that is
- Flexible work really matters to our Australian workers.
This is not new and all research shows that flexible work in 2020 is the trend across all Australians no matter what generation you’re in. The reality is that sometimes younger workers will end up in workplaces outside their desired career. This is especially true for the younger end of Gen Z, who may just take the first job that’s offered to them. It’s important to think outside of the 9-5 box and allow work from home arrangements or hot desking. These days, people have interests outside of work and might want to go to the gym at lunch time or leave early for their young family. Michael, what’s your advice on showcasing flexible work to attract candidates?
Michael: Our approach is to treat our staff like adults. I had in my previous role, flexibility and we had to push that as a benefit because we couldn’t compete in other areas that Gen Z are looking for. At JobAdder, we treat our staff like adults and we really want to see our staff and create an environment where they come into work everyday. Too much flexibility and remote work can be detrimental to culture. I know prior to my time, the founders were looking at entirely remote work and they decided it’s too much of a risk to culture. We aim at the moment to provide staff for flexibility designing their day in terms working remotely. For example in Sydney, in HQ one day a week. We want people there and face-to-face. Even in the findings, we know they like face-to-face contact. We want to create an environment where they like coming, so we dont want ¾ of our workforce at home a lot of the time. With that being said, we have staff that want to travel, they want to move internationally and they remain in the business in their roles. If we can accommodate that, we want people in their face to face. We do push family first. We just want to see you most days for parts of the day. It’s interesting and I agree how a sacrifice can be to culture if we went entirely remotely.
Alex: Yes. Definitely a risk. Dan I know for you, Go1 is known for providing flexible working and being great around that. What are your recommendations as a manger to stay connected to people who are working remotely.
Dan: I think it’s interesting, looking back to the Gen Z report. Whilst there’s not a been a generation that’s been more connected, they’re also very human centric. They want to see people, they want to talk to people, which actually makes sense when they’ve grown up with technology. They crave that touch. I think for us, it’s very similar in regards to making sure we connect people. Some of this stuff we look to do, each quarter there’s a series of things outside KRs and KPIs where we’ll facilitate movement from different geographies to pick a country they’d like to visit and go there and spend anywhere from 4 – 12 weeks in that office working and experiencing a different culture and atmosphere. I think that element of flexibility from different georgopahies is very important. The flexibility one is tricky. There’s a tonne of stuff we do around compounding work or looking at leave. We’re also quite mindful of the different role types. I got interviewed recently around the flexible work piece and it’s not applicable to every role and that’s the challenge. The challenge is that technology and the openness of thinking more organisations should just challenge the traditional view of flexible workplaces and think about it in a different manner. That example before about people really living the values and giving time off is, just time to spend time being serious. The flipside is you can talk about flexibility, but if you’re not serious about it being applicable to your industry, it comes across as a bit weak.
Alex: Absolutely. I completely agree that it’s different for different teams and being upfront in the interview process is helpful. A good example is here at Employment Hero, our sales teams rarely work from home because they’re coached by their managers. We’re really upfront in the interview process – whilst we do support flexible working when needed, the team actually prefer to be in the office. We’ve also found here having your leaders show an example. For example if our CEO is leaving early to go and pick up one of his kids after school, he will say ‘I’m out of here to go pick up Henry because I’ve just gotten back from a trip’. Having leaders speak to it is really a big one. Let’s move on to the next one that came out of our insights report and that’s one that still has a little bit of stigma around it. It’s a trend for 2020 across all generations, however our report showed that:
- Mental health support at work isn’t ‘nice to have’, it’s now an expectation
75% of Gen Z workers expect their employee to offer mental health support. It’s not a bonus. It’s something we have to invest in. It’s an expectation. With mental health awareness skyrocketing, it’s fundamental for Gen Z employers to stay on top of this issue. It’s vital in attracting and retaining high-quality Gen Z workers. So flipping back to you Michael, how would you recommend supporting mental health and making it part of your employer brand proposition.
Michael: First and foremost, I’d say it’s a work in progress for my team at JobAdder and leadership. It’s funny that that’s come up, but that’s a big focus for the people and culture team. I think we’re like society and we have staff that are affected by mental health and I have these conversations with leaders in the business in terms of we need to think that we need to be mental health experts and we might not be doing something at this stage. There needs to be practical conversations around we’re not experts at mental health but our managers and our people and culture team need to be able to identify signs and be able to support them and push them in the right direction. I think recruiting people who are good people and care after each other helps create an environment that will support people when they are going through mental health issues. I’ve been in previous work environments where there’s external pressures from media and things like that, which is very high risk. We’re a bit more fortunate – it’s a really good place to work and people like to come into work because that’s helping them become healthy again. I also think preparing the organisaiton for that is recruiting leaders that are highly emotionally intelligent, they have a degree of empathy is what I look for in really strong leaders. And if they don’t, lets coach them through that, especially our young leaders. But it is a work in progress, but i think it all comes back to treating people well and I think we’re taking steps in the right direction.
Dan: I think the education piece is a critical one and something we’re really passionate both internally and as part of our business. I was very lucky to work in a number of different organisations over my career that take mental health incredibly seriously. As we do at Go1, and I think we’ve taken it one step further where our content and ecosystem where we’re working with fantastic content partners, we’re also now looking at working with non-government or non-for-profits, and even some for-profits that are starting to pop up in the mental health space – people like Lifeline, Beyond Blue so they can take that and apply it to content. That first step to remove some of that stigma that still exists. 3.9 million people affected, and 1 million people slipping through the net is huge. Part of that is how and what to do and it can have such an impact. Mental health is right at the top.
Alex: Absolutely. Product plug here. Go1 is actually part of Employment Hero and I can’t recommend it enough for the content it brings together. Going back to Michaels point around supporting leaders to give them the tools to deal with things such as mental health. It can put you in a really vulnerable space as a manager or even as a co-worker, having something like go1 to go to, for your managers to give them courses so they’re not having to say ‘Hey Alex, I have no idea how to have this conversation”, you can direct them straight to Go1. They have more than 50,000 courses that are sourced from all sorts of incredible places. Log in, take a look and a few courses and it gives them the skills and tools. It’s something that continues to trend and need organisations to bring them there whole selves to work is something that’s really trending. Moving onto the second last big one that came through on the report and that’s work life balance. Again, it’s nothing new.
- Forget the environment, the most important value to Gen Z in the workplace is work/life balance
Ten years ago, ‘environment’ was the buzzword. It was all about ping pong tables, free food, but now it’s the expectation. So, Gen Z workers don’t want to be bugged on weekends. They don’t want to get emails at 8pm, they quite often log off and you won’t hear back til the next day. How do you guys talk about work integration in your business?
Dan: I think it comes back to the personalisation piece. Everyone is different at the end of the day and there’s no one size fits all approach. We have technology and the tech stack at the touch of our fingertips. It’s an opportunity to be a lot more informed and driven in regards to what people need and want. Even linking back to the mental health health piece which is about switching off because it’s so difficult to disconnect. I have friends that will completely delete the apps from their phones on holiday so they’re not tempted to look at it. At the end of the day, I think it’s an organisational leadership position to take but it’s also something that’s also part of the technological evolution, it’s become habitual. We need to think of smarter and better ways we can support our people in being able to do that and I think a lot does link into that. Whether it’s getting people to take their breaks, having a holiday or taking an afternoon off and really being considerate to that. Another point comes back to the personalisation piece where we’re looking outside the work ecosystem, formal vs. informal learning where we can capture what the employee is interested in outside of work. Sometimes it can be irrelevant, but also can be relevant. For example, I might be in HR but there might be an exciting project in data science and I’ve spent the last 12 months reading about AI and I’d love to be a part of that. It allows the individual to be involved with their broader interests outside of work. I don’t mean you all of a sudden have a blend of work and life, where it’s hard to tell the difference. But when I think of the formal/informal learning piece, I think there’s a massive opportunity to look at what Gen Z are doing out in their normal lives and how that can be applied to the benefit of the employee and employer.
Michael: I’m a big fan of looking at the holistic performance of an individual, so I’ve said that if someone is struggling at home, they are not going to come in do their best, and then go home home and struggle again. It overlaps and you’re dealing with the entire person. The way we handle this is setting objectives for our staff and we have 3 that are linked to their team that are around team goals, learning and development and one that’s personal goals. We measure on that it’s incorporated into our performance framework. Those objectives could be around, for example, myself, work/life balance. I’ve got a 6 month old and I need to lead by example. Looking at work/life balance at JobAdder, we keep pushing the family first values – we want to see you and we’ll see you when we can. For individuals and telling them upfront, your manager is not responsible for your work/life balance. They need to support you within the parameters, but you need to be accountable for your own mental health and work/life balance. You need to put in place what you need around your own balance at home.
Dan: I liked what you talked about earlier – treating people like adults. It’s that situation where I have a daughter who is a bit older, but because I’m away traveling a lot, subsequently I miss school drop off or pick up. So it’s making that commitment that when I am here, I am able to do that. There’s so many ways to be able to monitor performance. You don’t want to not trust them until you’re given a reason but you also need to set parameters.
Michael: Those parameters I think, when I came into the business and consulting with team leads, everyone was supportive of it. It was giving them confidence to make those decisions. Not to say that ‘don’t make a decision in this situation’, but here’s a what you need to have the confidence to make a decision on that and make a call because you’ve got our backing. It wasn’t like that’s not available to our staff. When managers say, can I make those decisions, we say ‘yes, here you go’.
Alex: That’s such a good point. Accountability, empowering your employees but also training your leaders. Over the years, I’ve seen leaders be old school. If you’re not seen at your desk, you’re not seen as working. Using tools like OKRs and KPIs to make sure things are output driven is really important. As well as giving them empowerment to do what they want to do. With Gen Z, they might not yet have families, so we cant discount the importance of fitness or other passions outside of work – so giving them permissions to leave early for a 4pm gym session is the same as doing kids drop off or pick up. So moving onto the next insight.
- Gen Z want to like their jobs
When considering accepting a job, our insights found that 49% of Gen Z workers ask themselves is: ‘Will I enjoy this role?’. Do you guys have any advice on how we can make sure people are actually enjoying their jobs such as team meetings, 1 on 1’s.
Michael: It was interesting when I was reading this insight. We did some research on this when I joined about 6 months ago. We did a marketing whiteboard and brainstorm in terms of what’s the purpose of JobAdder, then we went away and came back. We sat down to discuss to get to the original purpose which is to make it a great place to work – people want to come into work. The spinoff from this is that we can make sure people are looking after their clients and we have a great product so that was refreshing from a P&C perspective.
But my team is a little bit different in terms of I would say a little bit of generalisation. E.g. Our engineering and dev team are really engaged at work, and the culture of the organisation is the second priority. Alternatively, we have people who are in a more client facing role and their first priority is around the culture of the organisation and the work they’re engaged with is a second priority. We need to be able to create an environment where they like coming into work and contributing to the business in a meaningful way that’s tied to the purpose of what we’re doing. In terms of making sure that we’re making the best talent acquisition decisions and i think honesty and transparency upfront instead of trying to oversell to get talent in the door and them starting and thinking ‘this isn’t the role that i’ve been sold’.
Dan: I think that’s a massive thing. There is this holistic journey that you want to take and it does start with talent sourcing. There’s some responsibility on both parts once the employee is on board and transparency is a key part. Unfortunately it always doesn’t always happen where you’re setting out your trajectory – this is the role, the expectations, here’s how you can grow. We’re really lucky at Go1 and one of the reasons I joined is that it’s an industry that i’m passionate about – education. It’s that societal level, social justice, poverty, disease. Whilst that’s a very macro view, it’s a way we can highlight to people what’s important about working at Go1 beyond the ARR and monthly active users. You can very quickly filter out people who are just focused on the dollar or aspirational component, so there’s a critical part to liking the job bit, but then this real focus on personalisation – being able to employee on the journey and committing to that. That doesn’t mean that it will require more time, it’s just being mindful and aware that it’s like ‘Ok, this person is joining us and we can see what they’ve done in the past, this might be a stepping stone in their career, so how can we set it up to make sure that whilst they’re here, they’re learning and enjoying what they do. They’re dedicated and committed and getting outside of their comfort zone and thinking about the next step. That might be a promotion, but it might not be – we’re focused on what’s right for the employee and they’re being supported and nurtured.
Alex: Thank you. I couldn’t agree more. I think it’s so important. It has so much to do with the hiring process and where you’re starting and making sure you are clear about the purpose. You’re testing the candidate whether they want to come to work to work together on that purpose. Something we’ve started to do more recently is to tell more customer stories so we’re linking everyone’s role back to what we actually do for our customers which is very meaningful. Thank you both. We might flip over to Q&A.
Julia: Hi everyone. So the first question we have through is from Rochelle who asks:
Hi there, the resistance from my company to work remotely is from ergonomic workspaces in the home. We are a large business. Do you have any advice on how we can sell this without extensive costs to the business?
Alex: I’ll take this one. Recently we’ve been talking about this in terms of a contingency plan in the case of a horrible event where someone gets corona virus and we need to shut down our entire operations and have everyone work from home. Certainly we’d be more than happy to provide this resource which is a working from home document where you’re making sure the employee has an ergonomic space set up in their home and they’re agreed to and it’s right for them and it’s right for them to set up – whether that’s their dining room table but making sure it’s separate in their home where they can have a laptop and monitor and a phone, and getting them to agree to them having it in their home is an important piece of the puzzle in making sure that showing them you care about where they’re working.
Michael: We’ve got about 25% who would work remotely and the large chunk are international. We support the remote work and we’ll order the ergonomic equipment for them and that’s provided in a package when they start. It provides consistency. It’s not a massive cost to JobAdder when you’re looking at the cost of desk space in Sydney, so I think if you position it that way that highlights what’s the other benefits the business will get from keeping remote workers engaged. You don’t want to be losing talent because you are worried about WH&S of remote workers. You want to keep them in the business as long as you can and they might end up moving back to face-to-face.
Dan: Yes, same. I think it’s just having a framework in place. Having a document to capture that and giving direction so they know is massively beneficial.
Julia: Ok, another question. Can you please share more specifics around organisations around supporting employees mental health.
Dan: A part of our experience in mental health, we work with a few different organisations around domestic violence. We’re learning as we go and what’s important at a societal level and our people. It’s a little bit easier for us in the technology space, that we have enabled us to effectively deliver meaningful training to those staff members when they join. We also have allocated in the organisation who are equipped to work with some of this stuff. There’s more for us to do, and there’s some fantastic organisations out there that can help with this. One of the things I suggest is partners we work with who are thought leaders in this space. Without meaning to do the sales pitch, they are subject matter experts and if there’s question marks around what it is you should or shouldn’t be doing, they are more than willing to reach out and help with that. The stuff we’ve learnt from them has been fantastic, and even comes down to everyday operational things like taking a break, making sure they’re not feeling bombarded constantly, slacking someone at night – just some really simple steps that don’t cost the earth, but it’s a mindset shit for the leaders in the organisation.
Michael: We’re a medium sized business so it’s a working progress. My experience in the past with things like employee assistance programs, we’ve had about a 5% uptake. I see the benefits of them, but some practical steps I take in smaller businesses where generalists in people and culture and is around the upskilling of leaders and upskilling our staff, letting them know we’re not experts but we will support and point you in the direction you need. Keep checking in with that person as well.
Alex: I think the really strong point is observing a behavioural change such as noticing someone is on slack really late at night or early morning. It’s making sure that you’re alerting the manager – you know ‘ Alex has been online alot lately, mention to take some time off’. On the flipside, we’ve had a great experience with our employee assistance program through word of mouth. That’s where managers can say i’m not equipped to deal with this, but I appreciate you telling me that you’re dealing with a few personal issues, please reach out to this confidential professional counselling service and we will fund those sessions for you’. We’ve had a great experience with them.
Dan: Our best insight has been on how we can iterate what we do in this space. Unfortunately there’s still stigma attached so people might not be comfortable bringing it up with their manager. So being able to create safe spaces for your team will allow you to learn as an organisation what’s working and what’s not.
Alex: Back to Dan’s point, not just working with these great organisations out there, but also celebrating R U OK day opens up the doors if you don’t feel comfortable talking to your manager. There are other people in the organisation you can talk to.
Julia: Next question. Would you allow Gen Z in their first role to start working from home immediately or after their probation period is up?
Michael: Our approach is the middle ground and not the entirely remote organisation. The people that worked for HQ are expected to be there face-to-face. The guidelines are for managers to make 1 per week, but you need to structure your days around the rest of the week like any other adult would, and the guideline we set is not until after probation. I was happy with where we got to, I can’t see that when someone has gone through the onboarding process that they couldn’t immediately work from home, and I led by example for that. If you’re employed to be there face-to-face, we work towards remote for 1 day as a guideline but we have staff that do a lot more, and staff that just want to be there everyday. You need to customise what works, but the more flexibility the better.
Dan: If you start to apply old logic to an organisational structure for flexibility looks like, it becomes insincere. You need to look at how teams work and take a diverse approach for what works for the organisation. I think it comes down to the employee and the employer both taking responsibility – we never say no. But I guess from onboarding when you are a bit of a sponge and you do want to absorb as much as you can, face-to-face is critical. But in saying that, a single parent who needs to get their kid to childcare three days a week – it’s just thinking about what actually makes sense and is logical. It becomes unhealthy if you become too descriptive because then you start to lock people in or out. It should be a lot easier in that small to medium sized business space.
Julia: We have another question from Julie. How do not for profits compete in terms of meeting Gen Z expectations on limited budgets.
Michael: I was previously working at a not-for-profit and they were looking at an employer brand. We needed to be more creative in the way we looked at the value that employees would get for the not-for-profit. We were quite fortunate that it was in sport, so they were quite connected. 99% of the staff were die hard sports fans, so they were connected to that. We couldn’t just rely on that for the length of the tenure. Not-for-profits would not be able to match salary-wise and there’s often budget restraints when there’s promotion opportunities and there’s not a lot of turnover. You don’t get a lot of roles popping up, so we really had to push the flexibility piece. That will be the productivity gain for the organisation, that won’t cost us anything. That was what we learned on in terms of the purpose and the flexibility.
Dan: I spent almost 7 years in child welfare, so there’s a few practical things such as salary sacrificing etc, that not-for-profits are able to do. Whilst on paper it might not look competitive, it definitely can be. Any small not-for-profit looking at how they would do that if they don’t have the salary sacrifice scheme set up, they could look at that. It comes back to taking a broader view on the potential employees and what is of interest to them. A tangible example would be – I wouldn’t be sitting here now if i didn’t have that broader view to education or a lack thereof and what that brings to society, if I haven’t spent time working at those organisations. I came from advertising, went to the not-for-profit sector and came back to corporate, but the lens of the world through these not-for-profits is very difficult to get at a for-profit because of the way they see the world. As a not-for-profit, that’s something you should be proud of. You need to make sure you have aligned people and that’s not to say someone who’s passionate about the environment, couldn’t work in child welfare, but you have the same issues a for profit would have, but there’s a lot of things from an employer brand you can talk about to attract the right people. From my experience, there’s some incredibly innovative, agile charitable organisations that are doing great work and I think, technological advancements and some of the ways they see the world, puts them in a better position to attract talent that see the world in a similar way.
Michael: I think to add, is to consult with the staff for that particular group what they want. Considering budgetary restraints, what would keep you in the organisation and what do you value the most.
Julia: What kind of information should you provide to Gen Z to clarify the expectations of them and of the organisation? What are some key questions to ask Gen Z in the recruitment process to find the alignment?
Alex: We could talk about this for an hour. I would certainly ask your candidate what interested them in the organisation and that’s all about being purpose-driven. You don’t want someone joining because of ping pong, free food and beers – that’s almost a given. But you’d be surprised how many of the younger generation who have never worked anywhere do expect that. Similarly, if they’re asking about flexible work in their first interview, that’s a red flag. It’s also about assessing what questions they ask you. If they’re asking you insightful questions, they’ve done their homework and they’re interested in working for you. That’s a really key thing.
Dan: I couldn’t agree more. We were chatting to friends at LinkedIn last year and they were asking us through the hiring process, what’s the most important question you’ve asked and my response was ‘Have you got any questions for us’ because that’s more telling during that process and you’ll get the most meaningful insights to be giving them the opportunity to ask questions. It also comes back to having a sincere approach to the candidate, not that you need a template, but at least allocate the relevant time and energy to look more holistically in terms of capturing that. There’s a number of ways to do it.
Michael: Front of mind from six months ago, I sat down with the CEO with no notes, lots of eye contact and having genuine conversation and I felt that was a good conversation where we cut back the crap. You should already know about the business coming into the interview. Definitely about what they know about JobAdder upfront and why they want to work here. When we’re looking for quality with Gen Z, we want to get to know them. We ask them about how they manage stress, do they speak to former Gen Z people they went to university with, what frustrates them and trying to get to know the person and why they want to work here. Instead of getting to the end and wasting a lot of time through the red tape.
Alex: A great point is, you can teach someone who’s really smart skills and LinkedIn last week, came out with trends, and soft skills are the most desired skills you can have. It’s about those questions aligned to your values. If you’re looking for someone who’s a really good team player, ask them for examples of working with teams or have you ever been on a team where you worked with someone difficult, how did you deal with that? Then you have to scale back for someone who may have never worked in a workplace before and apply it to maybe university or sport scenarios so they do have an example to be able to give you.
Julia: Next question. What are some tips on hiring Gen Z. I’m from a small business and I’m concerned I won’t have time to train them and they’ll lose interest in the role quickly.
Alex: You’ll lose them would be my first answer. You have to put time aside to train them. You have to test for that real hunger when you’re interviewing them and if they don’t have work experience, ask them if they played sports or about group assignments at school.
Dan: To alex’s point, I think one of the insights was that upskilling and ongoing development is one of the critical components with Gen Z future employees are joining an organisation the suggestion would be look at your broader day, look at what you’re doing and try to ascertain if there’s opportunity, or you’ll lose them. Especially when you are new to the workforce with this generation, they want momentum. It’s just a way of figuring out how you might deliver on that. The training piece is something we can help with in a number of different ways. The too hard basket is something I used to hear 10 years ago, I’d be devastated if it was still the case now.
Michael: in some of the reading I was doing, Gen Z really value professional experience more than tertiary education. How can we support that? At the moment, we are growing and there’s a lot of stigma attached to internships and work experience that it chews a lot of time and takes your people away from what they want to be doing. But if you don’t invest your time, you won’t have those gems come through. I know in my previous organisations for budgetary reasons, we had a lot of interns and 80% were success stories that remained with the business – You have to try before you buy, and they would stay engaged. You’ve got to invest the time.
Dan: It doesn’t need to be this big professional development plan. Again with more and more learning experiences informally outside of the workplace, sometimes you need to sit down and think how you get to this point. What are the Ted Talks I listen to or the blog posts I follow and how can I help them on their journey in a low impact way. If you’ve got the right technology in place sharing this informal content to be able to capture this, you just need to keep the momentum of learning going. You need to do something, nothing is more detrimental than doing nothing.
Alex: And you need to give them permission to do it at work. The Ted Talks, the Go1, whatever they’re doing. If you give them permission to do that work, you’ll be surprised how quickly they pick up on it and become accountable and start to thrive.
Julia: One more question. Any advice on how to get the best out of integrating multiple generations in the one team?
Michael: The reading I was looking at, and I had a little bit of a different approach was while I was talking about the different generations personality traits we’ve formed through experiences. But different people across different generations would have different experiences as well, so I was looking at for example some of the Gen Z traits are more closely set to what I would say is my personality, than the generation I fit into as well, but going back to consulting with your people and finding what works for them and what they want, as opposed to coming out of the top and pretending that you have all the answers because you’re from a particular generation. Definitely consult with your staff or across multiple generations and you’ll be surprised what you’ll come back with. You’ll probably be surprised how similar they’ll be as well.
Dan: I think one of the things that you can look at and we use the word empowerment earlier, but I think whether it’s empowering or working with different generations to curate experiences and expertise they’ve gone through. It can be applied through a professional setting in the same way of pursuing design thinking, education and curating pathways that have been built by different generational representatives so they can help inform other people. That’s a great way, if you’ve got the right tech in place, not just to engage the workforce and share it across the organisation. I think it’s that empowerment and engagement word that helps to sort of bring it to life. You can bring out data and documents, but that’s not all that applies to your organisation or industry. If you do have that multi generational representation in your organisation, figure out a way to curate and create a meaningful experience to get that intellectual property across different generations.
Alex: I think you both made the point of employee feedback and calling it out. I don’t know if you’ve heard of a book called Radical Candor by Kim Scott, but if you’re noticing conflict in your team and you think that’s generational, get the design thinking principal thinking out and say ‘guys, we’ve got something going on in the team and we’re going to break out and do some design thinking. We’re going to break out and actually come up with some solutions together so that we have ownership and accountability for the team and you’re not top down. You’re having the team come up with a solution.
Julia: Thank you so much. We have lots of questions that didn’t get answered. We’ll answer those offline for everyone and share it in a follow up post.