Posted March 17, 2020 by Mark Perna
Millennial Tina Slattery, Panasonic’s director of talent acquisition, interviewed with Mark about recruiting and retaining today’s in-demand youngest workers. Mark’s article, “Panasonic Talent Head Tina Slattery Talks Generation-Z,” published at Forbes.com on March 17, 2020.
Gen-Z, the youngest generational cohort in today’s workforce, is in demand by employers—and they have high expectations in return. Recently, I connected with Tina Slattery, director of talent acquisition at Panasonic, to get her thoughts on recruiting and retaining Gen-Zers. Here’s some of what she shared with me on a range of topics.
Communication is the secret sauce in all relationships, and the relationship between employers and Gen-Zers is no different. “Gen-Z, like other generations, has unique needs and expectations,” says Slattery. “For that reason, it’s important to have open, ongoing conversations with them. Only then can you understand how to best support them from onboarding to throughout their company journey. Also, in the hiring process, Gen-Zers expect constant communication and updates, so be sure to provide them early and often.”
Gen-Zers view work and life as a blend rather than a balance. As a result, they place a high value on flexible work arrangements. “Emerging data indicates that Gen-Z employees are more regularly on-the-go than other generations,” explains Slattery. “That means employers, and especially managers, should be consistently engaging with IT to ensure that Gen-Zers can seamlessly flex between the office, home and wherever else they may be.”
Though profoundly technologically savvy, Gen-Z also recognizes the importance of face-to-face interactions. “In-person job interviews can provide Gen-Zers with a real sense for a company’s people and work culture,” emphasizes Slattery. “Still, be sure to offer virtual interviews, too, particularly when it makes sense for a specific candidate, hiring manager or position. Flexibility, together with a personal touch, is key.”
Gen-Z is emerging as a highly entrepreneurial generation, with 41% saying they want to be their own boss someday. Intrapreneurship—empowering employees to develop innovative ideas or initiatives within the company—is a great way to tap into Gen-Zers’ potential strategically, creatively and operationally. “Companies should encourage Gen-Zers to perform their work as if they’re the owner of that ‘business’ to help promote their entrepreneurial spirit,” says Slattery. “Providing them with increasing opportunities to work autonomously, experiment with new ideas, and safely take risks is also key to engaging and retaining their talent.”
Philanthropically minded and socially conscious, Gen-Z seeks employers that value purpose as much as profit. That means companies have to craft a meaningful narrative about their efforts to make the world a better place. But Slattery cautions, “That narrative must be authentic. For Gen-Zers, seeing is believing. They easily sniff out lip service and, unlike some of their different-gen counterparts, have no trouble calling it out.”
Gen-Z expects personalization in everything, and the workplace is no exception. In this regard, “employers need to stay on their game to stay in the game,” encourages Slattery. “At Panasonic, we recognize that personalization is an ever-evolving target, but we embrace its necessity and importance. We’re constantly working to create highly individualized experiences for both job candidates and employees, and to regularly evaluate our approach to be as fluid and effective as possible.”
Gen-Z workers, along with their Millennial counterparts, often get a bad rap, including misguided stereotypes such as being lazy, entitled or disloyal. “As a Millennial with 15 years in the workforce, I still have to overcome the sweeping stereotypes synonymous with my own generation,” reveals Slattery. “This motivates me even more to ensure that, at Panasonic, no one is unfairly projecting onto another generation. Sometimes this requires helping managers who hail from different generations to overcome their prejudices or preconceived notions about both Gen-Zers and Millennials.”Gen-Z deserves every employer’s respect and attention. Click To Tweet
Gen-Z deserves every employer’s respect and attention. So, like Slattery and Panasonic, let’s all commit to recruiting and retaining them as the important—and in-demand—talent they are.