One Millennial Learned the Easy Way: Disability Insurance is Worth the Cost

By Nandita Dalal, AVP, Lincoln Financial

Jesse Martin should have known about the upside of disability insurance. After all, his mom markets the employee benefit for one of the largest disability insurance companies in the U.S. But Jesse admits the last thing on his mind was to buy coverage that would help replace his paycheck if he gets sick or hurt. “I came in thinking of disability insurance as an unnecessary expense,” Jesse says. “Even with the knowledge I have, my process was to make my benefits as cheap as possible.”

According to recent research by The Center for Generational Kinetics, Jesse is like many of his peers in the youngest age group (age 18-24) – what most people are calling Generation Z[i] — who are joining the work force and helping shape the future of employee benefits offered by employers. 2 While employers are offering perks such as flexible scheduling, increased paid time off, financial wellness programs, and workplaces with serenity rooms and recreational areas, younger workers are leading people to think more about benefits such as disability insurance.2 Recent Generational Kinetics research shows that millennials would take a 10 percent cut in pay for a job with a robust benefits package.2

Jesse says he first focused on benefits like dental insurance and a 401K, and he put disability insurance on the back burner. “Without kids, I didn’t think I’d need life and disability insurance,” Jesse says. “When I saw disability insurance, I thought that was for older people. I didn’t think about how it could help me. I think there’s a sense of optimism and invincibility that we’ll never get hurt. It seems so far-fetched.” No one thinks they’re going to get injured or need disability, but life happens. At least one of three people entering the work force today will become disabled before retirement age, according to the Social Security Administration.

Diane Russell, Jesse’s mom and SVP at Lincoln Financial in the employee benefits industry, remembers when Jesse signed up for his employee benefits for the first time and—of course—asked for her advice. “Remember when you called me and said ‘Mom, I had to pick my benefits, can we talk about it?’” Diane says. “We didn’t really talk about it, though.”

Many millennials seek their parents’ advice when signing up for benefits. If the parents don’t understand their own benefits or see the value of the coverage, they won’t relay the importance of disability insurance to their kids, Diane says. “I didn’t do that enough,” Russell says. “I have three children, and I think I could’ve done a better job of teaching them to understand the value of disability insurance. Even though I’m in the industry, we didn’t have that conversation.”

Though their busy schedules meant Diane and Jesse couldn’t discuss Jesse’s benefit options, they both say these conversations should happen as older kids begin working summer and after-school jobs. Even before their kids attend college, it’s a good idea for parents to talk with them about preparing for the unexpected, Diane says. Jesse adds that understanding employee benefits like disability insurance would be a good addition to a college class or a senior seminar designed to help college students transition to the working world. “It sounds complicated when it really isn’t,” Jesse says. “There’s a lot of language that hides what would happen and what would be paid if you’re hurt. It turns young people away. “Use layman’s terms. We need plain language.”

Sometimes the decision to forgo disability insurance comes down to finances. A millennial starting their career in an entry-level position has a lot of tough choices on how to spend their money. Yet that’s why they should look at disability insurance as a way to protect their paycheck if they’re ever hurt, Diane says.

Jesse changed his mind about buying disability insurance when he saw the cost. “When you see the price of it, it’s like, ‘Why not?’ This is barely anything out of my paycheck and it’s a strong benefit to have,” he says. “If I get hurt, not only is medical not covering everything, I also won’t bring in a paycheck.”

Ultimately, disability insurance helps replace some of that paycheck when you’re out of work for an injury or illness. “You get used to making a certain amount of money,” Jesse says. “And the bills don’t stop just because you can’t work.”

Jesse also saw how important disability insurance was for younger people like him once he started working in the insurance industry. “To be honest, it was eye-opening,” Jesse says. “I saw people my age that used these benefits and if they hadn’t, they’d be in a bad spot. Kids my age live an active lifestyle. When they get injured, they still need that paycheck.”

 

 

[i] Francis, T and Hoefel, F. (2018, November) ‘True Gen’: Generation Z and its implications for companies. Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/consumer-packaged-goods/our-insights/true-gen-generation-z-and-its-implications-for-companies

 

2 Lincoln Financial and The Center for Generational Kinetics. (2019). [Study on Millennial Financial Wellness and Workplace Benefits Purchase Drivers]. Unpublished raw data.




What You Should Know for Your First Open Enrollment

By Jenn Kischell, Vice President, Group Benefits, MetLife.

 

Open enrollment is taking place across the United States, and like millions of workers, you must submit your choices by a certain deadline. Many younger employees, however, are unsure about what types of coverage to select and how much and are tempted to wait until the last minute. This can lead you to decisions you may regret and financial setbacks.

 

Instead, take a minute to explore why benefits deserve your full attention and how to make the right choices.

 

Why Benefits Are Worth Your Attention

 

It’s tempting to procrastinate about benefits enrollment and you’re not alone. According to a recent MetLife survey, among young respondents (ages 21-38), about one in five spend only a few minutes reviewing benefits choices before making selections. And nearly half said they dread making annual benefit enrollment decisions equally as much as asking for a raise.

 

There are many reasons why you should think carefully about your benefits, including:

 

Benefits are part of your total compensation package. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for every $2 employers spend in wages and salaries, they spend an additional $1 in benefits.

  • . Many employers are investing in their employees through generous benefits programs in order to attract the best employees, so you should take advantage of all they offer you.
  • Unexpected illness and accidents CAN happen. Per the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA), more than one in four of today’s 20-year-olds can expect to be out of work at least a year before they reach retirement age. This underscores why benefits like disability insurance are critical.
  • Benefits protect your savings. Most experts say people should have enough money to cover three to six months of living expenses if you’re unable to work, yet according to The CDA, only about half of adults in the U.S. have enough to cover just three months. In the MetLife survey, more than a quarter of young respondents said they could barely cover two weeks. Benefits help reduce financial burdens and anxiety, keeping money in your pocket.

 

How To Make the Right Choices

 

Especially for employees early in their career, being thoughtful about open enrollment can make the difference between achieving short- and long-term financial goals and pushing them off.

 

  • Assess your personal situation. Take an honest look at your lifestyle, health, family history and more before making selections. Consider your financial goals that could be thrown off by unexpected expenses. Many employers offer legal services, for example, that help reduce the cost of hiring a lawyer for speeding tickets, wills or landlord disputes.
  • Have meaningful conversations. Talk to trusted friends, colleagues or family for advice. MetLife’s survey found that just one-quarter of young people asked for advice from a friend before making benefit decisions. Conversations with people you trust can help you understand the personal value of benefits and provide insights you haven’t considered on how they relate to your life.
  • Do the research. Carefully read the full benefits package, as well as any additional material your employer may have available, such as videos and online guidance tools. You might be surprised about new offerings, or what existing options cover. For example, disability insurance might support mental and emotional illnesses, and some companies may offer auto and home insurance, or tuition reimbursement.

 

The bottom line is that employers offer benefits to stay competitive and help employees thrive. It’s up to employees, however, to make the most of the package to achieve their goals. By paying attention to your package, you can select the right “sweet spot” of benefits to build a better life.




What HR Should Know About Gen Z

Move over, Millennials. Today organizations are thinking about Gen Z, the newest cohort joining the workplace. While millennials remain the largest group in the workforce today, they are increasingly being joined by their “younger sibs,” a generation that the Pew Research Center defines as being born from 1997 on.

New college grads fit the bill, as do the high schoolers who will soon be coming on board. Here are five traits to know about this generation and how to create a workplace that appeals to them. (The great news is that most generations will appreciate the new dynamics as well!)

The Trait: Gen Z isn’t afraid to jump ship.

While this can seem like a downside, it’s wise to know this about the generation—and work to keep them happy. There’s a reason they’re more prone to move around, and that’s because they saw the damage done to their parents and neighbors who might have worked long hours at a job, only to see their company fail to offer that same loyalty in return. In addition, they’ve seen their millennial counterparts who presumably did the right thing by graduating from college being inundated with student loans and sometimes unable to find a job commensurate with their education. “The traditional power dynamic that views corporate overlords as holding the keys to job stability, benefits, and great pay isn’t shared by Gen Z. That spells potential disaster for employers that believe they hold all the cards,” explains an article on Quartz.com.

What HR Should Do: Cultivate a work culture that puts them first. Invest in them through proper onboarding, then training and interesting work that will keep them satisfied. Make sure that a full slate of benefits meets their needs. And then realize that they might not intend to be lifers, and that’s ok. When one leaves, hopefully another one will be there to take their place, bringing all the enthusiasm and creativity that comes with a new hire.

 

The Trait: Gen Z is truly digital first.

While millennials came of age during the digital revolution, most Gen Zers have never known a world without answers at their fingertips or social media impacting their life view.

What HR Should Do: Embrace the fact that they are going to post on social media by offering Instagrammable-events and inviting them to share company content. Make sure you have developed and share a solid social media policy; as in, highlighting confidentiality best practices and letting them know if they need to tag photos with your company name. And, make sure that your own social media and online presence reflects a place this group would be happy to join.

 

The Trait: Gen Z is eager for leadership and development opportunities.

Gen Z has spoken: The members of the graduating class of 2019 ranked ongoing continuing education as a top priority in their job search. That’s likely because of all the rapid technological change they have seen so far in their lives, coupled with the ongoing discussions of AI and automation potentially changing the dynamics of many workplaces.

What HR Should Do: Make sure that a robust culture of learning and development is prominent in your organization. Whether you offer options for online or in-person classes or focus more on cross-training and apprenticeships, show your newer employees that you are eager to have them grow with you—or you risk having them grow away from you.

 

The Trait: Gen Z craves flexibility.

Work/life balance has given way to a new concept of work/life blend. That’s because Gen Z has never known an environment where their personal and “other” lives weren’t completely intertwined. While they probably won’t balk at answering an email after hours, they also expect that sometimes they can take a longer lunch for an eye doctor appointment or come in late if they’ve been crunching on a project. That’s why flexible hours are consistently cited as one of the top draws for a job, finds online job site Glassdoor.

What HR Should Do: Of course, sometimes it’s not possible to accommodate all the flexibility an employee might want, but try to find ways that they can have some control over their work hours.

 

The Trait: Gen Z welcomes feedback.

Forget “annual” reviews. One study found that nearly 60% of the Gen Z cohort want check-ins from their managers at least weekly, and many would prefer daily. That allows them to course correct in the now, rather than taking a “rear-view” mirror perspective about what they could have done. Giving them tangible, actionable insights allows this “video game” generation to measure how well they are doing in “leveling up” to new skills and behaviors.

What HR Should Do: Offering constant feedback can seem daunting but it doesn’t have to be. While HR might have a more formal process in place, equip your managers with best practices on how they can help create a culture of continuous feedback, such as having short weekly check-ins with each employee, giving a five-minute debrief after meetings or presentations and starting each week with a concise team meeting to align on goals and also share quick performance updates in a group setting.




Seven Things Even The Smartest College Grad Might Not Know About The Workplace

It’s hard to remember back to your first job, but the learning curve can be steep—even for young adults who did very well in college. In fact, today’s newest professionals, Gen Z, tend to feel hesitant about the work environment, with a quarter believing that they will not meet employers’ expectations.

 

Of course, sometimes they just need a clearer picture of what those expectations look like—and often they center on soft skills and other information not taught in class. Remember, none of these suggestions are designed to insinuate that this generation is less tuned into reality—many of them have just never faced these types of situations.

 

Here are some tips you can share (gently) with new employees as they onboard to help make their transition smooth.

 

  1. They’ll need to master various forms of communication.

A little tutorial on communications methods and etiquette can be a smart idea. You should start by going over your social media and email security policies, and then talk about what types of communications are work-appropriate. Does your company encourage texting? Slack? Emojis? It’s not uncommon for this age group not to have used a landline much—house phones seem to be a thing of the past. So spending some time acquainting them with transferring calls or other tasks like that they need to be aware of is important.

 

  1. Work hours are standard.

Although many workplaces are embracing flexibility, it doesn’t meant that new employees can come and go as they please. They might be used to a bit more of a lax standard with their professors, and while many Gen Zers have been budding entrepreneurs, they might not have held a traditional “job.” It’s important to set expectations straight by covering the absence and tardiness policy—whatever yours happens to be—with them.

 

  1. They won’t be graded on every assignment, and they might have to ask for input.

Many students crave the reinforcement that came with receiving a grade on every paper they turned in and report they made. But the workplace isn’t always like that; although good managers give frequent feedback, often it’s not constantly top of mind, so it’s up to an employee to speak up and ask for advice or pointers.

 

  1. Their benefits are an important part of their compensation.

Most recent college grads have been on their parents’ benefit plans until now and might not realize how important it is to understand what benefits are offered and how they should take advantage of them. Many might be bewildered by the many options for healthcare plans, co-pays and the like so be sure to give them plenty of information to answer their questions.

It’s also wise to remind them that benefits account for roughly 30 percent of their compensation, so they don’t want to squander that.

 

  1. Gently remind them that their parents aren’t part of workplace decisions.

It seems hard to believe, but “helicopter parents” are definitely a thing, and some HR folks report that they don’t necessarily “land their aircraft” when their child reaches the work world. Some companies are embracing it with a “Take Your Parent To Work Day,” but in general your new employee’s parents shouldn’t be providing input. There’s hopefully no reason to have to bring this up, but it’s something to keep in mind if a new team member seems openly involved in speaking with their parents throughout the recruiting process.

 

  1. Let them know there are resources for different issues.

Explain why they want to take advantage of all benefits; for example few can expect to need disability insurance, and yet statistics show that more than a quarter of 20 year-olds will one day be out of work for more than a year due to a disability. Many of this generation are also facing mental health concerns—a growing problem on college campuses. The good news is that treatment and diagnosis is increasing; that means more students are seeking help and will need support in the workplace as well.

 

  1. Stress the importance of financial wellness.

Now is the time that Gen Z can set themselves up for a lifetime of positive financial decisions. Talk to them about the importance of saving for retirement—using the illustration of compounding interest. One scenario that’s sure to grab their attention explains that you can reach a $1 million retirement account with far less of your own savings the earlier you start. For example, if you start at age 20, you need only save $319 per month, an amount that roughly doubles to $613 if you wait until age 30 and then skyrockets to $2,831 per month if you wait until age 50. Financial author Ron Lieber calls a similar chart the one that “changed his life.”

Talking to them about making smart financial choices now as part of their benefits package can be a gift that keeps on giving.

 

 

As the workplace continues to evolve with several generations integrating, HR can play a role in helping the new kids on the block feel supported.




Everything You Need to Know About the Keto Diet

Chances are high that you have heard someone talking about the “keto” diet, short for “ketogenic.” And when they talk about it, more than likely they are also raving about all the pounds they have lost and how good they feel. And, chances are also good that has made you curious about it. Let’s find out more about this hot eating plan and if it’s for you.

What is the Keto Diet?

Simply put, the keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet, similar to the Atkins or Paleo diets that many have followed. It differs from those, however, because the goal of the keto diet is to make the body produce “ketones,” which puts your body into “ketosis.” That metabolic state means that your body will start burning stored fat for energy, rather than glucose. That’s because if you don’t put carbs in, your body won’t turn to them for a source of energy first. 

The recommended percentage for a standard keto diet 75% fat, 15 to 20% protein and 5 to 10% carbohydrates. A calculator like this can help you keep track of how your diet is measuring up. 

Some foods that are recommended, according to Healthline include:

  • Seafood
  • Low-carb vegetables, like kale, broccoli, zucchini spinach, etc. 
  • Cheese
  • Avocados
  • Meat and poultry (grass-fed encouraged)
  • Eggs
  • Coconut oil
  • Plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Berries
  • Butter and cream (best in moderation)
  • Shirataki noodles
  • Olives
  • Coffee and tea (unsweetened)
  • Dark chocolate and cocoa power

Foods to avoid include:

  • Grains and starches in all forms
  • Fruit (other than berries) 
  • Root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, beets, etc.)
  • Sugar
  • Legumes
  • Sweetened drinks
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Alcohol

What Are Some Pros Of The Keto Diet? 

As described above, if followed comprehensively, the keto diet should help you burn stored fat because there is no longer glucose, or quick energy, to burn off. That means that you should be dropping pounds relatively quickly, while still feeling full given the high protein nature of the plan.

But that’s not the only benefit. Ongoing studies have pointed to a variety of potential health benefits, from lowered blood pressure to improved memory and life span (although this study was only done on mice). As the diet has only gained widespread use relatively recently, more studies are sure to be forthcoming, but early returns look promising. And of course, weight loss of any kind leads to less risk of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

It also has been shown to reduce seizures in children, which means that it may have potential for helping with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis—although no studies yet prove that. But its potential to help with disabilities is exciting.

What Are Some Cons Of The Keto Diet?

First of all, it is very hard to stay on it for any length of time; that’s because the food is relatively limited, which means you need to plan ahead for virtually every meal. And as with most restrictive plans, when you go off the keto diet and resume natural eating patterns, you might quickly regain weight as you add carbs back in.

Also, some people who start the keto diet complain of the “keto flu,” a general feeling of fatigue, potentially accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms, as their body transitions. That can often be warded off with plenty of water and sleep as your body adjusts. 

In addition it can be dangerous for some people—for example, people with insulin-dependent diabetes should never follow a keto diet. It’s best to always check with a medical professional before beginning a highly specialized diet as you might have additional health issues that would make you a poor candidate. In addition, it is smart to talk with a nutritionist to get sample diets to start you off on the right foot.

The Keto Diet Might Be Right For You If:

  • You are able to follow the meal planning advice carefully, preparing meals in advance and packing food when you go to work and out for meals. 
  • You don’t use it as an excuse to fill up on butter and bacon. If you routinely choose unhealthy fats and protein sources, you actually could raise your risk of diabetes and heart issues. 
  • You have been deemed a good candidate by a trusted health professional.

There are many ways to eat to lose weight, gain more energy and combat disease. The good news is that there is an eating plan for everyone—and the keto diet might be right for you. 




5 Tips for Snow Day Survival

As any third grader will tell you, there’s really nothing better than a snow day. You’re up early and dressed, because you weren’t sure if the bus was coming. And though it usually requires 45 minutes of parental nagging to get you to put on your boots and coat, once you confirm classes or cancelled, you can be fully bundled up and ready for action in 3.5 seconds. And you feel certain that just because the roads are too dangerous for buses, that’s no excuse for mom and dad not to drive you to your best friend’s house or the nearest sledding hill.

For working grown-ups, however, a snow day can mean falling behind, sacrificing a vacation day, or in some cases not getting paid. If you’re an exempt worker and your office closes due to inclement weather, your employer is legally required to pay you, unless you had already scheduled the day off. But even if you’re not going to loose out on pay or time off, you may be facing the anxiety that comes with missed work.

If you work in snow country, you know snow days are going to happen. You may not know when, but you know they’re coming. Here are five tips to help you survive them:

  1. Plan for the (un)expected. Snow days are going to happen, so talk with your employer about having the equipment and access you need to work from home. For many employees, just keeping up with email can eliminate stress and make it easier to return to the office when the storm passes.

 

  1. Watch the forecast. We usually get a few days warning before a snowstorm. If you know it’s coming, you can adjust your schedule. Move meetings, change travel plans, or look for ways to connect with colleagues online of over the phone.

 

  1. Look for back-up. If you’re home with kids on a snow day, it can be hard to concentrate on work. Coordinate with other parents in the neighborhood. You watch their kids for a couple of hours, and they return the favor later on, giving you both a little quiet time to get things done. If this isn’t an option, toss out your screen-time restrictions and let the kids enjoy a movie while you work.

 

  1. Find a quiet workspace at home. It may be tempting to hunker down on the couch with a laptop and a bag of chips, while the TV plays in the background. But a quiet, dedicated workspace will allow you to be more productive.

 

  1. Have some fun. It’s a snow day, after all, and there’s no reason you can’t let your inner third grader enjoy it. Have a snowball fight or go sledding with the kids. It’ll help wear them out, and give you a well deserved break from work.

 

Just for fun, here are the Top 10 U.S. locations with the most snow days per year.




Millennials more mindful than their parents during the holiday season

Millennials have a more defined vision of kindness and thoughtfulness during the holiday season compared to other generations, according to new research conducted by Lovepop, a maker of handcrafted 3D paper cards.

According to a national study that questioned more than 850 people, all generations tend to agree on the “true meaning” of the holiday season, with 93 percent saying they consider “kindness” the most important aspect.

However, millennials tend to go above and beyond when it comes to demonstrating thoughtfulness during this time of year and creating new memories. According to the study, 60 percent of millennials think their definition of thoughtfulness is different than older generations, and 91 percent are more likely than any other generation to say they are “more thoughtful than their parents.”

Additionally, 80 percent of millennials say thoughtfulness means making an effort to spend time with friends and family, while 66 percent say its about creating shared experiences and another 70 percent saying its about making an effort to acknowledge the everyday efforts of those around them.

Across the study, millennials were the only generation to statistically agree they are nicer than their parents. In fact, 60 percent are more likely to put in an effort to show they care than boomers. In addition, more than half – or 54 percent – of millennial parents say they make more of an effort to teach their children kindness than their parents did for them.

The research also proves just how above and beyond millennials are going this holiday season. About 68 percent of them will travel to be with loved ones, and they will spend 44 percent more on travel than any other generation.

In addition, 25 percent of millennials plan to cover travel expenses for loved ones to be with them, while 85 percent are adopting what they deem a “difficult schedule” in order to be with loved ones.




What makes a millennial-friendly workplace?

Move over, foosball table and bean bag chairs. If your organization’s goal is to attract the next generation of workers – and it better be, given the fact that millennials are the largest generation in the workforce today, reports the Pew Research Center – you want to make sure you’ve designed a workplace that features the attributes they covet.

Of course, the good news is that the elements that make a workplace friendly to millennials actually will attract all generations; after all at our core most of us want the same things.

But the millennial generation isn’t shy about expressing their preferences, so here are some research-backed suggestions for creating the ultimate millennial-friendly workplace.

Millennials want: Training and development

The skills shortage is real, and millennials want to make sure that their abilities are keeping pace with today’s new workplace and its focus on ever-evolving expectations. In fact, nearly 90 percent of millennials say that “professional or career growth and development opportunities” is a key factor in their job satisfaction, finds a Gallup poll – and that’s surely one reason why more than three-quarters of companies are offering professional development opportunities as a way to retain employees, finds a survey by Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Millennials want: Feedback

Forget the annual review. “Why look in the rear-view mirror when you can be looking toward the future?” millennials wonder. In fact, nearly three-quarters of those under age 30 said they that would prefer feedback either weekly or monthly, finds a PwC survey. And that’s a bonus for everyone because it allows employees to make small tweaks to their performance on an ongoing basis, rather than waiting for a deluge of information, many of which refers to incidents or behaviors that may have happened a long time ago.

Millennials want: Top-notch technology

You better ditch those balky workstations and outdated pagers: Close to half (42 percent) of millennials say they would quit a job if they had to work with substandard tech, and an overwhelming 81 percent said that the available workplace technology was a consideration when contemplating a job offer, finds “The Future Workforce” study.

Millennial want: A workplace that lives its values

In one study reported by Glassdoor, employees named “culture and values” as the No. 1 workplace factor that matters to them most. Today’s younger generations are finely tuned into corporate social responsibility (CSR), and how companies behave, but the important thing to remember anymore is that they won’t just take your word for it: They are going to rely on their own research to find the facts. In fact, the Cone Communications CSR study finds that more than three-quarters of millennials do research to make sure a company is authentic in what it claims about environmental or social issues. While the study primarily pertained to consumers’ purchasing behavior, it stands to reason they will be equally diligent about sussing out the facts before taking a job.

Millennials want: Work/life balance

It’s almost become a cliché, but millennials crave their free time. In fact, flexibility is incredibly important to them as they create a balance that works for them. And while that mean ducking out for a spin class at noon or leaving early to take advantage of great weather for a hike, it also probably means they are answering emails on the weekend. Offering them the flexibility to make their own hours (within reason, of course, if it fits with your industry) can make a huge difference in their happiness in the workplace: An environment of flexibility encourages a positive impact on overall wellbeing, health and happiness, say 82 percent, and 81 percent also said it made them more productive, finds the 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey.

Millennials want: A cool workplace

Ah, yes, back to those foosball tables and beanbags. Because, as it happens, millennials do care about their work environment. Turns out that 70 percent of millennials choose their jobs based on the office space, finds the Capital One’s Work Environment Survey. The good news? The most-desired workplace design element is natural light. So let the sunshine in.




Want to hire Gen Z? Here’s how to find them…and impress them

Just when you thought you finally had this millennial thing down, a new generation is joining the workplace. Yes, welcome to Gen Z, soon coming to a workplace near you, if they’re not already there.

Gen Z (typically described as those born in 1995 and later) is the first generation to grow up as “digital natives,” that is, they don’t remember a time when they couldn’t access everything they need to know on their computer or device. Therefore the way you recruit Gen Z might be very different from other generations.

That’s why companies today are finding success with new modes of communication, reaching out to Gen Z in the language they speak. For example:

  • McDonald’s takes “Snaplications”: Gen Z spends a lot of time on social media, so why not reach them there? in 2017 McDonald’s launched a program that allowed teens to apply via Snapchat. According to Fortune magazine, “Snapchat users may see a 10-second video ad from McDonald’s employees discussing their experience working there. Then users can then swipe up on the app to be redirected to McDonald’s career webpage in the app to apply for openings.”
  • Advertising agency Havas asked intern candidates to text: Corralling Gen Z’s interest in texting and social justice, a global advertising firm asked prospective interns to text ideas about how to change the world for the better.
  • Investment bank Goldman Sachs uses Snapchat geo-filters: Using a feature called “Campus Story,” Goldman Sachs promoted careers at the investment bank with sponsored segments that would show only to users whose phone had been on a specific campus in the past 24 hours.

If you’re still recruiting the “old-fashioned” way, don’t worry: You’re hardly in the minority. But to appeal to Gen Z, you’ll have to make sure that you are communicating the right messages.

  1. Showcase your creative side.

Whereas employers used to implore employees to spend less time on social media, savvy companies realize that it can actually be a recruiting tool. That’s why some companies design their offices with “Instagrammability” in mind.” For example, a Wall Street Journal article reported that several new hires at LinkedIn were impressed with the pictures they saw on Google Images and Instagram, many of which featured interactive wall art as they sought to learn more about the company’s culture.

One of the images is a “Wheel of Dream Jobs” where employees can spin a huge wheel; another is a mural that has a nearby jacket employees can wear that makes them blend in with the wall. “The art the company has installed…is a major help as far as talent retention and getting people excited,” says Cherish Rosas, an environmental graphic design project manager at LinkedIn.

  1. Offer them variety.

You may have heard that fewer teens are taking summer jobs (or, depending on your business may have struggled to hire them yourself). That’s because today, about 70 percent of teens are self-employed, reports Harvard Business Review.

Because of that, Gen Z are used to autonomy and variety and will be attracted to a workplace that offers diversity in job functions. Consider hiring Gen Z with the promise of a job rotation or cross-training opportunities so they feel confident that they will get the mix of activities that will keep the job fresh.

  1. Never forget they are doing their own research.

Employers have to remember the power of social sharing sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn, where Gen Z employees are going to find out more about the vibe of the company. Whereas companies used to be able to control their online presence through a sparkling website, now they need to do far more to guard their reputation and ensure that the message they are saying about themselves matches what employees believe.

The only way to create that positive image that will attract Gen Z? You have to practice what you preach. The new transparency means that companies have to make sure their actions match their words, in order to gain the best talent.




Gen Z attitudes more accepting of risk and failure in the workplace

Failure is not only accepted by Generation Z but also welcome, according to a study released this week. In fact, Gen Z attitudes reveal 80 percent think embracing failure on a particular project will lead to innovation, while 17 percent think failure leads to more comfort when taking on risk.

The study, which was done at the 22nd EY annual International Intern Leadership conference this summer, asked 1,400 Gen Z folks about the future of work as they enter the workforce. According to the results, the Gen Z generation is more eager for innovation and accepts that failure is often part of the process.

“With the next generation of our workforce not afraid to fail in order to grow and innovate, organizations should create an environment that allows them to bring their ideas forward, fail fast, and then learn from that failure,” said Natasha Stough, EY Americas Campus Recruiting Leader.

“At EY, this means embracing values like inclusiveness, collaboration, openness and flexibility that best attract these candidates and encourage them to be fearless innovators once they join us.”

Motivation and goals in the workplace

Workplace perceptions and goals were also touched on in the study. More than two-thirds of participants believe that having a curious and open mindset is more important than a specific skill or expertise. In addition, this generation isn’t afraid to look outside of their comfort zone when presented with a challenge. In fact, 24 percent answered they would be excited and honored to do so.

Gen Z is also open to feedback and learning from their mistakes. Ninety seven percent of those questioned said they’d be receptive to feedback on an ongoing basis, while 63 percent said they’d prefer timely, constructive feedback throughout the year.

Gen Z individuals do differ, though, based on gender when it comes to workplace preferences and priorities. Potential for progression and growth was important for 39 percent of respondents when looking for an employer. Competitive salary, however, was a key priority for men, while women prioritized flexible work opportunities.

Technology and teamwork

Even though tech is becoming increasingly prevalent in the workplace, more than 90 percent of those surveyed said they prefer to have a “human element” to their teams, working either with just innovative coworkers or with co-workers and technology paired together. More than twice as many males though prefer to work with tech that allows them to do their job faster and take on higher levels of work, compared to just five percent of females who agree.

Seventy-three percent of females would be more apt to ask a coworker for help with a problem to which they don’t have the answer to however, while only 63 percent of males agree. In addition, more females like to work with coworkers who can challenge and motivate them compared to their male peers.

Diverse education and skills are also critical elements to a successful team environment, according to those surveyed. Having a millennial manager also remains the preference over Gen X or Baby Boomer for 77 percent of respondents – an interesting increase over 67 percent who agreed last year.

Lastly, Gen Z thinks the future looks bright, with 65 percent saying they feel confident that financially, they’ll be better off at work than their parents – the same is said for their overall happiness.