EMPLOYER BRANDING FOR GEN Z. A word that has become more and more relevant during the last 3-5 years I feel . Not because of the idea «to create an employer brand» itself, but rather about the question how it should be done in a modern (social media) world. During the last three years I encountered many employer branding for Gen Z projects and questions – especially in regards to attract a young generation of employees. You’re probably asking this question yourself: how should we market ourselves to the Generation Z in 2019? How should our 2020 campaign look like? Well, I got some thoughts for you to share.
Currently we’re doing a ton of research, quantitatively and qualitatively, in the Gen Z sector and we’re looking into the behaviors and desires of the young generation. Although they are often insecure about what they should study or in which field they should do their apprenticeship because of all the “AI” and “Roboters” and “disruptives changes” in the headlines, we feel, that on the other side, employers are much more worried, how to actually get their future talents.
1 | Authentic Content beats the Quality of Production
Well, you guessed it right. The discussions we at NEOVISO have are mostly about: “how to present ourselves the best way possible on social media”. With this subtitle I don’t want conclude that quality doesn’t matter. Sure we all like well-produced videos with proper sound and lighting, but most companies are actually caring too much how the content looks like instead of how it feels like. Generation Z has a very good bullsh*t detector and believe me, quotes like “we’re a people driven company» and «our culture is so diverse» and «everyday is different» are cute but not differentiating you at all from all the other millions of companies.
Quotes like “we’re a people driven company» and «our culture is so diverse» and «everyday is different» are cute, but not differentiating you at all from all the other millions of companies.
I’d rather like to see companies saying in a 1 min Instagram post: «right now our company can count 12 different nationalities, but 24 would be much cooler» or «yes, some days really look the same, but I’m glad that we keep stuff consistent in here». You get the point. Do not talk about your work, show your daily work. Create Instagram or Snapchat stories like SWISS where you can follow those people along their daily activities. Do not talk about leadership. Show them. Show what your leaders do in their free time, what their principles are and what makes them tick differently. Your employees are the best voice to market an employer brand. Not only your company profiles. Gen Z has two main drivers for their first job: learn as much as possible and have experienced and skillful leaders . So show what’s possible at your workplace, especially when you’re not Google or IBM, but maybe a very interesting regional SME. Times of your perfectly polished PR version of yourself should be left behind. Either you’re shining from within or people will find out on the first day of their job.
Either you’re shining from within or people will find out on the first day of their job.
2 | Be relevant on relevant channels
If you do some things of the first point right, you need to distribute it on the relevant platforms. Number one platforms for Gen Z are Instagram and Snapchat. Now there are normally two reactions at keynotes: «uh to be honest, I don’t really know what this Snapchat is» or «ahh but you know what, Snapchat and Instagram is history, Tik Tok is the new sh*t among youngsters». Here are my reactions: download Snapchat, let someone explain it to you if needed, send out a few snaps, test some filters, check out the discovery function, see a story ad and within 60min you know what it is about. You don’t have to be an expert, but at least respect it that most Gen Z are still going wild on it. Then to the second group I say: Tik Tok is definitely rising up, actually already during the last 2-3 years now because in the earlier days it was Musically that was going crazy. But looking from a marketer perspective (which should always be included, if your employer branding team is only full of HR people), then the Tik Tok market is relevant, but not as big as in comparison to the other two platforms.
I don’t want to go into details, but your go-to-strategy should be: go all-in on Instagram, run Snapchat ads and test out TikTok and decide if you can create some content.
The other part of Employer Branding for Gen Z are physical things. Your online activities should be accompanied by campus activities. Be active where students are, have a presence and please fully think about the first part (Authenticity) when you have the possibilities to talk in front of students. We at NEO Network have done this for the last four years: let companies talk about how they tackle the future. All the HR statistics and basic things can be looked up within seconds on Google. But an emotional explanation about the company’s future and your strategies behind it is priceless and irreplacable. Employer Branding for Gen Z does not mean changing everything up, but rather combining new things with well established initiatives.
3 | Dive into Gen Z
First of all, we’re here for you. We’ve been translating the Gen Z world to the Gen X and Baby Boomers for a while now. But a single input is not the solution, it’s just solving some short-term unclarity. To make a relevant employer brand you need to sit down with Gen Z, talk to them about what they think of you, what they desire from their future employers and which topics are hot right now. That’s a reason why we added to our business model a recurring «Young Generation Trend Radar» in which we analyze your young market every 6 months and present you the latest relevant insights from your target group. If your team leaders should understand and connect with this young generation, then they need to know about their lifestyle and what they find interesting. It’s exactly the same when you’re trying to connect to someone from older generations: you know they like golf, you know they like soccer and you inform yourself about finance topics that your business partner is interested in. You want to do small talk and find connection.
Employers also need to understand why speed matters. Make the application and information process as fast as possible. Make your brand look the way it’s appealing to your target (not to you) and cover the topics that they like (not you).
4 | Show Flexibility
Everyone is talking about flexibility. Not everyone is really showing it. This should be a content format itself: show people from your organization and let them talk about what flexibility means to them in a day to day rhythm. Show young people but also share the voice of older generations. Generation Z wants flexibility. It’s not that everyday should look different, but you need to understand that this is a generation that doesn’t want to commit to something for a long period. They want to stay flexible in terms of work content and work place. You should show them, that this is possible in your company!
Now to make things clear: I know, this all sounds like Gen Z is just asking, asking, asking. I can’t change that. But I’m sure you’ll also find ‘benefits’ that have been interesting to earlier generation but Gen Z doesn’t really care anymore. So you can make compromises.
5 | Be visionary when doing Employer Branding for Gen Z
We say this all the time. If you want to motivate young employees or potential talents, tell them about your vision. Tell them where the company needs to steer, what the challenges are within this «disruptive time of digitalisation» everyone is talking about. Tell them why you need them as (future) captains and who will be on board with them. For this there is one single important thing: don’t just tell this vision by the top management or by your marketing manager. Let everyone talk about it! You’re employees should live that spirit and should be proud of it. As I wrote in the first section: they are your best communication tool. A visionary post by a company profile is nice, but imagine if five lower level management people share it and add some comments like “yeah I’m proud to be part of it” or “interesting times ahead of us”… this will create the difference and make it sound credible, because there’s a face to the whole statement. Young people are not robots. They’re still humans and they still like emotions. 😉 So try to catch them.
Business plans are cool, but they are often seen as a short term tactic. Those plans might feel energizing for the moment, but it’s not something that will make their heart stay with you forever. You need something bigger. Tell this in a modern way. Tell it in a proud way. Tell it in your own words.
So the final question to do Employer Branding for Gen Z is: What’s your vision, who’s on board with you, who do you need on this ship, how do you turn all those stories into authentic content and where do you distribute it?
Thank you. Now let me know below in the comments what you would add, what has been on your mind or where you see the biggest challenges. 🙂
About me: I’m consulting companies around the topic of Generation Z, modern marketing and employer branding. Therefore I founded my company NEOVISO in 2016 to do market research within this generation and help companies to understand and reach Gen Z in their own way. I’m a keynote speaker, workshop host and strategist about our young clients, employees and business partners of today and tomorrow. So if your want to get in touch with me just drop me an E-Mail here: firstname.lastname@example.org or just visit our webpage www.neoviso.ch
–> Here’s the CNN Money Switzerland Interview, where we dive into Gen Z and also talk about Employer Branding.
Looking forward to hearing from you, maybe sitting down and having a coffee with you or reading some feedback below. Still a lot of things to talk about 🙂
 NEOVISO Research 2016-2019