How to prepare your back office for Generation Z

Published · 2 min read

Now that you’ve gotten a handle on Millennials, it’s time to start looking ahead. Gen Z (typically thought to be those born after 1995) is on the cusp of entering the workforce en masse and, similar to earlier generations, they’re likely to have several distinct values and expectations for their careers.

Finance isn’t typically the most agile department, so it’s important to plan ahead to attract (and retain) top talent from this tech-savvy generation. Here are three strategies today’s finance leaders can use to ensure your back office is Gen Z ready.

1) Embrace a bottom-up culture

If your company culture assumes that all the good ideas come from the top, it’s time to instill a different mindset. Gen Z is accustomed to being heard. After all, this is the first entirely digital-native generation. Gen Z grew up being able to share their thoughts and feelings with the world through social media. Their approach is not to wait for change, but rather to initiate change. They figure things out on their own, a trait that employers should embrace instead of providing step-by-step instructions.

2) Ongoing feedback is a must

Are your managers comfortable with providing one-on-one feedback? According to a study published by HR consultancy Randstad, when it comes to the work environment, Gen Z wants face-to-face contact with regular feedback. This is the generation that grew up receiving near-instantaneous feedback on social media, at all times, so it’s no surprise that they expect the same from their workplace. Someone who has wholly positive experiences at work, and finds their work engaging and meaningful, is going to be a greater asset to a company than someone who doesn’t.

Managers should communicate the finance department’s mission and goals regularly, and set up time each week for new employees to give and receive feedback. Get managers on board with forging professional, yet mentoring relationships with Gen Z employees. Annual performance reviews won’t cut it with a group that thrives on ongoing feedback. A report published in MB Financial notes that Gen Zers already in the workforce expect regular feedback (e.g. daily or weekly, not annually).

These regular check-ins also allow managers to keep close track of employee satisfaction and engagement.

3) Focus on career growth

Regular check-ins serve another important purpose: They allow managers to keep close track of employee satisfaction and engagement, which is critical because Gen Z considers job hopping to be the new norm, according to a recent Adecco report.

That report also found that “career growth” is the most important factor to Gen Zers considering a first job. Your finance department should clearly articulate the knowledge and skills your new hires can expect to attain and what their career path will look like if they take the job. This generation is already tech savvy, so if your back office uses outdated technology or manual data entry, it’s time to consider an upgrade.

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