Generations Part 2: Gen Z, the world’s your oyster
James Rubec, Content Marketing Specialist at Randstad Canada, shares his thoughts on the generational huddle he's grown his career within and his hopes for the new generation entering the workforce today.
If everything I’ve read about this generation is true they’ll fit right in – but companies better invest in them and allow them to take their time to figure out what the organization actually does and how it works.
Bringing in Gen Z for data entry, or to sort files that shouldn’t be printed anyway is a waste of their energy. What this generation has experienced is15-years of rapid evolution of technology and social norms. They expect everything to move that fast and they might be right.
I started my career when using a cell phone in the office might get you a funny look, now I’ll be in meetings where we’ll all periodically pull them out to look at new messages; faux pas or status quo, who knows.
This generation will be more connected and will face more of the challenges that will come with it. There are so many channels for communication, which ever combination this generation chooses to use will win out.
They will be masters of their domain and if they have coding skills, building tools to make business easier will be second nature. No longer with there be a six month development project and a team of four – they’ll just work on it in an afternoon and Shazam you’ll have a new business application. Sure that might not be “focus” but it is more productive.
More than anything they want to learn and be certified – they know that knowing something is good, but showing that they know something immediately has more value. Of course not everyone can build applications in an afternoon but it could come to a point where building a solution to a problem replaces the Powerpoint presentation. This generation will expect society to come to the table with solutions or to not come to the table at all.
Disruption is the new productivity and Generation Z has grown up in a constant cycle of it.
Generations Part 1: Gen Y is the Jack of All Trades
James Rubec, Content Marketing Specialist at Randstad Canada, shares his thoughts on the generational huddle he's grown his career within and his hopes for the new generation entering the workforce today.
I grew up with two older sisters and saw exactly how competitive, career driven and challenging life has been for Gen X. I’ve always looked up to those born in the early 80s, they’ve been my mentors, my leaders and role models, seeing their struggle taught me two things;
Enjoy life – While #thestruggleisreal, is it only a struggle if you aren’t enjoying your journey – I also grew up with John Hughes movies, to quote Ferris Bueller’s day off;
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around for a while, you could miss it."
I feel that a lot of Generation X missed it because they were terrified of the repeated crashes in the economy and the amazing longevity of the boomers. Getting out of school with debt is a great incentive to get your life moving, but what if you can’t?
Network in real life: Back before Facebook my sisters had tons of friends and they did things, real things like car trips and dinners and back yard bbqs. They didn’t need a Facebook event to make it happen, they just got out and did stuff. They followed through on their commitments not just on peoples’ Twitter handles.
Now I’m just happy to have them around to help steer the ship in real life while my generation is busy swimming in apps and technology.
Generation Y: Jacks of All Trades, but Masters of None
Growing up in Ottawa, I have a slanted view of my generation, there were a few fields people could go into – government, tech, pure academia or the trades. I know almost no one who works with their hands and that’s endemic of our society. I know one carpenter, one painter and they are experts in their trades – that’s also endemic of our generation.
Knowing how large the world is makes us demand the best from ourselves in all we do. Problem is we want to do everything and know everything. We all have a DSLR camera, we all have improvisational training, we all of degrees, we all have lofty dreams - we are unique just like everyone else. The Internet did this to us, at one point we’re DIY, at another we have no time to do anything ourselves. We work hard, probably too hard to be productive. We network well but know too many people to build on those relationships in substantive ways.
Provide valuable feedback to Gen Y
I think we’ll get better with age, with focus and a winnowing of our dreams. It is often said we’re constantly seeking praise and feedback, it's because we're asking the world around us “Is this any good, should I keep doing it, is it worthwhile?”
Provide that feedback, that input and give Gen Y all of the opportunities you can. They'll make it worth your while.
Gen Z Resume Tips: No experience? No problem! How to showcase your value
Young workers, as you venture forth into the world of work you are armed with many things: your degrees or diplomas, fresh ideas (lots of them), work ethic, networks (social and personal) and your work experience.
Take stock of what experience you have and expand on it with projects, personal references and storytelling. Discuss your professional and educational journey and walk your resume readers through these five facets of your work experience:
Promote your skills and certifications: When you leave school you will leave with more than one piece of paper – you will leave with skills. What can you do? Who has trained you to do these things? Remember to discuss the skills you use to complete work in detail in your experience section. Breakout what tactics you’ve used in your work. Better yet, if you have any certifications that prove you are proficient in a method or with a tool be sure to highlight that in your resume.
Include all of your work experience: Whether it was a Co-Op placement, or a temporary position, your experience matters. You ability to conform to corporate methodology and practices is important especially if you have management experience. What training did you receive how many people did you manage, what did your teams achieve? Just because it wasn’t your dream job doesn’t make that experience irrelevant it is a matter of story-telling. You need to look at the job description and funnel your experience through its lens.
Interested in recruiting workers from Gen Y or Z? Read how to attract a new generation of workers,click here.
Get recommendations, include quotes: Whether it is with former employer, colleagues, professors or volunteer managers ask for recommendations on Linkedin, they help. You can even use them in your resume. When someone says something about you, that comment has a lot more strength than when you say it about yourself.
Break out your project work: Include insight into projects that you worked on, not in terms of tasks, but accomplishments. Describe what the projects’ objectives were, how you helped the team achieve them and what the end results were. This way you share more value.
If, while you visit the company’s website, or read about the industry, you have some ideas, interesting questions or suggestions why not share them? Without pretending that you can solve anything, as at this point you don’t have the full picture, at least you can show that you are curious and creative!
Include your blog: Depending on the role you are applying for, showing employers that you are active digitally and are experienced at building out your own personal audience shows people a few things. One, that you understand tone knowing how to shape content and messaging in a successful effective way and two, that you have web and social media skills, very much valued but today’s employers.
Companies are looking for you, they need to bring you in to become the next generation of leaders, experts and specialists.
When you get to the interview stage it is your time to weave a web through these five factors. Connect the dots between your work experience, your studies, the networks and communities you participate in. Showcase how you have grown and learned through the relationships that you’ve developed with past managers and companies. Explain how the skills you have learned can be useful to the organization, give concrete examples and share your ideas. Employers are looking for bright, well-rounded young workers, so show off your enthusiasm!
Indigo: an employee experience of storytelling and culture
Walk into any Indigo and speak with the employees on the floor. They are smart, knowledgeable, inter-connected and above all helpful and Canadians have noticed.
For the last four years Indigo has placed within the Top 20 most attractive Canadian employer brands. What that means is that when asked during Randstad Canada’s employer branding survey, the Randstad Award, an overwhelming number of Canadians have said they want to work for Indigo. Indigo has achieved this through storytelling.
“We think of Indigo as a cultural department store … and at its heart it is all about storytelling.”
Laura Dunne, Indigo’s Executive Vice President of Human Resources knows the brand its product line and people. With over 6,500 employees working out of 91 superstores under the brand names Chapters, Indigo and the World’s Biggest Bookstore and 130 small format stores, under Coles, Indigo, Indigospirit, SmithBooks, and The Book Company, selling everything from books, ear buds, sheep skin throws and premium children’s toys – that’s a lot.
That story is found in the products Indigo sells and the people they employ. Whether it is wellness, technology or housewares, Indigo shifts with the culture around it, adapting the product line and team to suit the needs of their customers. To do this Indigo taps its national network of employees and their experiences.
Digital community connecting national teams
“We’ve built a virtual community called Galileo that allows our employees to engage with each other and our brand, overtime we increased its functionality to include a section called Galileo Ideas,” said Dunne, who found that the platform was being used to share best practices on employee experience, financial performance and other innovations “This is the grassroots for change. We have thousands of participants sharing ideas for improvements in store and in every area.”
Indigo’s brand has been closely tied to creativity and innovation and this platform grew to be an embodiment of that value.
That change and adaption has given Indigo’s talent team the opportunity to reimagine the employee experience which allows them to bring exciting partnerships into the brand and the in-store day to day.
“We partner with brands that share our values, we try to preserve their mystic as they grow with us, and we want them to be complimentary,” said Dunne.
If you go into any Indigo you experience multiple brands at the same time. You can go to a Starbucks, or into an iStore where you can buy headphones or iPads and you can shop for children’s toys like the American Girl line which Indigo recently brought to Canada. Each is catered to its own audience and each requires its own specialized team.
“American Girl is a brand of toys, dolls and dolls accessories,” Dunne explained. “We needed to build a customer experience that was engaging for children and their parents so we launched a recruitment campaign asking people to apply for an ‘audition’ to represent the brand.”
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
Indigo didn’t just post a few job ads with a catchy title, in the spring and fall of 2014 they launched a full social recruitment campaign with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
“We received thousands of applications and the quality of these candidates was amazing,” said Dunne explaining that the auditions were held in groups of carefully selected candidates to amplify the experience for everyone involved. “We were able to put some people in Indigo Tech, or Home in on- site sales.”
American Girl’s brand builds the self-esteem of young girls, helping them find their passions and to embrace diversity. They also have a particular service model that Indigo needed to replicate in the employee and customer experience.
One brand thousands of stories
“You need to bring that story to life. We flew down to the States and learned directly from their teams, we brought the training methodology back and rebuilt it,” said Dunne.
The Randstad Award is presented each year to the most attractive employer in various countries throughout the globe.It’s not just another prize for the trophy cabinet because the winner is based on the outcome of the world’s largest survey into employer branding. And unlike other best employer awards, it is ‘the people’s choice’, based on the views of a representative sample of employees and job-seekers in each of the participating countries. 9,500 respondents per country between the ages of 18 and 65 are asked for their views on a country’s 150 largest companies through an online questionnaire.The companies are selected through national statistics agencies. This means they cannot request or subscribe to be included in the survey. The winners are selected solely based on the appeal of their employer brand. Such careful measures ensure that the survey remains completely objective.
Introducing Generation Z, born between 1995 and 2010. Coming to a workplace near you very soon with seven million of their peers in Canada, Gen Z is poised to make their mark in business. So who are these future workers? How can employers prepare for this next generation? What are the differences between Gen Y and Gen Z, and how will those differences impact organizations? And most importantly, how do you attract, engage and retain them?
Ontario’s Engineers Building Bridges across the Skills Gap, one Popsicle Stick at a Time
May be STEM education is a bridge too far; despite efforts by industry and government, there are too few Canadians children being educated in the STEM (science, technologies, engineering and mathematics) fields. The Conference Board of Canada this past April, gave our provinces and their educational systems a D on their annual STEM education report card; the question is how do you bring more youth into these studious fields?
For Bruce Miliken P. Eng,the Vice-Chair of the Professional Engineers of Ontario’s Quinte Chapter, who is part of an organizing committee that sets up an annual Popsicle stick bridge building competition, the trick might be getting them while they’re young.
“A couple years ago, a girl in Grade 6 won. She built a bridge that could withstand over 250 lbs.,” saidMilliken, an electrical engineer for over 30 years. “That was just in the Standard competition; in the Open Class, her bridge withstood over 550 lbs. of pressure.”
Every year, 25 or 30 competitors from the Quinte region come his way, with bridges of varying complexity and design. The rules are simple, you get 100 Popsicle sticks and simple white glue – build a 24 inch bridge that can span a 20 inch gap and it must be thick enough to drive a Matchbox car across.
“You see a lot of triangles, and that’s a good thing,” explained Miliken. “They work on them on their own, or in some cases, in school with some supervision by their teachers. Competitors are from grades four to eight”
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There are two classes for the competition, the traditional Standard Class, with 100 Popsicle sticks and white glue and the Open Class, with 200 sticks and any glue the competitors can get their hands on.
“We’re not the only region that does these competitions, they happen across Ontario – organized by the Professional Engineers of Ontario and other similar groups. We’ve been doing it for at least the past 10-years,” said Miliken.
While Canada is leading the OECD in education attainment, we lag behind many in terms of PhDs in the STEM field, we also have few foreign nationals seeking education in Canada, which is seen as an indicator of quality.
As Bruce sees it, the bridge building competition is a great tool for educating young minds.
“It is a great lesson in geometry, and in Newtonian mechanics and the idea that forces and failures interact.”
The Quinte competiton is being held in March as part of National Engineering Month, to learn more about engineering acitviites in your region, visit, their event listing.
Through Randstad Canada’s Women Shaping Business program we’ve have been so proud to be a part of this conversation and to bring insightful discussion with business leaders and experts who #MakeitHappen all year round. Take a look back at this year’s Women Shaping Business Toronto panel discussion and listen to an engaging conversation about mentorship and personal development of female leaders.
There are also many events taking place across Canada, here are some of the best!
National: Sunday, March 8, 1.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.
EQUITY HACKATHON: Put on by Equity in Theatre, join teams as they load new International Women’s Day content into Wikipedia
This IWD help us increase visibility in the arts by adding wiki pages on women in Canadian theatre to the internet. We will have locations set up throughout the country on Sunday, March 8th to get together and type! Contribute to an already published wikipage or create your own. Our website provides links and step-by-step information on how to publish and we will be available via email or our contact page if you have questions
Toronto: Sunday, March 8, 12.00 p.m. to 2.00 p.m. 585 Dundas St E Toronto, ON M5A 2B7
Celebrate with Olivia Chow: In 2013, Olivia Chow was a member of the Toronto, Women Shaping Business Panel held by Randstad Canada, join her and New Comer Women’s Services Toronto for a networking potluck fundraiser.
Ottawa: Saturday March 7
Blush 2015: “An evening of pampering, beauty and fun as we celebrate International Women's Day!”
You can find a full list at the official International Women’s Day Event in your region here. Or take part in the discussion by using #MakeitHappen, on Twitter. Tweet at @RandstadCanada.
This weekend on Sunday March 8, we’ll be turning our clocks forward an hour and while the boost of evening light will be make our commute home more enjoyable you have to make sure you “Spring Forward” in a safe and productive way.
In a study,published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, researchers from Michigan State University looked at reports of accidents that have occurred in mines from 1983-2006. The Barnes and Wagner study has found that when we lose an hour of sleep, like we will this upcoming Monday, we are more likely to be injured at work, and more likely to be hurt more severely. So, yes, daylightsavingstime gives us more-light but we need to be careful while at work.
How to save yourself during daylight’s saving time:
Go to bed an hour early, on Friday and Saturday night: This will help your body become accustomed to the time change and prevent life threatening fatigue.
Change your clocks earlier: If your schedule and sanity can withstand it, start your time change early. Your cellphone will change itself, but your habits of waking up an hour early won’t.
Take a care day: Some people experience sleep fatigue differently. If you don’t feel that you are well enough rested to perform your job safely, take the day off. Your safety and the safety of the people around you is more important than being on time.
Be aware: Your morning commute will be darker than usual. Are your headlights clean, are you prepared to interact with cyclists and pedestrians differently? With early March comes early spring, and the melting conditions will bring more people onto the road – watch out for them!
Workplace safety is part of the productivity puzzle. Managers should be cognizant that changes in time can affect people’s performance. If you work in an environment with FlexTime, or work from home, don’t be surprised if some of your team members use that option on Monday, March 9.
For more workplace trends, or talent management advice, follow us on Twitter @RandstadCanada.
If you have a smart phone, a TV, a thermostat or even a field full of cows, developers and IT professionals are connecting you to the world. Recruiting these talented team members can be a challenge, here are 5 Creative hiring Tactics for IT.
1. Hiring young: Generation Y has already entered the workforce in a real way, their skills are competitive, but their experience may not be where you need them to be fully productive. There are members of Gen Y who are running start-ups successfully, they are being promoted to senior ranks within teams – this year give them a shot or you’ll lose out on the leaders not just of tomorrow but may be today.
Generation Z, is younger but they are in some cases midway through their undergraduate programs. If you haven’t started talent marketing to this group you might already be behind the Grade 8-Ball. You don’t need an Instagram account to attract either generation Y or Z, recent research conducted by Randstad Canada has found that both groups are attracted by community engagement. Promote your Corporate Social Responsibility Programs, announce large hirings through the media and raise your profile with two generations at the same time.
2. Use contractors and contingent labour: While you need to build internal teams to help deliver this year’s business solutions, onboarding team members won’t solve immediate burning issues. There is an opportunity cost to not deploying new tools, or systems that improve efficiencies today. Contractors, or a contingent labour solution, can work with your team and immediately deliver on projects that can set up new hires for success this year.
3. Retention and promotion of women: There is a talent crisis in IT, and it is in how few women stay in their positions over the long term, with fewer female leaders in positions to act as sponsors or as powerful voices who can bring more women into the ranks – IT and Technical services have some of the lowest levels of female directorships outside of the natural resources industry
This can be a chicken and the egg problem, if an industry has few women in it, it is perceived as unattractive to women and fewer women apply to roles. There are still challenges, if are looking to fill a position for senior IT manager with 10-years of experience the reality is that there just weren’t that many women enrolling in IT programs in 1998 who can apply for that job. This year, break that cycle in 2012/2013, women represented more than half of the working population and as many as 25.5% of graduates from programs in IT are women . Bring them into your company now and support them as they grow – over time that will improve your employer brand and make you a more attractive employer.
4. Offsite teams: In IT, there are many roles that can be done offsite. You can have a development team working on projects in Calgary, when your head office in Toronto. This can help you in a couple of ways. One, it lets you manage the costs of your employees more effectively, knowing that some markets have lower rates than others and two, it can increase the hours of your team’s response and capacity with multiple team members in a variety of time zones. This flexibility means that if one team is bogged down in a weather emergency the whole team isn’t impacted.
5. Redundancy: Many managers are forced by budgets to run programming with a tight ship, but there is a strong argument in having redundancy built into your team structure. Hiring an extra team member gives your team some breathing room on productivity; it can improve the team cohesion, reduce stress and if a team member leaves unexpectedly you’ll have the added work capacity not reduce total output.
One greatest key to success in the talent war and in employer branding is competitive salary and benefits as found in Randstad Canada employer branding research in the Randstad Award. Make the best offers to your star candidates and be ready for your teams’ performance reviews with up to date information on what candidates are looking for today.
I’ve lived and worked in a Barrie for a long time and some people joke that “Bonnie-Sue knows everyone” and to some extent it’s true, I do know a lot of people here. The reality of the situation isn’t just that I know everyone; it is that I have a lot of relationships with people here, with businesses here and organizations – it hasn’t happened overnight and it hasn’t happened by happenstance.
If you want to grow your business, you need to engage with there community around you. Here are my tips for building your business by engaging in your community.
Network – I don’t just mean go out and hand out a few cards, but go out and listen to people. Find out what they need and see if you can help. That can be with someone who is new to town or your neighbour for 30-years. By helping your network and connecting them to other people or services you build trust and that’s a two-way street.
Keep your eyes open – The signs of new business for any company or your personal business are everywhere. Sometimes there is literally a new sign that indicates new construction, sometimes an existing business is renovating. That might mean expansion and they could use your services. Pay attention to new developments in your region, new bylaws passed by local governments they can be game changers.
Know your community – I don’t just mean its history but its physical landscape, different regions within it, drive around see what is there. Know the movers and the shakers in your community – meet your local councillors, meet your MPPs and MPs. They are professional networkers and there is nothing wrong with working with them or even for them.
Volunteer – Investing in your community with your time and the time of your people has value – it puts you in an incredibly good light and helps you connect with more deeply with your. When you volunteer you are building a bridge into the work and personal lives of the people you are working with. Over the long run giving back pays off in ways that you can’t count.
Work hard - Growing your business will never be easy and despite what you might have heard Linkedin won’t sell your customers for you. You have to go out every day, sometimes at night, sometimes on the weekends and get yourself know. Then the work begins you’ve got to fulfil their expectations and deliverer on-time and every time.
I hope this helps some new business owners out there, or someone who is planning to grow their team or company. If you need help we’re here, if you want advice, get into contact with me or my team.
Bonnie-Sue has been recruiter; business leader and powerhouse networker in Barrie for over 20-years, helping companies find great people and connecting the talented residents of Barrie find jobs. If you are looking for help recruiting in Barrie, or are looking for work please get into contact with her team by visiting www.randstad.ca/barrie.