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podcast: the post-millennial workforce with Mary Barroll


We all know how millennials have impacted the workforce, but a new generation is emerging! Gen Z is now entering the workforce and they are poised to have a very different impact than the generation before them. Mary Barroll, President of TallentEgg, helps us learn how to find and hire Gen Z interns and employees and how to keep them engaged in their jobs.

get to know them

While Gen Z shares the same attributes as millennials, they have a lot of different values that are extremely important to them. Both have grown up as digital natives and can most likely be found on their mobile phones, but Gen Z has an attention span two seconds short than millennials (Gen Z has eight seconds while millennials have ten). When you’re trying to attract young people, you really have to understand what they’re interested in and how to engage them.

According to Mary’s annual survey, she found that 70% of Gen Z is working part-time positions before or during their time in university. While they’re gaining technical skills from their programs, they aren’t exactly getting the work experience that provides them with core skills that are needed by employers.

Get a sense of who they are, what they’re looking for, what their values are and what excites them about an employer.

what does meaningful work look like to them?

Many organizations are quick to assign social media tasks to young people, which isn’t much of a surprise since they grew up around it. While they would do a fantastic job, it doesn’t necessarily give them an opportunity to learn or grow. They want to so something significant and contributes to the greater good. Being in the field, getting their hands dirty and seeing the impact of their work leaves them feeling satisfied and more likely to grow and stay in your organization.

A real advantage that the nonprofit sector has is that we often wear so many hats. Young people really appreciate this because it gives them access to different kinds of perspectives of the organization. It also makes them feel like they’re a part of something bigger, and the appeal for a career with a social impact is growing.

let them find you

The best way to find young people is to allow them to find you. Ensuring that your organization’s story is out there with the right messaging is crucial to attracting young people. Try setting up interviews with recent hires who are also young and let them tell their story to potential candidates. You can also share stories through video, editorials and social media (think Instagram and Youtube). These don’t need to be huge productions, but a well-working camera and decent editing is just as effective.

However, the most effective way is through peer-to-peer interactions. Just as fundraising with donors or working with clients, young people really value authenticity over anything else. While you can set up a Skype call, there is nothing that builds relationships better than face-to-face meetings.

help them help you

A smaller organization is more likely to give a young person the opportunity to take on responsibility more quickly than a large enterprise would. In fact, 41% of Gen Z values professional experience development. Providing them with an opportunity for continuous learning can result in retaining them from three to six years. Getting them involved more quickly by giving them more responsibility is a great way to help them see a potential career path with your nonprofit.

Do you feel like you don’t have time to train them on the basics? For basic on-boarding and training, videos are a great way to let Gen Z consume and refer back to key information. Mary also suggests starting off small by letting them shadow you. Give them opportunities to do different tasks and allow them to help support you. Then give them a chance to do it on their own with supervision, and eventually let go and see how well they do. Being able to welcome as well as correct mistakes through feedback is really valuable as well. Young people are prepared to take on bigger projects when they have a sufficient amount of support from management. Let them put down their roots and grow with the organization.

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Resources from this Episode

TalentEgg website

CharityVillage website

Bmeaningful website

You might also find it helpful to refer back to our episode featuring Lianne Picot about succession planning and future-proofing your small nonprofit

The Small Nonprofit podcast is produced by Eloisa Jane Mariano


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The Good Partnership, 401 Richmond St West, suite 353, Toronto, ON M5V 3A8

437-886-6047 | cindy@thegoodpartnership.com