B2B Recruiting: Generation Z and the desperate search for authenticity.

Just as B2B companies and recruiters have managed to adapt their recruiting processes to millennials, the next generation of young talents is already coming around the corner: members of Generation Z. Depending on which study you consult, the label refers to everyone born between 1995 and 2012.

Understanding the mindset and interests of this young target group presents B2B companies with a challenge since their experience realm is vastly different from the mentality of B2B decision-makers. Understanding this young generation is one thing, but not disappointing them is an entirely different story, especially regarding employer branding.

The disappointment can be huge.

The latest Havas Meaningful Brands Report shows that consumers are disappointed by most brands and companies because expectations are not being met. This development is bitterly resented by the younger generation, which results in the notion that B2B companies become more and more unattractive as potential employers.

Numbers don’t lie.

Especially young people are looking for companies committed to meaningful and sustainable measures and advocating for the good of society and the planet. The following data represent this conception:

  • 73 per cent of the interviewees believe that companies are obligated to act sustainably.
  • 64 per cent prefer to buy products from companies with a clearly defined brand purpose.
  • 53 per cent are willing to pay more for a brand that positions itself on social and environmental issues.

The increased focus of members of Generation Z on meaningful issues also influences their decision against or in favour of an employer. This raises the question of what B2B companies can actively do to win over young people and position themselves more attractive as employers?

Score points with topics that move young people. 

Show that sustainability is important to you as a B2B company and that you also make contributions to a better environment. You can do so, for example, by setting up a new area on your website that specifically deals with this topic.

Important at this point for employers: Transparency is essential for members of Generation Z; they want to work in a company that lives values such as sustainability. That’s why you should not engage in greenwashing. Instead, deliver a holistic sustainability concept that covers all the departments of your company – Generation Z is all about taking a clear position, not just in terms of environmental issues.

See Also: Engaging employees: Internal branding pays dividends

Present yourself as an innovative employer. 

If you want to stand out and make a positive impression on the digitally savvy youth, you should incorporate innovative methods and technologies. That doesn’t mean you have to set up the latest Mac in every office.

Achieving this involves some simple measures in your external communication, and it can start with the application process. Post job ads on social networks and community platforms or use review sites like Glassdoor to strengthen your employer brand. Keep in mind that the members of Generation Z are digital natives and are always connected to the internet.

“Flexible working model” is the magic word in employer branding.

The work-life balance is essential for employees to perform effectively. It would help if you communicated to young prospects that they can dictate their own working hours. In other words, working from nine to five is a thing of the past – provide your next-generation staff with the possibility to organise their working hours with more flexibility.

You can also shine with the topic of remote work. Offer your future employees the opportunity to flexibly choose between different locations and let them work at home, in coworking spaces or anywhere else in the world.

What’s the result of this? Your position as a modern employer is strengthened, and your new employees work more productively since they have more freedom and flexibility regarding their hobbies and private life.

The competition never sleeps.

The competition for young talent is fierce, and members of Generation Z have particular expectations of future employers – so the “war for talents” is in full swing.

So, what can B2B companies do to prevail in this “battle”? The answer: reflecting the values that are important to the younger generation. These values should be developed “from inside out” in an authentic fashion to serve a customer base. “Empty promises” should also be avoided by all means.

It sounds harsh, but it’s true.

Since tomorrow’s employees are utterly disappointed with most companies, this could entail severe consequences for businesses: Havas’ survey shows that 75 per cent of brands (B2C and B2B) could disappear overnight without much care from consumers. The main reason for this negative development is that companies adopt an attitude that they later fail to represent transparently and adequately.

Conclusion: Nothing comes from nothing.

Digital communication is ideal for connecting with young people. However, entering into a long-term dialogue with the younger generations to convey your values as an employer can only be effective if you think ahead – especially in B2B.

The following motto applies more than ever for companies: Follow a clear-cut course and represent a convincing attitude!


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About the author

wob has been a BBN partner for the German-speaking market since 1988. They have defined and managed national and international B2B brands for more than 45 years. Every concept merges technology and emotion to effectively support sales teams and create sustainable brand value.

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