If you’re a human resources professional, you’ve likely spentthe last year combing through waves of data about Generation Z.

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You probably know the facts: Gen Z includes an eye-popping 72.8million people born between 1995 and 2010, and the generation’sfirst college-educated members hit the workforce last spring.

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Those college graduates will find entry-level opportunities intraditional insurance roles such as credit analyst, underwriter andclaims adjuster. And we’ll gladly welcome them aboard.

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But attracting Gen Z is just one part of the challenge. Theharder part is convincing them to stay. To do so, you must beprepared to answer their questions, such as How areyou going to train me? How will you create a high-tech andhigh-touch work environment? How will you help me become a leader?What career path can you offer me? You can find answers bylooking beyond the “generation” label and developing a workplacethat teaches each employee how to work with others from differentcultures, experiences and backgrounds.

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What Gen Z is seeking

When I first began researching Gen Z a few years ago, Iuncovered many comparisons to millennials. Yet I take everything Iread with a healthy skepticism. That’s because many of the peoplewho research millennials or Gen Z are from older generations, andthey see things from their perspective. So, when they look atmillennials or Gen Z, they may focus too much on youth or a lack ofwork experience and miss the bigger picture.

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When I look at generations, I see combinations of habits shapedby the world around a particular group of people. For example, I’ma member of Generation X (people born between 1964 and 1979). Myparents were Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1963). I grew upin the 1980s, a time in which pensions were disappearing and whenpeople started to realize you couldn’t work for one companyforever. It shaped my views on work and life.

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Millennials grew up in a time of prosperity, which filled themwith optimism and allowed them the freedom to seek a higher senseof purpose, a collaborative environment and a desire to pursueself-development. Gen Z has grown up during the Great Recession, which means theysaw their parents’ income fall by as much as 45 percent duringtheir childhood.

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Because of these influences, Gen Z has taken a millennials’sense of optimism and combined it with realism. Gen Z seeks newchallenges, but they’re more likely to seek the security ofmultiple roles with the same organization. Gen Z tends to be moreindependent, with 71 percent believing “If you want it done right, you have to doit yourself.” And although millennials were early adapters tosocial media and shared everything, Gen Z are digital natives whoknow the risks of over-sharing and are more selective in what theyreveal about themselves.

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But here’s the key similarity — and this is true for allgenerations. We want a workplace to conform to our needs.For Gen Z, that means finding a work environment that stressespersonal interaction and digital access. They’ll seek alonger tenure with one company to reap the rewards of theirinvestment, and they’ll want to advance quickly andefficiently through multiple roles. They’ll be willing to start atthe bottom, and they’ll want a clear career path aimed atpersonal and professional growth. They’ll want to workindependently and receive frequent feedback. They’ll wantto work hard and get rewarded for theirperformance.

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What we can offer

If your company doesn’t sound like it matches this description,then it’s time to change. That change can be scary, especially inthe historically risk-adverse world of insurance. As an industry,we tend to attract people who are deep thinkers, are conservativeand move cautiously. We like to analyze. But you can’t analyze yourway into the future. You must design your way into the future. You must engage with people.

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Start by redesigning your business workflows, beginning withrecruitment. If you’re trying to recruit an underwriter, using ajob description or title that hasn’t changed since 1981 will be ashelpful as trying to put an 8-Track into an iPhone X. The way wewrote that description 35 years ago won’t attract anybodytoday.

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What Gen Z — and all generations — want to know beyond the jobdescription is that they’re welcome and have a place where they cancontribute in ways that are recognized as valuable to themselvesand others. That starts during the interviewing process. The twobiggest interviewing mistakes I see are companies that needemployees so badly that they oversell, overpromise andunder-deliver, or companies that automate so much of the selectionprocess that they fail to make a personal connection.

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Undervaluing the importance of the impression you give in theselection process groups you with every other company in themarketplace. Focusing more on that connection experience — even alittle bit — can make a huge difference in both the quality of thecandidates you attract and in how quickly new hires learn to beproductive.

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I prefer to think of interviewing as “clientengagement.”So, if I’m interviewing eight people for oneopen job position, I make it a priority to leave all eightinterviewees with a good impression. That personal touch flips thescript on today’s overly automated hiring processes.

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Once you hire Gen Z, know you’re hiring a potential leader.Research indicates 72 percent of Gen Z high schoolers want to start a business.They are natural problem solvers, and they’ll look to you to learnhow to lead. Help them accelerate their time to productivity byfocusing on these five areas:

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1. Work allocation andprioritization – Generation Z wants to grow, and helpingthem learn to prioritize their tasks and time is absolutelycritical for growth. I like to ask my team members to tell me twothings they love to do, and then tell me one thing they’d rathernot do. This generally helps me assign about 80 percent of the workthat must be done, and more importantly, gives employees a voice sothey feel more ownership. I have found that if about 30 percent ofemployees’ work involves tasks they truly want to do, they will dothe other 70 percent happily. Once the work is allocated, Gen Zwill want to do it all, do it all well, and do it fast. So helpingthem prioritize will reduce the risk of burnout.

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2. Frequent performance feedback– Gen Z will expect this. I stress being direct withrespect — setting clear expectations with employees and givinghonest feedback in frequent, small chunks. And do so in-person.Despite being digital natives, much of Gen Z prefers face-to-facecommunication.

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3. Purposeful education –Gen Z will challenge us to move beyond the traditional educationoptions — such as certifications and continuing education credits —that stress knowledge retention instead of critical thinking.On-the-job education that helps employees learn and grow can bemuch more valuable. We emphasize continuous learning as a process,moving from knowledge to skills to mastery.

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4. Valuable mentorship –When I entered the workforce, all the power was with the BabyBoomers. I had to learn to work with them — how to fit in, how tobe heard, how to be confident in my own ideas. Today, Gen Z willneed to work with multiple generations. That makes mentorship evenmore important. In the same way that generations are shaped by theworld around them, employees are shaped by their environment. It’sup to leaders to provide mentorship and develop an environment thatallows them to be comfortable and confident in tackling tomorrow’sproblems head-on.

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5. Active listening –Remember the first time you went to your boss with a great idea?Did you get shot down? Did you understand why? Often, it’s becauseyour idea had already been tried. But if your boss didn’t tell youthat, you were left to wonder — was it me? This is whyactive listening is so important with Gen Z and all employees.Listen to their ideas with attention and an open mind, and if youbelieve the idea won’t work, give context so employees knowwhy.

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What we need from Gen Z

Although we can reshape our work environment to engage Gen Z,they also must be active participants. My three best pieces ofadvice to Gen Z:

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1. Don’t wait to be told what todo. You’ll never get ahead by waiting. Find ways toproactively help your team, your boss, and your company get betterresults. And remember, sometimes that takes extra work that isn’tfun.

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2. Make a deeperconnection. Of the most meaningful business activities, 90percent are conducted in person and on the phone, not by email ortext. That’s why interpersonal communication remains vital.

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3. Talent gets you the job, butresults get you paid. The workplace is about outcomes, andthe better results you produce, the faster you’ll accelerate yourcareer path.

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There’s an old saying in the corporate world: “It isn’tpersonal; it’s business.” Today, that line is woefully outdated,because everything is personal. We must make our workenvironment comfortable for all generations and to adjust to theirneeds, so everyone feels welcome to contribute.

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Gen Z gives our industry the unique opportunity to reshape ourcurrent roles and build a culture focused on engagement. But don’tdo it just to appeal to Gen Z. Do it because it will help peoplefrom all generations work together and deliver truetransformational change.

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