My children don’t ask me as many questions as I did my parents. Instead, there’s YouTube. In the past month or so the online video hub taught them “how to convert miles to kilometers,” “how to solve a tangent ratio” and “how to build an origami dinosaur” – things I never could. For this generation, employers seeking to attract and retain talent need to truly understand Gen Zs and their love of video.
Gen Zs – anyone born after 1996 – is the first generation born after the internet became mainstream. They are digital natives that process vast amounts of information on multiple screens and platforms. On the flipside, their attentive span is just eight seconds long. By that logic, if you’re still reading this, you’re probably not a Gen Z. Yet there’s hope for cross-generational communication, and video is key.
Employers looking to attract Gen Zs, the eldest of whom are now entering the job market, can use these simple, efficient video ideas for onboarding, engagement and retention:
1) Recruiting talent
Audiovisuals showcase your company culture, the varied locations it works in and the value it provides. You can get an idea in this Deloitte video. When you share these across social media like Linkedin, Facebook, Youtube, they can have a huge reach – especially among Gen Zs who are so tuned in to these networks. You might have noticed job candidates submitting video CVs to bolster PDF or Word documents. If you haven’t yet, you soon will. When you do, you’ll immediately understand how such a clip can make a big difference. Seeing and hearing a candidate is especially important in the last stretch of hiring.
2) Training and onboarding
Create tailored learning paths based on a new hire’s role and seniority level. Video is more engaging and effective than reading piles of documents. Make life easier for the new hire by breaking that information down in a video. Quizzing is a cool tool to embed in a video. Questions don’t have to test knowledge on an employee’s first day per se. Quizzing is a way to draw viewers into the video make them lean forward and engage with the content.
Another fun approach is using Virtual Reality to tour a faraway location or introduce an offsite team. With today’s cheap 360 cameras, you could create an impressive immersive experience on a shoestring budget. Don’t mark this off as science fiction: It’s perfectly doable with quantifiable results.
Institutional knowledge videos are arguably easier to manage, and definitely easier to consume, than long text documents. Try comparing a minutes-of-meeting document with a video, for instance. The former is approximate, the latter is precise. Not only is it more effective at recording information, you can often search through a video much faster than through a written document.
3) Authentic leadership
They say Ronald Reagan had a huge advantage over his political rivals because he could draw on his acting career during televised debates and speeches. Back then, that sort of on-camera experience was rare. Now almost every exec has vast video experience – or should. All C-levels must use video to convey messages internally and externally. It’s an especially important way for senior leadership to connect with Gen Zs. Ignoring video isn’t really an option anymore and Gen Zs are likely to be unforgiving of a lackluster on camera performance.
4) Internal messaging and communication
There’s little difference between shooting, editing and posting a video on InstaStories and the company corporate tube. Gen Zs are directors, editors and videographers. When they start entering the workforce, they will use the same communicative skills. Give them the opportunity to express themselves and you are likely to see the benefits.
Gen Zs are starting to show up at the workplace just as we were getting used to Millennials. It can be challenging learning new tricks, providing new platforms. Yet stasis is not an option. Video is a form of literacy whose importance will only grow when my teenage kids and their peers start entering the workforce in a few years. Employers must seize the opportunity to master this medium and make the most of its many, many benefits.