Career growth opportunities, job security and collaboration are top work-related priorities for Gen Z. By 2025, they are expected to comprise roughly 30 percent of the workforce. Understanding Gen Z’s unique perspectives and career expectations is essential if you want to successfully recruit, manage and retain these professionals in the legal workplace. Are you ready?
In this episode of The Robert Half Legal Report, host Charles Volkert, senior district president of Robert Half Legal, and Jamy Sullivan, executive director of Robert Half Legal, outline Gen Z’s values, attitudes and career aspirations – their preferred work environment, passion for creative freedom and desire for a work culture that supports smart risk-taking – and offer critical strategies to recruit and motivate this next generation of legal professionals.
Robert Half Legal Report
Key Strategies to Attract, Motivate and Retain Gen Z in the Legal Workplace
Intro: Welcome to the Robert Half Legal Report, where we discuss current issues impacting the legal profession, related to hiring, staff management and more, with leading experts in the field.
Robert Half Legal provides lawyers, paralegals and support staff to law firms and corporate legal departments on a project and full-time basis. The Robert Half Legal Report is here on the Legal Talk Network.
Charles Volkert: Hello everyone and welcome. I am Charles Volkert, Senior District President for Robert Half Legal and the host of our program. Joining us today is our guest Jamy Sullivan.
As Executive Director for Robert Half Legal, she provides leadership and direction for the company’s global staffing and consulting services. Jamy earned a Juris Doctor from Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio.
Prior to joining Robert Half, she worked as a law clerk in the areas of labor and employment for a law firm in Ohio and interned with the Ohio State Legislature.
Welcome to the show Jamy.
Jamy Sullivan: Thank You Chad. Excited to be joining today.
Charles Volkert: Fantastic. Well, today we will be addressing key factors relating to the newest cadre of individuals who are starting to enter the job market. Generation Z, those born during the 1990s, are expected to comprise roughly 30% of the overall labor force by 2025.
We will explore Gen Z’s unique perspectives, priorities and career expectations and provide insights from Robert Half’s Get Ready for Generation Z research to help legal managers recruit and retain these individuals. We will also offer guidance on how to successfully integrate Gen Z into multigenerational work teams and get the best out of this generation of professionals.
Jamy, to start, can you outline what Gen Z values and describe their attitudes and expectations about work and their careers?
Jamy Sullivan: I think it’s a great place to start to level set on what Gen Z values. Based on our research Gen Z typically are more entrepreneurial, innovative and they are very passionate, much more than their predecessors. They want both financial and job security and they desire meaningful work. In fact, 30% would take a 10-20% pay cut to work for causes that they deeply care about.
They also rate honesty, integrity and mentoring abilities as a top quality in their boss.
Despite growing up with technology, they like the connection that comes with the in-person communication with their managers versus the email and the text messaging.
They are realists and they understand tough economic realities. 77% of Gen Z members surveyed by our company believe they need to work harder to succeed than their previous generations and that’s to have a satisfying career.
Charles Volkert: Interesting. Obviously some of those stats and insights might have surprised some of our listeners. How do these perspectives differ from those of Millennials?
Jamy Sullivan: I appreciate you asking that. I do get that question quite often. Some of the typical differences between the two, I did mention Gen Z, they are realists or they are pragmatic, where Millennials are optimistic and they are idealists.
We also see that the Gen Z, again, they are very digital natives, where Millennials are digital pioneers.
Again, the Gen Z, they are motivated both by job security as well as salary, where Millennials really focused in on purpose.
The learning styles are also very different. The Gen Z, they are tech based, where Millennials are collaborative and networked.
And then if we focus in on feedback and the differences here, our Gen Z group really wants consistent and scheduled, more frequent feedback, where the Millennials desire it to be on the spot and on demand.
Charles Volkert: Very interesting. And Jamy, how would you characterize Gen Z’s strengths and their weaknesses?
Jamy Sullivan: An interesting question. From a strengths perspective, again, they are tech savvy from a Gen Z and they love to learn and keep learning. They are very well educated and they are also creative in their approach and can think outside the box, as well as they are multi-taskers.
On the opposite side or maybe for an area of improvement, we typically see communication skills as an area to work on and that’s really around stronger writing skills as well as their presentation capabilities and there could be a soft skills gap on how they self-evaluate and really being self-aware on how they present themselves.
Charles Volkert: Interesting. Obviously some insights into what they need to focus on, especially in this day and age of multigenerational workplace solutions and individuals within those office environments.
Jamy, what do Gen Z consider their top priorities when considering a new position and what is their preferred work culture, if there is one?
Jamy Sullivan: From a top work-related priority, they really are looking for career growth opportunities, job security and they want to make a difference. They prefer a midsize company and they also want a very structured work environment, and ultimately they prefer collaborating face-to-face in that work environment on a daily basis.
Charles Volkert: That’s interesting because that sort of goes back to some of your comments earlier on culture as it pertains to sort of that midsize company and the structure, which I bet our listeners are interested in as well as they think about attracting and retaining Gen Zers.
Considering the work and career expectations you just outlined, what are the most effective approaches to attracting and recruiting Gen Z candidates?
Jamy Sullivan: This is a key topic that employers are faced with on how can they continue to attract Gen Z talent. Employers should clearly outline job expectations and opportunities for growth within their organization, and this is not just on day one, but this has to be a long-term communication.
They should emphasize business culture attributes and really focus in on what does Gen Z favor. So as I have mentioned, collaboration is really important, continued learning opportunities. The ability to use advanced technology as well as a healthy work-life balance are all important to attracting talent.
They should offer examples of what their corporate integrity is and what they internally will continue to do to advance those options for the corporate integrity.
Another approach to attract Gen Z would really be how you are presenting your jobs online and posting those and making sure that your site is actually a mobile-friendly site for them to search on careers. This also would require you to be really prompt in your response to these candidates regarding the job opportunities that they are considering and then continue to promote a positive and really consistent online company brand, if you will.
Charles Volkert: Interesting. And when you are thinking about attracting talent, I am sure a lot of what you just mentioned to our listeners would spill over to how to retain Gen Zers, but maybe go through some additional specifics in and around retention.
Jamy Sullivan: Absolutely. Companies need to ensure that they provide that structure that I mentioned, but really ongoing guidance and coaching opportunities, and realistically Gen Z doesn’t want you to dictate how they should be working, but focus more on a mentorship versus that micromanaging. And provide the freedom and the opportunity to be creative in the approach to work.
Other key strategies for retention would be to demonstrate continuous investment in workers’ growth and development and advancement, again, within that organization. They are always going to be looking for what are new tools that the company is providing, resources that are available for those workers to succeed, and you should also offer a very frequent FaceTime with managers.
And lastly, this is really interesting that we continue to see this as an important aspect for Gen Z, but promoting and really sharing what your diversity and inclusion program is.
Charles Volkert: That’s great Jamy. Obviously a lot of similarities across generations as you went through all of those lists, I think it can apply to many different folks within the workplace, but overall excellent information.
We will get back to our discussion of Gen Z in today’s legal workplace shortly, but now it’s time for a quick break.
Advertiser: To find, hire, and retain the best legal professionals, it’s critical to have a sound hiring strategy in place. Robert Half Legal works with law firms and corporate legal departments to create effective staffing plans that can adapt to changing workload levels, realize significant cost savings, and improve the overall management of human resources.
We offer a wide range of resources to assist hiring managers and job candidates, including our Annual Salary Guide, industry-leading workplace research and valuable interactive tools. For more information, call us at 1-800-870-8367 or visit roberthalflegal.com.
Charles Volkert: Welcome back to the Robert Half Legal Report. I am Chad Volkert and with me today is Jamy Sullivan, Executive Director for Robert Half Legal.
We have been discussing the unique values and expectations that Gen Z brings to the legal workplace and how managers can effectively use this information to attract and retain this generation of legal professionals.
Jamy, a major factor in retention is having workers feel productive and engaged within the business environment. Can you offer tips to help Gen Z workers successfully integrate with colleagues and also keep them motivated?
Jamy Sullivan: Absolutely. In the workplace to engage and motivate Gen Z, it’s really important to offer a variety of training, robust professional development opportunities is truly essential, as well as formal and informal training, giving them special assignments, working on a variety of project teams, offering mentoring as well as reverse mentoring and pro bono volunteer work, all very important.
Arming them with resources and tools that will help them succeed, both in relevant technologies and again with those leadership skills, is also very important.
Scheduling time to provide that ongoing guidance and support as well as discussion points of how their career can continue to develop and what their long-term goals are and oh, by the way, doing that face to face is also a really nice tactic.
Another approach is to demonstrate you value their perspectives and their ideas and ask them for their input and then recognize their value through meaningful rewards, compensation, internal advancement opportunities, as well as public recognition. Again, those are all great motivators.
Continuously promoting that work-life balance, the team collaboration, as well as that workplace flexibility and the opportunity to be creative is a great way to keep them engaged.
For Gen Z to become more involved or integrated, if you will, into the workplace, one strategy is to foster a reverse mentorship. This is allowing the younger professional to share unique skills or expertise that they might have with the veteran colleagues and this could be as easy as tech competencies.
Encourage intergenerational bonds through building project teams that range with the variety of workers that you have in your staff, different generations, as well as diverse perspectives.
Also another approach is to host off-site team building events, this can be a very successful approach to Generation Z actually integrating with their colleagues successfully.
Charles Volkert: Jamy, awesome suggestions and I love the fact that it really sounds like what you are suggesting is customizing the management style to each employee’s strengths and personality and interests as well as the Gen Z really doing the same thing to integrate themselves and engage within their workplace environment.
Well, unfortunately we have reached the end of our program for today. I want to thank Jamy for sharing such valuable information. It was great having you on the show.
Jamy Sullivan: Thanks for having me on the program today Chad.
Charles Volkert: Absolutely. Before we close, how can our audience contact you? I am sure many of our listeners want to reach out and get additional expertise and insight from you following the show.
Jamy Sullivan: I welcome that opportunity. You can email me at [email protected].
Charles Volkert: Fantastic Jamy. And our listeners can reach me at [email protected], and you can visit the Robert Half Legal website for more legal management resources, including the Get Ready for Generation Z Report and our latest Salary Guide at roberthalflegal.com.
Thanks again Jamy and to our audience for listening today. Join us next time on the Robert Half Legal Report as we discuss important trends impacting the legal field and legal careers.
Outro: The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by Robert Half Legal, Legal Talk Network, or their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders, or subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.
Thanks for listening to this podcast. Robert Half Legal connects highly skilled candidates with the best positions in the legal profession. If you liked what you heard today, please remember to rate us in Apple Podcasts. Also, follow Robert Half Legal and Legal Talk Network on Twitter or Facebook.
Join us again for the latest information in the next edition of the Robert Half Legal Report, here on the Legal Talk Network.
Robert Half is an equal opportunity employer, including minorities, females, people with disabilities and veterans.