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Jun 24, 2015

Summer is here, and that means millions of 16-24 year olds will be looking for summer jobs as they graduate and go on break from high school and college.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the youth labor force grows sharply from April to July each year, and they do mean sharply – the number of young people entering the workforce grew by 3 million, or 14.5 percent, to a total of 23.4 million in July 2014 alone.

Bonus opportunity

Things should be more or less the same this year, as retailers, restaurateurs, hoteliers, caterers, and entertainment venues, to name a few, prepare for an influx of business and increased foot traffic as the weather is nicer, customers have more leisure time, and many current employees take their vacations.

We’ve stressed the importance of engaging seasonal workers before, but the summer season this year has a bonus opportunity – it’s a great time to groom that Gen Z demographic you keep hearing about.

As the oldest Millennials are now in their mid-30s and are firmly establishing themselves in the workforce, it’s time to take a serious look at Generation Z.

No one wants a repeat of the lag in engagement strategy that has plagued Millennials. Seasonal summer work is a great opportunity to engage the rising workforce and build relationships that will pay off in the future – a “Gen Z proving ground” of sorts.

Engaging Generation Z

But how does one engage this mysterious demographic? How different are they really?

Even though Generation Z is the first to grow up with social media as a way of life rather than a distraction or novelty, studies have shown that many of them still prefer in-person interaction and seek emotional intelligence in their employers.

It really depends if you are a glass half full or glass half empty person.

We encourage you be the former when it comes to Gen Z. Shorter attention spans and what some may call a screen addiction may in fact mean this generation can process a lot of information more quickly and is not as distracted by technology and media as their predecessors. After all, they were raised in today’s always on, always sharing world.

Preconceived notions

This summer things will be busy, but it’s a good idea to make the time to toss out the preconceived notions of the nation’s youth, be a company ambassador, and start thinking practically about how their unique traits can help you in the long run.

Engage them in a way that is meaningful, and do your homework so you’re hip to what motivates them – pragmatic steps to engage a very pragmatic generation.

This was originally published on the Michael C. Fina blog.