Millennials have outnumbered the Baby Boomer generation, and GenZ is entering the labor force. It is time to not only read about GenZ’s habits, but to get to know them personally via internships.
According to the Washington Post, “[GenZ is] known to value compromise […], a byproduct of their diversity and comfort with working with peers from different backgrounds. They are also in line to be an ‘adaptive’ generation. These cohorts tend to come right after disruptive generations that change society in significant ways, such as millennials. When adaptive groups come of age, they take the problems that were brought to light by their predecessors and try to work them out.”
What does this mean for businesses?
Attractive internships for the GenZ generation will have to provide a high level of autonomy. They want to learn about the big picture, but their attention span is historically short. Engage with them on a frequent basis and focus on where they feel most comfortable: the digital realm.
Providing meaningful work and engaged mentoring are necessary if you plan to hire interns. GenZ is a generation of doers. The more they get involved with the key operations of your business, and how they fit into their ideological world view, the more likely they are to stay.
There is even a new kind of mentoring you may want to consider: reverse mentoring. GenZ are digital natives who want to change the world. They have a unique way of looking at the world which is an asset for management and beyond. Confront your intern with a challenge the business is currently facing, and ask her to come up with a plan by doing research, interviewing employees, etc. Let them share new trends and innovative solutions. Let them mentor management whenever appropriate.
We at Media Link have been enjoying insights from our interns for many years. We take time getting to know our interns from the start, so we can create an individualized bundle of responsibilities and tasks to improve the skills necessary for their future careers. Some of our interns like to focus on creative tasks such as copy writing and social media; others prefer the data driven nature of market research and tracking campaign success – our goal is to create a good fit. Interns meet with our internship coordinator on a regular basis to talk about their progress and to adjust tasks where needed.
Around 10 students run though our internship program each year. We are so proud to see their growth and see where their path after graduation takes them. Over the last few years, we have extended our mentoring into a part-time position for those interns who have exhibited a special passion for our field. This ensures they can continue to grow both personally and professionally to help them better prepare to be our next generation of marketing professionals.