The Gen Z Hiring Process Needs to Change

The traditional approach companies have taken in regard to their hiring process just isn’t going to cut it when it comes to hiring Generation Z.

One thing that has been identified regarding hiring Generation Z is a skills gap. Many members of this generation struggle with things such as:

  • rigorous self-evaluation;
  • taking personal responsibility;
  • maintaining a positive attitude;
  • taking good care of themselves outside of work; and
  • self-presentations, such as timeliness, organization, production, quality, follow-through and initiative.

This is a lengthy list and might seem somewhat overwhelming to hiring managers. The good news is I have some tips to redesign entry-level work for Gen Z and the hiring process itself.

New thinking is needed

When you first think about acquisition, what probably comes to mind is traditional thinking around the process—campus recruiting, technical skills, specific experience, job postings and head hunters. However, you might need to look at things differently. New thinking involves looking at a broad spectrum and engaging in new ways.

With that in mind, here are five keys to recruiting Generation Z.

Key No. 1: Become highly engaged in the hiring process.

Key No. 2: Highlight examples of personal and corporate integrity.

Key No. 3: Demonstrate genuine ties to the community and social responsibility.

Key No. 4: Show them there are opportunities for advancement

Key No. 5: Think about how you’ll retain this generation while you’re recruiting them.

All the above directly align with what Generation Z is looking for when accepting a job. If you can share your insight on these items during the recruiting process, you will be that much further ahead.

After hiring

Once your job offer is accepted, you must think about how you will engage and retain these new hires. This will likely result in needing to rethink your entry-level positions.

Some companies might offer assignments of job rotations. The traditional thinking is linear job progression (lateral growth). A new progressive way to think of it is through mobility, being data-driven and with partners. Companies might consider special projects and experiences.

Next up is thinking through ongoing formal development. Historically, this is done through e-learning, classrooms and technical skills. New thinking suggests experiential learning, soft skills development and apprenticeships. This will require companies to redesign their onboarding process and provide access to different resources.

In terms of informal development, many companies have inconsistent mentoring and on-the-job learning. Companies will want to think through how to transfer knowledge and provide exposure.

Creating a company culture has always been key, but unfortunately most companies place the existence of a strong culture in the “nice to have” category. Generation Z is going to expect things such as paid time off (PTO), family leave, wellness policies, etc. It will be important for companies to determine how they can offer these benefits and raise the culture.

This might seem like a lot to take in, but companies can take small steps to ensure they are recruiting and retaining the best and brightest members of Generation Z.

Ashley Basile Oeken is president of Engage! Cleveland, a nonprofit whose mission is to attract, engage and retain young, diverse talent to the Greater Cleveland area. Learn more about her organization’s work by clicking here.

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  • Next up: The Grand Plan for Healthcare in 2016
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  • The Grand Plan for Healthcare in 2016

    When it comes to small business health insurance, one thing is certain: change is guaranteed. In 2016, many small business owners will need to reconsider their current health insurance and make a decision.

    When it comes to small business health insurance, one thing is certain: change is guaranteed. In 2016, many small business owners will need to reconsider their current health insurance and make a decision.

    To determine if you are one of the groups that will need to re-evaluate your plan, let’s start by reviewing the current benefits landscape. As a COSE small business owner, there’s more than a 90 percent chance you’re currently in a grandfathered or transitional/grandmothered health benefits plan. Or maybe you’ve already made the leap to an Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan. Either way, here’s a quick recap of all three plan options:

    Grandfathered Plans

    Grandfathered plans are defined as those plans created on or before March 23, 2010, that are exempt from certain ACA requirements and might, as a result, be more affordable. For instance, grandfathered plans do not have to cover essential health benefits, annual maximum out-of-pocket (MOOP) limits and preventive benefits that require no cost to employees. There are other benefits to being a grandfathered plan. Grandfathered groups are not subject to community rating, which sometimes results in premium increases that can be drastically higher than grandfathered health plan offerings. Most grandfathered plans are no longer available in the marketplace, so if you like your plan, you may want to keep it. There is no requirement to change.

    Transitional/Grandmothered Plans

    The intent of the ACA was to require all non-grandfathered groups to switch to an ACA plan. In 2014, the president decided to allow non-grandfathered groups to keep their plans until 2015, and then again until 2016. These groups are considered transitional/grandmothered.

    In general, policies in effect on October 1, 2013, and renewed before January 1, 2015, are transitional plans. Groups with grandmothered/transitional plans will need to move to an ACA plan, if their policy renews between October 2, 2016, and December 31, 2016, unless the government grants an extension.

    If you are currently enrolled with Medical Mutual, your grandfathered and/or grandmothered/transitional status can be found in your renewal packet on the benefit summary page. If you are a group with both a grandfathered and transitional/grandmothered section (dual option), you are considered a transitional/grandmothered plan. When transitional relief has ended, you will be required to move into an ACA plan.

    ACA Plans

    ACA plans are all plans that are not grandfathered or transitional/grandmothered. These plans require employers to offer 10 essential health benefits to meet all ACA requirements. Unlike the other plan types, groups with ACA plans can change their benefits every year.

    What should I do now?

    Grandfathered plans: Consider your two options. You can stay grandfathered or make the switch to ACA. If your group’s overall health has worsened, there’s a chance ACA rates are lower and you may see an ACA plan as the better option. However, there are still reasons to consider maintaining your grandfathered status. With grandfathered status, you can continue with an underwritten rate when your group’s health risk improves. You can maintain benefits without the additional cost of ACA requirements, such as essential health benefits. 

    If you are wondering whether you should switch to an ACA plan, we urge you to discuss this with your broker, or contact the COSE Benefits Group at (440) 878-5930 or

    If you want to keep your plan, ACA requirements will not impact your group as long as you do not make significant plan changes. Guidelines for maintaining grandfathered status are available in the sidebar with this article. 

    Transitional/grandmothered plans: As of now, you will need to switch to an ACA plan in 2016. You may be wondering if it’s better to make the switch to ACA before it is mandatory. Keep in mind that for as long as you’re a transitional group, you’re not subject to ACA mandatory benefits, community rating or rate benefit design limitations. If your plan is working for you, it may be best to stay transitional/grandmothered as long as possible. There is also a chance that the government will extend this transitional relief again. Also, there may be additional future plan options allowing you to delay your switch to ACA in 2016. We will keep you informed of all government changes and any new product options.

    ACA plans: The only requirement for those with ACA plans in 2016 is they recertify their status as a small group. All small groups have to certify their status as a small group to ensure they are placed in the correct market segment. If you have not done so, contact your broker or Medical Mutual Service Representative to get the information needed for certifying your group.

    If you have any questions on what the future may hold for your group, or if you’re not sure whether or not to switch to an ACA plan, we urge you to talk with your broker or Medical Mutual Sales Representative. 

    How to Maintain Grandfathered Status

    When it comes to staying grandfathered, the list of things you can’t change seems endless. The easiest way to approach the topic is to consider the things you can change and still maintain grandfathered status. This includes:

    • The addition of family members or the addition of new employees.
    • Stopping coverage of one or more individuals who were enrolled on March 23, 2010, (as long as the plan or coverage has continuously covered at least one person since March 23, 2010). 
    • Adjusting plan premiums as long as the adjustments do not affect relative contribution levels. For example, if an employer contributes 50 percent of an employee’s premium, an increase in the employee’s premium contribution is permitted. The employer’s contribution will just need to be increased accordingly.
    • Moving from Medical Mutual to a new group policy or plan with another health plan issuer (either the same or a new company) as long as no changes are made to the plan’s benefit structure that violate other rules for maintaining grandfathered status (effective November 15, 2010).
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  • Next up: The Importance of Teamwork
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  • The Importance of Teamwork

    We spoke to Tameka L. Taylor, Ph.D, CDE, president of Compass Consulting Services, LLC, who shared her expertise on team culture.

    We spoke to Tameka L. Taylor, Ph.D, CDE, president of Compass Consulting Services, LLC, who shared her expertise on team culture:

    Is team building just a waste of time for smaller businesses?

    Absolutely not. In some regards team building is even more important for smaller companies. In larger organizations, it’s easier for employees to avoid interaction and work in silos, but so much of the work in a small business depends on each other, where employees often do a lot of the same jobs and work in close proximity. If people are not effectively working together, treating each other with respect and valuing one another, productivity will suffer.

    How can a poor team culture affect my business?

    If your employees are not happy, you can be sure they are not giving you all that they can give, and there is a Domino effect when it comes to dealing with your customers, clients, vendors and the community-at-large. Unhappy employees do not perform at an optimal level. You’ll see employee and customer retention rates drop which will ultimately affect your bottom line.

    How can I ensure a positive team culture?

    The reality is that the onus for the culture of the workplace in on the owner. Although you cannot control adult behavior, you make the decision as to what behaviors you will and will not tolerate in your business. It’s also important to be a role model of what you expect from others and foster a respectful and trusting environment.

    What are the biggest detriments to a team culture?

    A few of the most damaging behaviors include favoritism or a seeming lack of fairness on the part of an owner or supervisor, dishonesty, and a lack of clear, consistent expectations. Any lack of appreciation or respect in the workplace is also going to have a critical effect on your business.

    Want more expert advice? Check out COSE Expert Network, an online forum connecting business owners with creative solutions to the tough questions they face every day.

    This article originally appeared in the May 11, 2015, edition of Small Business Matters.

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  • Next up: The Legal Ramifications of an Internship Program
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  • The Legal Ramifications of an Internship Program

    Two key legal questions businesses need to be aware of before launching an internship program.

    In the lead up to the Third Annual Cleveland Internship Summit on Feb. 27, Mind Your Business will be running a series of articles previewing some of the sessions that attendees will have the opportunity to sit in on. Today’s preview focuses on the legal aspects of internships. Click here to view the other preview articles for this year’s Internship Summit.

    The value that internships provide to a business—increased generational diversity within their own workplace as well as the opportunity to provide students with valuable work experience, just to name a couple—are obvious. But, too often, employers are not aware of the potential legal ramifications of employing interns.

    That is a subject James McWeeney II, an attorney at Walter Haverfield LLP, will address in his presentation titled “Legal Aspects of Internships” during the Third Annual Cleveland Internship Summit. During a recent interview, McWeeney outlined several possible legal impacts employers should be aware of and consider regarding the interns and internship programs.

    Two potential questions to consider:

    Question No. 1: What about workers’ comp?

    Depending on the nature of the work an intern performs, the intern could be deemed an employee of the business. This designation could mean the business would be required to pay workers’ compensation under prevailing wage and labor laws.

    Question No. 2: What about confidentiality?

    Internships also implicate questions of confidentiality. That is, if a business shares trade secrets or other information as part of an internship program, what obligation does the intern have to keep that information confidential and what protective measures can a business take to ensure the confidentiality of its information?

    “My goal,” Mr. McWeeney said, “is to educate businesses about internship programs. Employers interested in launching or building upon such programsneed to be aware of these legal ramifications.”

    Internship benefits

    Legal ramifications aside, McWeeney said he sees value in internship programs.

    “It really is that rite of passage,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to get out into the working world and begin making career-lasting connections.”

    “It’s just as good for the business as it is for young people,” he added. “The are the next generation of up-and-coming employees.”

    Learn more about other best practices you need to know about internships by registering today for the 2018 Cleveland Internship Summit. And for a deeper dive into how to create and manage your company's internship program, check out the Greater Cleveland Partnership's Internship Central page.

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  • Next up: The Limits on Employers’ Monitoring of Employees Online
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  • The Limits on Employers’ Monitoring of Employees Online

    Are you monitoring your employees’ social media correspondence? Before your surveillance continues, read about a recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board.

    Are you monitoring your employees’ social media correspondence? A recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reminds employers that surveillance of employees’ discussions within private social media groups violates applicable labor laws where the subject of those discussions concerns unionization.

    Employees’ rights
    If you think your business is too small for your employees to unionize—think again, and don’t skip over this article. By way of background, employee unions are most commonly understood as a way for employees to bargain with their employers for the purpose of protecting workers’ rights. The National Labor Relations Act of 1935  [the “Act”] guarantees employees’ rights to form unions and take collective action. The Act applies to all private employers engaged in interstate commerce—meaning that it covers most small businesses in the United States. Under the Act, two or more employees who “share a community of interest” can form a union. 

    Unionization is a protected activity under the Act, which means that employers cannot fire or discipline employees for attempting to unionize or exercise their other rights. Employers that do so run the risk of getting sued for employment discrimination and/or wrongful termination.

    But can an employer monitor employees’ private correspondence regarding unionization on a social media platform? In a recent case against an employer called National Captioning Institute, Inc.,  the NLRB reminded employers that they generally cannot engage in this type of surveillance. Although this question is not necessarily a novel one,  a review of the facts underlying the National Captioning Institute case may help employers understand what not to do when it comes to monitoring employee communications.

    The key takeaway: Don’t do anything out of the ordinary to monitor employee correspondence.

    The case that drew the line  
    National Captioning Institute (“NCI”) is a non-profit corporation that provides closed-captioning, subtitling, and other media services. In early 2016, the National Association of Broadcast Employees & Technicians—Communications Workers of America, AFL–CIO ( “the Union”), launched a campaign to unionize the employees at two of NCI’s offices.

    Discovering the Union’s campaign
    NCI discovered the campaign when it initially reviewed employee communications exchanged via its in-house chat platform. NCI’s president and chief operating officer, Jill Toschi, had a suspicion that two of NCI’s employees were planning on leaving the company to form a new enterprise intended to compete with NCI. Toschi’s review of in-house chat correspondence found no information regarding any plot to unfairly compete with the company—although it did uncover the Union’s campaign to organize NCI’s employees. Among other things, the employees’ in-house chat correspondence voiced support for the Union.

    Later, once NCI was aware of the Union’s activities, an NCI employee, Crystal Anderson, reported to an NCI manager that another NCI employee had posted pro-Union articles on Facebook. Anderson later reported, at the request of the same NCI manager, that the Union was in contact with employees, and that a group of pro-Union employees had since formed a private, invitation-only Facebook group called “the VW Bus.” The NCI manager later asked Anderson to provide additional details regarding this Facebook group, and she promptly responded with the names of all the group’s administrators and members. The NCI manager then reported this information directly to Toschi. Thereafter, the NCI manager again contacted Anderson and asked her: (i) if she was still a member of the VW Bus group; (ii) if the group had met with the Union; and (iii) whether any of NCI’s supervisors were members of the group.

    Anderson responded with a detailed message explaining the group’s activities, including that employees were preparing a response to a company-wide email previously circulated by Toschi critical of unionization. Ten NCI employees, including Mike Lukas, ultimately signed the employees’ response to Toschi’s email. The day after the employees sent their response, an NCI manager emailed Toschi regarding the “background on those who signed union letter.” 

    Unrelated actions lead to unlawful discipline
    Notably, before the employees sent their response, Toschi announced over a conference call that NCI intended to close its Dallas office, but that its Dallas-area employees could submit applications for continued employment with NCI on a remote basis. Lukas attended the conference call remotely (on his day off) and put the conference call on speakerphone in the presence of his friend, a former NCI employee. After Toschi learned that the closure of the Dallas office had been disclosed to third parties, she circulated an email marked “Company Confidential” that instructed employees to not disclose the Dallas office closure to anyone outside of NCI.  

    Lukas was later disciplined for allowing a third party to listen to the conference call (which was only identified as confidential after the fact). But, importantly, he was not disciplined until after the employees sent their response to Toschi’s initial email regarding unionization. Later, Lukas applied for a full-time remote position with NCI in light of the closure of the Dallas office, but his application was denied. Ultimately, the NLRB found that NCI’s disciplinary action against Lukas, as well as its decision to not rehire him, were unlawful and that the timing of Lukas’s discipline supported a finding of antiunion animus. 

    The monitoring continues
    Meanwhile, with Anderson’s assistance, NCI continued monitoring employees’ private communications on the VW Bus Facebook group. The Panel found that NCI engaged in unlawful surveillance of these communications in violation of Section 8(a)(1) of the Act when it “repeatedly solicited and received” reports from Anderson about the group’s membership and the messages posted there. The Panel reiterated that “an employer commits unlawful surveillance if it acts in a way that is out of the ordinary in order to observe union activity.”  NCI argued that its surveillance of the VW Bus Facebook group was not unlawful because, according to NCI, it took no adverse employment actions based on the information that it obtained, and because the employees were not aware of the surveillance. The Panel rejected both arguments. First, the Panel noted that “out-of-the ordinary surveillance of union activity is itself an unfair labor practice; an adverse employment action is not required to make out a violation of the Act.” Rejecting NCI’s second argument, the Panel observed that at least one employee, Anderson, was aware of the surveillance.

    The lesson for employers
    This case and others like it serve as a reminder to employers that they should not go out of their way or otherwise do anything that could be considered “out of the ordinary” to monitor employee communications discussing unionization, which is a protected activity under the Act.

    If you have questions about whether and the extent to which your practices involving the surveillance of employee communications are lawful, then you should contact an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. Failing to adequately observe the rights of employees to engage in protected activities could result in disputes with employees and/or regulators. You should contact an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction for additional information about this area of the law.

    Max Julian is an attorney at the Gertsburg Law Firm. Julian’s practice is focused on commercial litigation. He can be reached at or by phone at (440) 571-7541. This article is for informational purposes only. It is merely intended to provide a very general overview of a certain area of the law, as well as a summary of a recent NLRB decision regarding this area of the law. Nothing in this article is intended to create an attorney-client relationship or provide legal advice. You should not rely on anything in this article without first consulting with an attorney. If you have specific questions about your particular situation, you should contact an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.

    Are your policies and documents protecting your business or getting you sued? Check 10 areas of your business for legal risks and get instant feedback from experienced attorneys right now by taking a short online quiz at Or schedule a confidential, no-cost CM6 Vulnerability Check with Gertsburg Law Firm. CEO Alex Gertsburg will walk you through the minefields in your documents and key processes and tell you how to fix them yourself. Call 440-571-7774 or e-mail to schedule your CM6 Vulnerability Check today. Explore the full CoverMySix legal audit suite at

      i Pub. L. No. 74-198, 49 Stat. 449 (codified as amended at 29 U.S.C. §§ 151–169)
      iii National Captioning Institute, Inc., Case No. 16-CA-18252, 368 NLRB No. 105, slip op. (Oct. 29, 2019), available here
      iv see AdvancePierre Foods, Inc., 366 NLRB No. 133, slip op. at 1 fn. 4, 24–25 (2018)
      v Nat’l Captioning Inst., at 2.
      vi Nat’l Captioning Inst., at 5 (emphasis added).

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  • Next up: The Northeast Ohio Talent Gap: How International Students Can Help Fill in the Talent Pipeline
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  • The Northeast Ohio Talent Gap: How International Students Can Help Fill in the Talent Pipeline

    Ensuring there’s an adequate flow of workers available in the Northeast Ohio talent pipeline is an ongoing problem in the region and one that will be addressed during the Third Annual Cleveland Internship Summit.

    In the lead up to the Third Annual Cleveland Internship Summit on Feb. 27, Mind Your Business will be running a series of articles previewing some of the sessions that attendees will have the opportunity to sit in on. Today’s preview focuses on the legal aspects of internships. Click here to view the other preview articles for this year’s Internship Summit.

    As far as Joe Cimperman is concerned, the greatest threat to the future prosperity of Northeast Ohio is easy to pinpoint.

    It’s an inability to fill in the talent gap that exists between companies and potential employers.

    Cimperman, president of Global Cleveland, sees companies all around Northeast Ohio that are having a difficult time filling positions, so those jobs stay vacant for long periods of time. One easy solution to filling in this talent pipeline is for companies to utilize the approximately 7,000 international students who are currently in Northeast Ohio.

    This is a topic that Cimperman will delve into more deeply during his session “International Student Interns: Steps and Requirements to Hiring and Why International Talent Is Beneficial to Employers and the Community” during the Third Annual Cleveland Internship Summit.

    This talk will center around not only some of the benefits looking at international students can bring (for instance, they have a tendency to stay longer and it’s a good way to audition potential full-time staffers, thus reducing the aforementioned talent gap) but also creative ways to welcome these students into area internship programs.

    Get the lowdown on other creative strategies you need to create a top-notch internship program by registering today for the Third Annual Cleveland Internship Summit.

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