Making Way for the Gen Z Workforce
Figuring out how to hire and keep the next generation
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As a Millennial, I have spent the past few years being told by think-pieces about how I and everyone else in my generation are killing industries, refusing to buy properties and just rent, and refusing to start families. So, I won’t do that here to Gen Z coming up behind me.
Instead, I think it’s important for businesses to look at their staff leaving or switching jobs, their growing population of employees starting to retire, and start figuring out how to get into the mindset of Gen Z so they will want to apply for these open positions and then stay there once they’re hired. Because it’s all well and good to get people to fill these empty seats in your workforce, but it means nothing if you’re going to be replacing staff after a year (or less).
Giving Them the Experience They Want
Recently, The New York Times released an article detailing the current Gen Z workforce and how many businesses have bolstered their ranks with them.
Some of the tactics certain companies have taken include:
- Removing antiquated notions of “proper” business attire to accommodate unnatural hair colors, piercings, and visible tattoos.
- Experimenting with four-day workweeks to allow for a better work/life balance.
- Removing the need to be located at a physical office either through hybrid or remote working.
- Offering clear paths for growth within a company as well as financial advice/education for younger employees.
- Prioritizing mental health of staff to reduce burnout.
All of this is to not just get Gen Z employees to sign on and work for a company, but to get them to stay on. While older generations were comfortable sticking it out and trying to change corporate culture over time, the younger ones are quick to leave if they feel their ethics don’t match the company’s or that the position is a dead end. Therein lies the question: How do you keep Gen Z employees from jumping ship?
- Make sure that corporate culture and brand perceptions match the actual day-to-day experience at your company. It’s great to want to be the sort of place that does corporate retreats and present itself as a company that gives back to the community, but if you’re not actually doing so then be prepared to receive two-week notices after a few weeks.
- According to a 2018 Deloitte study on Millennials and Gen Z employees, 44% believe on-the-job training will be more valuable than what they learned in school. Having on-site training courses, mentorships, or growth opportunities will help to make your staff feel like you are investing in them (and that they should reciprocate back to your organization).
- This is a purely digital generation—meaning that they are used to mobile technology and being able to get things done from anywhere with an Internet connection. Gen Z is looking for jobs that fit into their daily lives and not the other way around, so decide if positions really need to be 9 to 5 in an office or if you can afford to offer more flexibility for hours or locations.
Keypoint Intelligence Opinion
The oldest members of Gen Z are in their early 20s, while the youngest are almost done with high school. This means they are ripe for employment recruitment, so there is no time like the present to start experimenting with recruitment messaging through various channels—from in-person meetings to social media.
Millennials have experienced a decade of working in an environment where job security is scarce, and the chances of retirement feel slim to none. Gen Z is entering the workforce with the same feeling. Having a dedicated plan for job growth as well as educational opportunities, mentorship programs, and some sense of job security can go a long way to retain younger staff. In a similar vein, having more flexibility regarding remote working and office hours could go a long way to keeping your current staff happy as well as providing the work/life balance that Gen Z employees are looking for.
More importantly, listen to the younger people on your payroll. Everyone wants to feel like they’re a part of something greater, and everyone on your team (regardless of age) will be more likely to invest in a company if they feel like the company is investing in them.
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