According to the World Economic Forum, by 2025, Gen Z will account for one-third of the workforce.
As a group, they are the most technologically savvy ever to hit the workforce. Many have definite opinions on what they expect from their companies and managers and are not afraid to express those opinions.
They have specific expectations of what their work life will look like, and unlike other generations, they are not afraid to hop to a new job or quit even if they don’t have another job lined up. In fact, according to ResumeLab, 83% of Gen Z employees consider themselves job hoppers, and 75% would leave a job even if they didn’t have another one waiting.
Undoubtedly, the newest generation to hit the workforce has a lot to offer your organization, so what are the secrets to retaining your Gen Z workforce?
How to Retain Gen Z Employees
Secret Number 1
Know your current online brand, make sure it aligns with who your company and business unit are, and then live that brand. Be transparent about who you are because Gen Z will know if you’re not.
Every company has an online brand. Unfortunately, that brand didn’t always develop on purpose. Do you know your company’s reputation online? Because Gen Z does.
Think of them as the Google generation. Gen Z’s are looking for companies aligning with their values and passion. Many are passionate about social or environmental causes and are looking for companies that share their focus. If you talk about your company’s dedication to a cause, and they find that your online brand doesn’t align or says the opposite, they ghost you during the interview process. And if they take the job and find that values don’t align, they will quit.
Secret Number 2
Discuss ways for your employees to find meaning in their current job and a pathway to their dream job within your company.
According to Forbes.com, 72% of Gen Z professionals say having satisfying job duties is more important than salary, and 70% say having meaningful work is more important than salary. What does meaningful work look like for your Gen Z employees?
If you don’t know, you need to ask as quickly as possible. What do they define as meaningful and important, and how can this be integrated into their current job? No job is perfect, but brainstorming with your direct reports on ways for them to find meaning in their work could make the difference between them staying with your company and moving on.
Secret Number 3
Plan and highlight what your company offers beyond basic salary. Demonstrate that you are leaders in supporting your employees’ physical, mental, and emotional needs in all aspects of their lives.
Gen Z is the first generation to have experienced multiple phases of their life online. Most did a portion of their schooling online; for some, they graduated from high school and began, and sometimes finished, college and began their work life online. Many have learned how to get work done at a coffee shop, the library, or the beach.
So, “work hours” and “life hours” are intertwined for them. They expect, even demand, flexibility in their work life. And this demand will grow stronger as they establish and grow their families. So, think through your work/life integration strategies now. Complete flexibility may not be an option, but some is a must.
Secret Number 4
Be deliberate about your team’s culture, and then be upfront with your new hire. This is our team’s mission, what we value, and how we interact. Then, see if your candidate is a good fit for your team and if your team is a good fit for your candidate. Take the Up Your Culture free Culture Quiz to take your Team’s culture temperature.
This group tends to look for workmates to satisfy some of the relationships they missed out on while schooling and working from home, which brings your team’s culture into sharp focus. Do you have a team that will invite this group in, help them, mentor them, and provide an atmosphere that they are comfortable in?
If you don’t, you may find your Gen Z workers moving on in search of a more welcoming team. Think about your pre-boarding and onboarding routine. Do you welcome and embrace new hires, assign a work buddy, customize onboarding to fit their learning style, or hand them a computer and ignore them? And once they are trained, do they have mentors willing to help and problem-solve with them? Successful teams have an intentional culture. What about your team?
What Gen Z is asking for and prioritizing is not new.
Employees have been seeking flexibility, mobility, and great culture for decades. Gen Z is simply more aggressive in pursuing these goals. So, to remain competitive, aggressively pursue these goals as well.