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How to attract, engage and retain Gen Z talent

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Business leaders and HR teams have been offered helpful tips and advice on how to attract, engage and retain Gen Z talent in the workplace. 

FDM Group, whose mission is to bring people and technology together, has revealed six ways to ensure organisations are prioritising the new generation entering the workforce.

Generation Z refers to those born between 1997 and 2012. This generation is fast changing the expectations of employment, with many requesting the latest technology, flexible working arrangements, higher salaries and more company perks. So, it’s important for businesses and HR teams to create effective strategies to attract, engage and retain the top Gen Z talent.

Unlike previous generations, Gen Z has never known a world without the internet, smartphones, and social media. They are the first true digital natives, growing up in a hyperconnected world where technology is an integral part of their daily lives.

Gen Z’s drive and determination for more makes them a valuable asset for businesses, as they are always looking for new ways of working. Millennials are also highly motivated and bring new perspectives to the table, but Gen Z’s fresh energy can help refocus established teams. 

Shiela Flavell, COO at FDM Group, comments:

“Gen Z brings fresh perspectives, innovative thinking and unique workplace expectations, so attracting and retaining high-quality Gen Z employees is vital to any organisation’s longevity. 

“To tap into Gen Z’s potential and create a thriving work environment, businesses must understand and adapt to their needs. 

“From providing clear development opportunities for their career, to simply rethinking the experience required in job listings, businesses can foster engagement, promote growth, and encourage long-term commitment from this generation.”

Here are six ways to attract, engage and retain Gen Z talent:

  1. Provide clear development opportunities for their career

Gen Z value development opportunities as a priority, with salary being held as a much lower priority. The importance of development over everything else means that Gen Z are willing to stay loyal to organisations for as long as career opportunities are available. As a result, it’s vital for businesses to consistently offer learning and development opportunities to this generational cohort.

Companies must recognise Gen Z talent as an investment. A business that demonstrates that it’s invested in its employees is more likely to have employees that remain invested in the business – especially the Gen Z workforce. Organisations should also recognise that Gen Z talent are willing to defer the instant gains of leaving for another role, so long as they feel that they are developing personally and professionally.

  • Create an inclusive work culture

Creating an inclusive culture is essential to maintaining and growing a diverse workforce, especially when it comes to attracting and retaining top Gen Z talent. Focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion as a benefit during the hiring process can be a useful approach. 

Generation Z also views diversity in a broader context, with increased focus being put on a mix of life experience, identities, opinions and ideas. One core way of ensuring a diverse workplace culture is to recognise inherent biases. Recognising inherent bias will enable hiring managers to maintain a clear perspective when interviewing candidates from a variety of backgrounds.

  • Implement efficient time management

Gen Z are far stricter with their personal time and are aware of the importance of taking time out and ‘switching off’, as a result of growing up surrounded by technology. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, 53% of employees are more likely to prioritise health and wellbeing than they were before – and Gen Z are no exception.

Businesses must pay close attention to time management and how this affects their employees. There are a number of working methodologies, such as the Agile method, which can help Gen Z employees effectively manage their time. It’s important that organisations ensure that employees’ hours are planned in advance to prevent them from regularly working overtime. Hybrid and flexible working arrangements can also appeal to Gen Z talent, as it gives them more control over their work-life balance. Not only will this reduce churn, but it will also ensure higher employee satisfaction.

  • Make wellbeing a priority

Mental health is a high priority for HR leaders and managers right now, and it’s Generation Z that are paying close attention to how businesses deal with mental health issues. Generation Z are amongst the workforce reporting the highest rates of burnout – a worrying sign that so many young employees are already feeling the toll.

Employees that experience high levels of stress are far more likely to take sick days, disengage from their job role and ultimately, quit sooner than those who are less stressed. As such, it’s crucial to have a wellbeing programme in place, especially if you want to attract and retain top Gen Z talent. Demonstrate that your business cares about the wellbeing and mental health of your employees through positive initiatives – it’s perhaps one of the most effective changes you can make.

  • Invest in the latest technology

Generation Z have never known a world without technology, so it’s no wonder that they are more adept with the latest software and applications. Having been raised in the height of technological development, Gen Z are digital natives and are well-versed in communicating and problem-solving effectively. However, it can be difficult for this generational cohort to comply with traditional ways of working.

Since the global pandemic, working is no longer restricted to one location during the hours of 9-5. As a result, Gen Z expects to have the tools they need to get the job done effectively and efficiently. Employers should ensure that Gen Z staff have access to laptops, collaboration software and cloud technology, which enables them to work anywhere at any given time. Businesses will only benefit from Gen Z talent if they have the tools they need to get the job done.

  • Rethink the experience required in job listings

Research has found that 53% of Gen Z have changed companies in the last two years, suggesting that, amongst other factors, employers are failing to meet the demands of the younger workforce. Although Gen Z are more likely to look for another job if they aren’t satisfied with their current role, they also aren’t the most confident when it comes to looking for a new role.

When attracting Gen Z talent, businesses should ensure that job listings are labelled correctly. For those who are starting out in their careers, it can be intimidating ​​when employers require a minimum of three years experience for entry-level roles. Prioritising experience over skills can lead to employers alienating potential high-quality Gen Z candidates since they cannot “tick every box”.

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