Is your organization attracting and retaining top talent?
While there are many approaches to recruitment and retention, company culture is playing a larger role than ever before. Generation Z is the latest group to join the workforce, and they are intent on working for organizations with strong values and excellent cultures. So, how do you win over Gen Z?
Who is Gen Z?
First, let’s define Gen Z. Anyone that was born between the years 1997-2012 is considered to be part of Gen Z. The first step in connecting with this generation is to understand how their environment has shaped their values, goals, and ambitions.
Author David Stillman describes Gen Z as “phigital…the first generation born into a world where every physical aspect (people and places) has a digital equivalent.” In addition, this group is the most ethnically diverse in U.S. history. Growing up in the aftermath of 9/11 and witnessing the impact of a recession early in life has also contributed to how they see the world and their place in it.
With this understanding in mind, let’s discuss three things that can be done to win this generation over and retain them as valuable members of your team.
How To Win Over Gen Z
1. Share Your Reason For Being
With nearly unlimited access to information, Gen Z is making informed decisions as consumers and as job applicants. 93% said a company’s impact on society affects their decision to work there.
Does your organization have a mission statement — a reason for being? As an ethnically diverse group, Gen Z will be keen to see what impact your organization is having on your current customers, the local community, and possibly the world. Proudly include your purpose statement and your organization’s positive influence on the community on your website. Allow job seekers to get a glimpse of what it would really be like to work there, through pictures, videos, and social media posts.
Closely related to your reason for being are your company’s core values, or brief well-defined words that guide how everyone is treated and how the job gets done. These are like the rules of the game that everyone is expected to follow. Behaviors and actions that exemplify your core values should be recognized and celebrated; those that don’t shouldn’t be excused or tolerated. It’s wise to formulate interview questions around your core values and mission statement to ensure each candidate is a good culture fit for your company.
2. See The Individual
Once you’ve made the hire, how can you retain a Gen Z employee?
A good place to start is learning as much as you can about them as an individual. Their age is not necessarily an indicator of how they want to communicate, what they value most in people, or what they dislike in the workplace. The best way to uncover these things is simply to ask. One of my favorite tools for this is the User Guide.
Essentially, it’s a user manual that each employee writes about themselves, a guide to working with them and getting the best out of them. It also creates a platform for an employee to feel heard and respected. As the youngest members of your organization, your Gen Z employees will need to feel like they belong and are being treated fairly, especially by their managers. Taking the time to learn about them as an individual and adjust your interactions if needed, fosters strong relationships. Strong relationships lead to retention.
3. Help Them Grow
A recent Gallup study showed that 54% of Gen Z professionals are not engaged at work, which can ultimately lead to resignation. Re-engaging this audience will require an investment in their growth.
In a previous position, I remember my manager criticizing my work because I wasn’t advancing fast enough to a leadership role. I didn’t want a leadership role. He would have known that if he had asked me. Investing in growth is about asking the individual how they want to grow within the organization, not telling them how you want them to grow.
A growth guide accomplishes this by putting the employee in the driver’s seat. It will uncover which parts of their role energize them and which aspects sap their energy. It also gives them an opportunity to share where they want to be in the next 1-3 years. The best managers leverage this information to engage and motivate each member of the team. Strong engagement is key for employee retention.
Although currently smaller in number, Gen Z will soon make up a third of the workforce.
Companies that choose to elevate their culture will have a distinct advantage over those that do not. Leading with a purpose statement and meaningful core values will help attract Gen Z applicants. Learning about them as individuals, including their growth goals, will encourage them to stay with your company. Focusing on your company culture is truly the key to winning over Gen Z.
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