Gen Z employees working

Get With the Times: Recruiting & Retaining Gen Z Employees

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If you’re hiring, then your business is being scrutinized. Just as you evaluate Gen Z candidates for employment, Gen Zers are evaluating you as an employer. They’re curious about your mission, morals, and management. How will they fit your goals? What are people’s perceptions of your company? Will you get along? The message you send to potential employees at the start is as crucial.

And your job doesn’t end there: Once you’ve hired Gen Zers, you have to retain them. Unlike previous generations, Generation Z is likely to job hop. With nearly a decade of experience in the recruitment industry, I know what it takes to attract and keep employees. Check out our president’s article in the HR Director:


ARTICLE BY Marti Willett

By 2025, Gen Z will make up 27% of the workforce . Considering the ongoing talent shortage and the fact that millions of Baby Boomers retired during the pandemic, it’s clear that businesses are desperate for the newest generation of talent. However, successfully recruiting Gen Z is turning out to be more difficult than expected.

Gen Z employment trends aren’t necessarily following the same trajectory as previous generations. For example, older Gen Zers have been the slowest to come back to work since the pandemic. Why? Gen Z is coming of age in the era of the gig economy, where a traditional 9-to-5 job is no longer the default career choice. Many Gen Zers value the independence and flexibility these non-traditional jobs bring and are loathe to give it up in favor of more traditional opportunities.

This isn’t to say that Gen Z scoffs at the idea of a stable job. Far from it: Gen Z workers are vocal about their desire for stability. But in an era where the shape of work keeps shifting, Gen Z also doesn’t want to settle for what used to be the status quo. Instead, they want to work for a company that has their best interests at heart and is willing to prove it.

How to Attract Gen Z Employees
With nearly a decade’s worth of experience in the recruitment industry, I know what it takes to attract and retain employees. While Gen Zers might present their own unique hiring obstacles, they are not insurmountable. With that in mind, here are some strategies that will help you attract the talent you need:

1. Prioritize online engagement. There’s no single platform that you should prioritize as you figure out how to attract Gen Z employees. While online job boards are still the top resource for Gen Z candidates, almost half of Gen Z job seekers with previous work experience have applied to positions they saw on social media. Make sure you have an active presence on all major social media platforms and job sites. Recruiting Generation Z should be viewed as a marketing effort; they won’t come to you, so you need to be where they are.

2. Be consistent. Make sure your website and other online platforms are updated with consistent messaging and branding. Almost all Gen Zers now own a smartphone , so it’s easy for them to research your business before you even get to the interview stage. If you’re broadcasting an inconsistent or outdated message on certain channels, then you risk putting off these connected candidates.

3. Focus on communication. It might seem surprising, but the generation of digital natives prefers face-to-face communication. Show that your business values the human element by incorporating face-to-face interactions into the recruitment process. But don’t be afraid to communicate with Gen Zers using a variety of channels, including email.

4. Align your benefits with Gen Z priorities. The majority of Gen Z sees salary and benefits as top concerns when determining where to work. However, Gen Z’s definition of benefits is more expansive than you might be used to. For instance, the newest generation of talent prioritizes mental health benefits. They also value time off and flexible work hours — more than half of Gen Zers  would leave a job that interfered with their personal lives.

5. Make your company mission clear and meaningful. Is your company’s mission backed by passion and action, or is it just empty words? More than 40% of Gen Zers say they prefer to work at a company that offers them purpose rather than one that offers them more pay. Gen Z cares about the mission of the company they work for and how well it connects to their own personal beliefs. It’s up to you to communicate your company’s goals effectively.

How to Retain Gen Z Employees
Gen Zers are currently job hopping at a rapid pace and have no qualms about leaving a job that’s failing to provide what they’re looking for. But what, exactly, are Gen Zers seeking? Luckily, Gen Z employment trends can give you some pretty solid ideas.

One of the best ways to retain Gen Z employees is to provide clear pathways for advancement and continued learning. While salary is the top element Gen Zers consider when selecting a job, career advancement is still a major factor in retention. A recent study from Amazon found that 74% of Gen Z and Millennial employees plan to leave their jobs within the year due to a lack of advancement and skills development opportunities.

Keep in mind that Gen Zers are looking for more than a promotion track, although that’s also valuable. Learning is also viewed as a key element for successful career growth, so upskilling and reskilling opportunities are an excellent way to keep the newest generation happy.

In addition to offering career and development opportunities, you need to revisit your company culture if you want to know how to retain Gen Z employees. Gen Z is looking for a collaborative environment where managers actively communicate with employees. They’re not looking for empty praise; Gen Zers are surprisingly eager to embrace failures that will help them grow as professionals. And as the most diverse generation in the U.S., Gen Z also highly values inclusive environments. If your company isn’t making diversity, equity, and inclusion a top priority, then you will likely have a hard time keeping your new employees around.

The bottom line? The secret to retaining Gen Z workers is the same for any other generation: Make sure they’re satisfied with their jobs. Listen to your employees and be open to feedback so you can properly address their needs. Remember, Gen Z doesn’t want to choose between career stability and a job with purpose — they believe they should be able to have both. If you want to strengthen your workforce with this new generation, you should try your best to deliver what they’re looking for.

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