GenZ employees currently account for over a quarter of the world’s workforce, but their early professional experiences were influenced dramatically by the global pandemic. The ‘remote-first’ working environment induced by the pandemic was unfamiliar, to say the least.
Naturally, GenZ’s exposure to the professional world has been unconventional. What’s more, the newer generation is also more conscious of social issues and puts companies under greater scrutiny – with values such as diversity and inclusion influencing their decisions to take a job.
So, what does this mean for employers? What changes need to be made to attract and retain, GenZ talent? And what expectations does GenZ have from employers that the previous generation shared? We’ll address these points, and more, in this extensive guide on how to attract GenZ employees.
Why your talent acquisition strategy needs a makeover
A survey found that almost 80% of GenZ employees expect their employer to meet their expectations and to be compatible with their beliefs. The new generation is open to speaking their mind and needs their employers to re-evaluate their previous approaches.
The ways employers used to hire millennials might not work anymore because GenZ has started prioritizing learning and talent development. In fact, GenZ is more likely to decline jobs if they are not getting enough value.
Large companies are also acknowledging this issue which is why 43% of companies have introduced newer models for hiring their young workforce. These models focus on efficiency and the development and wellness of their GenZ employees.
If you are an employer, you should re-evaluate your talent acquisition strategy, and only then will you be able to get your hands on some of the most creative people out there.
5 Tried-and-tested ways to attract GenZ employees
To attract and recruit GenZ employees, it’s important to understand their values and expectations from employers. So let’s explore GenZ’s professional priorities and how you can meet them.
1. Embrace flexible work models (hybrid)
Following the global pandemic, flexible work options have become a rising expectation amongst the workforce in general. However, according to a survey by the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS), many GenZ job seekers are on the prowl for in-person training and work options.
Only 23% of the survey’s respondents considered remote work to be very or extremely important, whereas 63% expressed the desire for in-person training. These results are interesting and reveal a different side of worker expectations – a substantial portion of the younger generation is tired of working online and do not perceive the same value from online training.
This reiterates the necessity to find common ground – i.e., hybrid work models – which, evidently, don’t need to be biased towards remote work.
▶️Read more: A Guide To Hire Someone You’ve Never Met in Person
2. Commit to being values-first
It’s not enough for modern companies just to have values. Now, values must define your organization’s vision and be communicated throughout your messaging.
GenZ is a more socially responsible generation, with almost 77% of surveyed GenZ employees desiring to work in organizations that value equity, inclusion, and diversity.
Hence, companies must not only adopt more socially responsible practices but also need to tie core values to their messaging and communicate them throughout their employer brand. Moreover, to retain top GenZ employees, creating inclusive, diverse spaces is vital to make all team members feel welcome.
▶️Read more: Why Diversity Hiring is Vital to Building the Best Workforce
3. Reassess your compensation package
GenZ might emphasize social responsibility and inclusivity more than previous generations, but their expectations from compensation packages are not less. In a survey, 61% of GenZ expressed how financial wellness benefits would help alleviate the stress they feel towards their financial situation.
Hence, mentioning salary ranges in the job descriptions make candidates respond faster.
This part of attracting and retaining top talent hasn’t changed – employers still need to offer generous compensation packages with good benefits.
4. Reconsider your expectations
Today’s talent market is ripe with qualified talent that has the right skills and experience to assume highly skilled roles, however, a study by Harvard Business Review revealed that nine out of ten employers are still rejecting qualified talent that lacks college degrees.
Clearly, employers need to strongly rethink their commitment to the four-year degree requirement – especially if its costing them top talent. Similarly, employers should consider being more flexible in their requirements, especially where ‘years of experience’ is concerned.
If qualified, promising young talent possesses the necessary skills and cultural fit, employers should consider lowering the experience requirements.
▶️Read more: How cultural add can bring more value to employers than cultural fit.
We’re in a very competitive talent market, and many employers are coming to realize the drawbacks of imposing blanket requirements regarding degrees and years of experience.
5. Invest in employee care and wellbeing
GenZ is more vocal about their mental health than previous generations, and many young employees expect employers to take their well-being into account. 63% of U.S. GenZ employees consider mental health care the second most important workplace benefit, second only to a 401(k).
In fact, 82% of GenZ expect employers to offer mental health days – a relatively new concept to HR teams. This expectation may be linked to GenZ’s typically higher reported stress levels.
The takeaway is simple – employers need to invest in mental health care to attract and retain young talent. HR needs to establish a balance between prioritizing mental health offerings and ensuring company goals are met.
5 Ways to Retain GenZ Employees
Attracting the right talent is step 1 – the second step is retaining them. Otherwise, you won’t get far with a leaky talent pipeline.
Here are five proven ways to help you retain GenZ employees.
1. Provide them with tangible career paths
As we’ve established in the previous section, top young talent seeks opportunities to grow professionally and advance in their careers. In fact, 34% of surveyed GenZ employees cited limited career progression opportunities as a reason for quitting their job.
Employers thus need to be prepared to deliver tangible career paths to retain top talent. We need to communicate promotion paths for new hires that aligns with their ambitions, and provide them with a detailed training process.
2. Invest in upskilling & L&D
Upskilling and learning and development (L&D) opportunities are a vital part of professional development, which GenZ prioritizes. In today’s technology-first age, many jobs have undergone rapid digitalization, making them highly specialized and skills-based.
So, employees need to prepare new talent to perform and advance in these roles. Only 64% of surveyed GenZ talent feel their education has equipped them adequately for the workplace, so it’s up to employers to bridge the gap.
Thus, the need to invest in training workshops, educational seminars, and other relevant L&D opportunities is paramount. In-house talent should have consistent opportunities to grow professionally.
3. Build an inclusive work culture
As we mentioned earlier, GenZ employees value inclusivity and diversity greatly – in fact, 86% them will consider a company’s commitment to diversity when considering an offer. Moreover, after being hired, 78% of them would consider searching for a new job if their employer wasn’t committed to workplace diversity.
But you can’t turn a dial or flip a switch to build an inclusive work culture. It takes time, commitment, and executive buy-in. Companies can’t limit themselves to superficially adopting inclusion practices; they must fully champion diversity and inclusion by baking it into their organizational culture, refining their core values, and adapting their messaging.
Business leaders also need to rethink how they can facilitate disabled and special needs employees in their commitment to inclusion.
4. Provide Networking Opportunities
Networking opportunities are important to young talent, and employers need to facilitate them in developing their networks and connecting with professionals. However, the global pandemic changed the face of professional networking, and even as the world recovers, networking through digital forums remains a popular avenue.
Thus, employers need to create networking opportunities for young talent – and hybrid or remote businesses in particular must integrate digital networking opportunities.
Fortunately, thanks to the cost-effectiveness, greater reach, and increased accessibility, virtual events, webinars, and industry networking activities remain popular. Employers can leverage these opportunities to better facilitate young talent.
5. Facilitate Work-Life Balance
According to a survey by BambooHR and TalentLMS, 42% of GenZ employees will likely quit their jobs in the upcoming year because of burnout or the inability to maintain a work-life balance. This is the second highest reason for GenZ employees planning their exit, second to unsatisfactory salaries.
So, it’s important for employers to rethink how they can help employees maintain a work-life balance. This will require shifting workplace culture to reduce expectations from employees, and encouraging middle-management to help employees manage workloads.
The Way Forward
Times have changed, and the younger generation is expecting more from employers. These expectations are not limited to tangible benefits, like healthcare and salary (although these remain important factors), but extend to diversity, inclusion, social responsibility, and learning opportunities.
Thus, business leaders need to meet these new talent acquisition challenges and commit to meeting employee expectations. However, meeting these expectations doesn’t involve checking points off a list – changes like committing to diversity, inclusion, and L&D require executive buy-in, investment, and company-wide implementation.
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