December 7th, 2021

How to Attract and Retain Gen Z Workers

Our workforce is becoming more diverse. Your business could have four different generations working together soon. But what each generation wants from their job varies—particularly when it comes to Generation Z. 

Generation Z is particularly demanding when it comes to their employers. So here are the qualities of Generation Z and how you can use this understanding to better attract and retain them as employees. 

Defining Qualities of Generation Z 

Generation Z is unique. They are the first “digital natives” of our world, meaning they were born after the internet. More specifically, Generation Z was born from 1996 to 2012. While the youngest of this generation are still in elementary school, the oldest are graduating college and starting their careers. 

Generation Z is also the most diverse and well-educated generation ever. The Pew Research Center reports that 48% of Generation Z is nonwhite and they’re more likely to pursue college than earlier generations. Since Gen Z is more likely to pursue higher education, many of them forego working jobs until they graduate college.  

Aside from their demographics, other things have shaped the mentality and expectations of Generation Z—such as the lasting effects of the economic recession in 2008, COVID-19, and social unrest. 

The impact of these events on this generation is still to be determined. But according to the American Psychological Association, Generation Z reports higher levels of stress, leading to more anxiety and depression among this group than other generations. 

There are several important ways that each of these distinct qualities plays out in the workplace. And employers who recognize and appreciate how Generation Z is different will have an easier time attracting and retaining these young workers. 

Attracting the Generation Z Workforce

As mentioned, Generation Z is demographically more diverse. As a result, they care more about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Organizations must show a commitment to DEI to win with this generation. It’s not enough to just mention DEI either—the benefits, culture, values, and leadership all have to uphold it. 

Spending some time during the interview process sharing how you uphold DEI and your current progress towards it—including the facts and figures—will go a long way in showing Gen Z you truly care about this issue. 

Outside of DEI, Research from Glassdoor shows that Gen Z finds the work environment, flexible hours, and good pay the biggest pros to working somewhere. Other perks like free food and company discounts are also appealing, but not driving factors for this generation to work somewhere. 

To attract Generation Z, consider doing the following in your job descriptions or on job boards: 

  • Highlight the work environment by sharing pictures
  • Address how your company offers flexibility (i.e. if you offer remote or hybrid working) 
  • Be transparent and share the salary range or pay details

Technology has a large appeal for Gen Z as well. Many of the jobs that they pursue will be in the tech space. However, if your business isn’t in the technology industry, there are other ways to highlight your innovation and tech-savviness: 

  • Make sure your recruiting process isn’t antiquated—move quickly, feel free to text them, and make sure the application process is mobile-friendly
  • During the interview, share what new skills, platforms, or technology equipment they’ll have the opportunity to learn

Last, because Generation Z is more stressed and has been through a lot already—addressing mental health is also a good idea. Employers who can offer mental health support or resources through their benefits or culture will make this generation of workers feel welcome and understood. But employers can’t stop here. To retain Gen Z, you’ll need to continue efforts in these areas and others. 

3 Things Essential to Retaining Generation Z Employees

According to Glassdoor Economic Research, culture and values, leadership, and career opportunities matter most in keeping Gen Z employees satisfied long term. 

  1. Culture and Values 

The type of work this generation does is important to them. Similar to their Millennial counterparts, Generation Z is big on “mission-driven” organizations. Companies that attract Generation Z will have a strong mission and set of values clearly highlighted in their culture, on their website, social media, and job boards. 

But companies that keep Gen Z workers must continually communicate and exhibit their mission and values in meetings, company events, and with customers. Usually, this falls on leadership.

  1. Leadership

The leadership holds all the power in attracting and retaining Gen Z workers. The company culture, mission and vision, and DEI efforts all start from the top-down. Leadership must be transparent about each of these things to gain trust from Gen Z workers. 

As a result, companies should make sure leadership represents the culture, mission and values, and DEI efforts and that they serve as role models to the rest of the organization. 

  1. Career Opportunities 

Because Gen Z will be less experienced entering the job market than previous generations, employers will have challenges in training them, once hired. As a result, new skills, career development, and growth opportunities are critical to developing these workers. 

Clearly communicate job expectations to Gen Z. If they don’t see a clear path in front of them, it will be harder for them to stay engaged, and eventually, they’ll leave. 

A Final Note on Generation Z Employees

Even though Generation Z may be less experienced, they provide a great opportunity for employers to fill entry-level positions and grow their businesses. And because Generation Z is so unique, many of the expectations they have for employers can improve workplaces overall. 

But they’re not immune to the traditional enticements employers can offer, such as benefits. At a minimum, Gen Z will expect healthcare insurance, time off, and retirement planning too. So don’t forget your tried and true methods for attracting and retaining talent. To learn more about how to attract top talent, download the guide below. 

All employees, no matter the generation they belong to want access to benefits. But curating a compelling benefits package for everyone while controlling costs can feel impossible. Obsidian HR works directly with benefit providers to help businesses gain access to higher-quality plans. And as your workforce changes or becomes more demographically diverse, we have the resources and expertise to support you.

Download Our Guide: How to Attract Top Talent

Download this guide to learn five strategies to attract top talent and improve your hiring process.

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