Make Room, Millennials: 5 Tips for Hiring and Retaining Today's Gen Z Employees

By now, most of us have read a think piece or two about Millennials in the workplace – but is your workplace prepared for hiring and retaining Gen Z employees? With the eldest members of Gen Z already entering their mid-20s, it’s essential that your company prepares for their successful entrance to the workforce and progression in their careers. Keep reading to find out which factors will be key to better hiring and retaining today’s Gen Z employees. 

1. Health is Wealth – and That Includes Mental Health 

The last  few years have been difficult for everyone, and Gen Z is no exception. From rapidly rising inflation rates, the lingering pandemic, a looming recession, recent layoffs (and the list goes on), many of today’s young workers are understandably overwhelmed. It makes sense that according to LinkedIn, 66% of Gen Z respondents said they want a company culture built on mental health and wellness. 

So, what does this all mean for hiring and retaining Gen Z workers? Companies can do their part by making mental health a priority – and many have already begun doing so. A 2022 Employee Wellness Industry Trends Report from Wellable Labs found that 90% of employers reported increasing their investment in mental health programs, while 76% increased investment in stress management and resilience programs, and 71% increased investment in mindfulness and meditation programs.

Whether that’s including mental health awareness in your company culture, encouraging work-life balance, or offering mental health stipends for employees, there are plenty of ways to incorporate wellness and mental health. Not only will Gen Z candidates and employees appreciate this, but employees of all ages can benefit from the positive effects of a healthy workforce. 

2. Purpose is Everything 

At this point, it’s practically common knowledge that Millennial workers are known for placing a greater emphasis on their values and prefer to work for companies that align with these values.  The same goes for Gen Zers – EY’s 2021 Gen Z Segmentation Study found that 63% of 1,509 Gen Zers surveyed “feel it is very or extremely important to work for an employer that shares their values.” 

This may be an area your company already excels in if company culture is at the forefront. If not, no need to worry. You can begin taking steps right away that can help take your company culture up a few notches. It may help to ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Does our company regularly reference and implement our values? 
  • Are company values clearly communicated to new hires from day one through a personalized digital offer process
  • Is there a larger goal or purpose that the work is tied to? 
  • Can employees clearly understand the fruits of their labor when it comes to furthering the company’s unique mission, vision, and values?  
  • Are employees and candidates energized by the work being done at the company?

Whether you decide to create a company values document for employees to reference or host weekly or monthly meetings that reiterate your unique mission and purpose, the options for tying purpose into your everyday operations are endless. 

3. Flexibility is Essential 

77% of Gen Z workers say they prefer flexible work policies, which is in line with pandemic trends across age groups. However, working fully remotely or on a hybrid schedule can be tough for younger employees, and some may have FOMO when it comes to getting to know their peers and managers virtually instead of getting the traditional in-person experience. 

While remote and hybrid models reign supreme for most folks, implementing offline gatherings when possible will be crucial for helping Gen Z employees feel connected and comfortable around their colleagues. Has your company hosted monthly, quarterly, or annual team retreats? If not, the time to begin brainstorming is now. 

Keep in mind that bringing team building and human connection activities to the forefront will be both preferred and also more productive instead of simply using in-person time to go over work or spend hours reviewing lengthy presentations. Using this time wisely to bond and genuinely get to know one another will be key and can help boost morale for many months to come.  

4. Growth is Top of Mind

Today’s Gen Z candidates and employees are new to their careers – and they have their eyes on the prize as they’re eager to progress and climb the career ladder. With the right tools and guidance, teams can help make this a reality for Gen Z employees. 

Encouraging community-building can nudge younger employees to get out of their comfort zone to make new friends at work and know they’re not in it alone. For instance, does your company have a buddy program or mentorship program to ensure new Gen Z hires (and all new hires for that matter) are supported in their goals? Oftentimes, this is enough to motivate employees to take ownership of their work and not be afraid to ask questions.  

Regular check-ins at the 30, 60, and 90 day mark can also ensure employees are understanding their role and acclimating appropriately. Plus, they can also help management gauge performance and identity strengths and weaknesses in order to optimize and improve. Regular performance reviews and benchmarking is also crucial for ensuring career growth and development not only for Gen Z employees, but for all employees. 

Ultimately, rewarding employees for their hard work with raises, promotions, and bonuses is one of the oldest and most effective retention strategies in the book – and for good reason! With tools that help employees clearly visualize their total compensation and growth potential, companies can seamlessly manage compensation changes over time while reducing attrition rates. 

5. A Great Onboarding Process is Crucial

Remember getting your first full time job and feeling like the people around you were speaking a foreign language? That’s what a lot of today’s young Gen Z employees are facing on their first day at a new job, and it can be extra alienating given that many work remotely without being able to meet their colleagues and managers in person. 

An efficient onboarding process can be key to mitigating issues or questions that may arise among Gen Z employees. Instead of solely focusing on standard information about your company, does your company’s onboarding process encourage new employees to get to know one other and ask questions in a supportive environment? 

Whether you’re onboarding a new Gen Z hire on their first day or checking in with them at their one, two, or three year mark, ensuring Gen Z employee needs are being met will be crucial to hiring and retaining the best emerging talent for years to come. 

Get the Tools You Need to Effectively Communicate Total Compensation

In the end, great benefits and perks only go so far. Are you clearly communicating total compensation that goes beyond salary alone? This will be essential in attracting and retaining top Gen Z talent – and this is where compensation management tools can be the game changer you need to stay competitive. 

Learn more about how a better understanding of total compensation and growth potential can help attract talent and boost your retention rates. Book a demo for a firsthand look, or sign up for our free real-time compensation data to dive in. 

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