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Setting a company up for success with Gen Z employees

Competitive benefit offerings, higher expectations, and even boredom are three major reasons why younger generations have higher rates of voluntary turnover compared to the rest of the workforce. Perhaps the key to reducing some of this turnover lies in employers finding new ways to connect the younger workforce with their culture and company values.

You’re not imagining it: Gen Z has taken job-hopping to new levels.

LinkedIn has reported that three-quarters of Gen Z professionals would be willing to change occupations to find work that aligned with their values, offered development opportunities, or paid more.

This isn’t just talk, either. Statistically, Gen Z is churning through employers at a rate that’s 134% higher than it was in 2019. And they’re reaping the rewards for their job jumping with raises, almost 30% improvements per the Bank of America Institute.

If you’re an employer, you might feel like throwing your hands in the air and giving up on your Gen Z workers. But now is not the time to despair. Instead, it’s time to begin understanding how your company can attract and manage Gen Z in a way that works for both sides. The perfect place to start is by getting to know Gen Z’s personal and career-focused motivations.

Gen Z Workplace Expectations
Like Millennials, Gen Z wants to work in the world of the future, not the past. That’s why they resist the idea of being “part of the machine.” They don’t want to feel like a cog. As digital natives, they want to feel important and enjoy a personalized experience as an employee. Unfortunately, most companies weren’t built on this concept, which is why many employers are having a tough time adjusting their processes to meet these desires.

Gen Z also wants to feel valued, starting with their earnings. Today, salary transparency is essentials. Gen Z not only knows what influencers and athletes make, but they know what their best friends make. For Gen Z, it’s not taboo to talk about compensation. Consequently, their concept of what they’re “worth” differs from what employers find in workers from other generations.

What about remote and hybrid working arrangements? Gen Z sees those as table stakes. Data from ADP shows that seven out of 10 Gen Zers will start looking for different work if they’re forced to be in an office all the time. Companies that aren’t providing flexible workforce solutions will see higher turnover.

Certainly, there are exceptions. Take Google. The company isn’t seeing a mass of Gen Z resignations even after demanding that most workers come back to headquarters. Of course, Google also pays its workers incredible salaries. That’s something most smaller and mid-sized companies can’t do to keep Gen Z from fleeing.

How to Meet Gen Z Workplace Expectations in 3 Easy Steps
At the end of the day, Gen Z wants to work. However, they won’t want to work at your company if you don’t figure out how to make your workplace more appealing to this generational cohort. Start by being highly strategic in your hiring, onboarding, and management processes. To effectively attract and retain Gen Z talent, consider these three straightforward steps:

1. Be transparent about your day-to-day company culture.
Younger workers will always go online first to find out more about companies. Frequently, they’ll check for “Great Places to Work” awards and get real employee feedback from Fishbowl, as well as try to find validation of a business’s advertised commitment to DEI, sustainable initiatives, or social responsibility. However, they become dissatisfied quickly when they figure out that their daily work doesn’t feel aligned with any of what they read about a company.

Authenticity is very important for Gen Z, and a “false positive” leaves a bad taste in their mouths. If they experience a disconnect between what you say and their experience, they’ll leave. And don’t imagine that this disconnect doesn’t happen regularly. It does. Not long ago, Gallup asked HR leaders if they’d improved their DEI efforts. A whopping 97% said they had. Their employees told a different story. Only 37% of them agreed.

You need to tell the truth to potential and incoming Gen Z employees about what everyday life will look like for them. New technologies and software-based tools can help you with this task. For example, you could perform psychometric assessments with all of your teams. The results would give you data-backed information and insights to use to describe a department’s or group’s culture and ethos. That way, candidates could self-select whether to apply (or stay in the recruitment pipeline) for open positions.

2. Drive a sense of belonging for hybrid and remote workers.
Though Gen Z wants to work from anywhere, they also want to be able to network and make friends with their bosses and peers. By and large, this isn’t happening, though. According to JobsSage, 21% of Gen Z professionals say they don’t have coworker friends. In contrast, half of their Baby Boomer colleagues said most of their friendships blossomed at the office.

If you’re having difficulty attracting and retaining Gen Z even though you operate a hybrid or remote workplace, you may need to put a stronger emphasis on fostering bonds between colleagues. This may mean offering more ways for workers to connect, such as through a Slack channel, digital bulletin board, mentor pairings, or a company-developed social app. It may even make sense to find ways to bring members of your team together for an annual event.

CNBC reported during the pandemic that 73% of Gen Z felt lonely and isolated. Those characteristics aren’t just bad for their health and well-being. They also make it hard for Gen Z workers to know how to touch base with each other. The more innovative you can be about showing them they can bring their whole selves to work and belong, the better chance you have of keeping them in the fold.

3. Level up your use of tech.
To Gen Z, tech is a way of life. From a young age, they’ve been comfortable with technology and know how to navigate almost any device intuitively. Becoming more tech-forward will not only appeal to their natural sensibilities but it will help your company as a whole, too.

For instance, advanced tech products like cloud-based platforms and systems can remove challenges faced by remote team members. Tech can enable them to collaborate, too, which can fuel the human-to-human connection mentioned above. Companies not investing in the latest tools to bridge their biggest communication and productivity gaps will lose out.

Another tech to incorporate into your business is video. Right now, video is one of the fastest-growing mediums that Gen Z uses and learns. This isn’t surprising, given the rise in video-rich, Gen Z-preferred social media platforms such as YouTube and TikTok. And be sure to lean into tech to give Gen Z the ability to up their skill sets. As Deloitte explains, training sessions, internal apprenticeships, and career pathing should be part and parcel of managing Gen Z in the workplace. With tech, you can efficiently scale these endeavors without losing the customization Gen Z wants.

Gen Z may be job-hopping, but they’re not averse to putting down roots. You just need to show that your soil is rich enough for them to grow their talents.

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