The nuances of generational diversity may not be the first things that come to mind when thinking of how to attract and retain high-performing workers. Sure, people may talk about it, but for the average organization, they’re usually just happy to fill a headcount. Even at highly regarded employers, it’s sometimes easy to rely on stereotypes or simply overlook non-visible traits in organizational assessments.
Today’s reality is that there are 5 generations working together, which is the most in modern history. Diversity in thought, work ethic, life experiences, communication styles, and technological savvy all provide opportunities and challenges when attracting and retaining high-performing workers.
While millennials make up a majority of today’s workforce, Gen Z will make up a larger and larger portion as each year passes. This makes attracting Gen Z workers critical to future business success – which is easier said than done with the booming economy fueling a competition for talent.
From the findings of a multinational survey Kronos commissioned, we’ve developed three strategies to help attract and retain the best Gen Z talent.
Strategy 1: Support side jobs
The gig economy has transformed the workplace and the workers who encompass it. It’s not that everyone wants to work a gig job, but side hustles have become a norm.
According to the study from The Workforce Institute at Kronos and Future Workplace, 46% of Gen Z currently participate in the gig economy in some way. The study also found 1 in 5 Gen Z employees (18%) have two jobs – a side gig in addition to their main job. That’s a number employers should not ignore.
Rather than discourage employees from taking on a side hustle, forward-thinking organizations should show they embrace and encourage these gigs and passion projects. Doing so presents a golden opportunity to increase engagement, strengthen employee loyalty, increase productivity, and be known as an employer of choice among all entrepreneurial job-seekers. As much as Gen Z is attracted to the gig lifestyle, only 10% are working at it full-time.
Employers who focus on solutions and strategies to help Gen Z employees get the best of both worlds will come out ahead in the race to attract and retain high-performing talent from this newest generation.
Strategy 2: Be flexible
What is it about gig jobs that most attracts Gen Z? It starts with flex appeal. 55% of survey respondents said that the most appealing benefit about working in the gig economy is schedule flexibility. On the flip side, they fear the lack of stability (47%) and unpredictable pay (46%) the most.
These results provide a useful glimpse into what Gen Zers are looking for in their working environment. Are your workplace policies rigid, or do you embrace schedule flexibility? Seeking flexibility in schedules is not unique to only Gen Z workers. This is something every employee – regardless of generation – desires.
Once reserved for white collar workers, it’s not crazy to offer flexibility to hourly workers who must be present to do their jobs. AI-powered, mobile-first tech helps organizations coordinate staggered start times, enable real-time shift swaps that aren’t slowed down by manual managerial review, and approve time-off instantly since the system already knows if there is enough alternative coverage – all while still ensuring the demands of the day’s forecast are met.
Strategy 3: Communicate about career, mission and money
According to our survey, Gen Z is enticed to work by quick advancement, independence, and the ability to earn more money. Perhaps more than any other generation, it’s paramount Gen Zers see their career path, how they are contributing to the mission, and what their next career milestone is with their employer.
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Title and advancement in the workplace matter to Gen Z employees. In fact, they measure success not just by their title, but how quickly they advance. Gen Z workers are looking for their employer to provide a clear and defined path for how and when they will get promoted.
While not exclusive to Gen Z employees, money also matters. Despite all the anecdotal evidence that’s been published about Gen Z caring most about the mission, among 16-18 year old Gen Zers surveyed, 39% say they are most likely to measure their success by how much money they make.
HR leaders should think long and hard about how to reimagine how they communicate career pathing, professional development, and compensation planning if they want their best Gen Zers to stick around more than a year or two.
Your culture matters
Having an engaged workforce is not only important for attracting today’s high performers, but tomorrow’s as well. 43% of Gen Z agree that if a company has disengaged or unhappy employees, they would lose interest in working for that company. In the age of Glassdoor and the employee-employer review, this means you may never even get a chance to hire someone if you aren’t focused on building and cultivating a well-rounded culture that promotes engagement among all generations.
What about culture will help you attract this latest generation to enter the workforce? See “Attracting Gen Z Will Be Like Recruiting Millennials Only Different.”
While there may be 4 or 5 generations in your workplace, the truth of the matter is that Gen Z doesn’t need or even want special privileges. They may challenge HR leaders and people managers to think a little differently in some areas – such as what career advancement and professional development mean – but at the end of the day, Gen Z wants what everyone wants: An employer who’ll encourage their passion projects, provide them the flexibility to negotiate their work and life demands, and stability to have confidence in their financial independence.
The true difference between Gen Z and other generations might be that the technology finally exists to deliver these demands – which is something that every generation will benefit from.