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COVID-19 had significant effects on most people’s lives, and the Gen Z demographic was no exception. As the pandemic wreaked havoc on all industries, entry-level jobs in those fields disappeared, leaving a demographic whose oldest members were only 23 and just starting to join the workforce jobless.

For the most part, this experience has greatly shaped the mindset of Gen Zers and how they approach jobs. 

The implication of this is that workplaces looking to hire Gen Z (which, let’s face it, is unavoidable, as this group is predicted to make up one-third of the workforce by the end of the decade) must make deliberate attempts to court them and understand their workplace demands. 

 

What can you do to attract and retain Gen Z talent?

  1. Flexibility

Flexibility is important not only for attracting Generation Z but also for retention. Many Gen Z talents want flexibility not just in how many days they work, but the hours they work and where they do so.

So unsurprisingly, on-site job roles get the least amount of applications from this demographic—they grew up with high-speed internet and smartphones and attended classes online (even before the pandemic), so they have no issues forming relationships (including professional ones) online.

Still, this demographic appreciates nuances in professional settings. For example, they prefer hybrid roles to on-site roles and even remote ones. They want to be able to work without losing opportunities to gather social connections with co-workers.

 

  2. Diversity

Generation Z candidates think of workplace diversity in very different ways from the older generation, and this affects the type of company they prefer to work for.

This demographic wants to work for companies that have sound principles and exist to truly make the world better. Gen Zers typically won’t hesitate to criticize their employers when their actions contradict social or moral principles.

The fact that they grew up with technology may be a plausible cause for this. Due to their exposure to social media and tech, they are more open to advancements, innovations, and changes and they look for the same in potential employers and managers.

 

  3. Recognition of efforts

This means openly acknowledging, praising, and rewarding the behaviors and efforts of your Gen Z employees especially when it contributes to the organization’s progress.

By regularly giving authentic, deserved recognition to your Gen Z employees, you’ll be much closer to unlocking their full potential. It will also decrease the rates of turnover and decrease absenteeism.

 

  4. Offer explanations when needed

As a manager or business owner, sometimes you have to make decisions without input from your team. Whenever this happens, as much as possible, offer explanations.

For example, rather than simply assigning tasks, explain the rationale behind your decision, explain why each task is important, how it supports the rest of the project, and where it fits into the overall plan.

 

  5. Give everyone a voice

Gen Z prides themselves on challenging the status quo. This demographic likes to forge their own path and make a difference in their workplaces. What this means for employers is that these young workers want the opportunity to share their ideas, especially if they see ways to optimize company processes or improve the workplace overall. Helping them feel less like a group of individuals and more like a team is one way to make this happen. Clear and effective employee communication is another way.

A strong communication system allows your Gen Z employees to have a say in how things get done. When they feel that they’re being heard and valued within the organization, their performance, engagement, and overall happiness will improve dramatically.

If your workplace is virtual, consider providing various outlets for them to share their ideas in a respectful, structured way. Roundtable discussions over video calls are an excellent way to make this happen so that conversation can flow more freely. You may also consider anonymous feedback forms so your Gen Z employees can write their comments.

 

Final Thoughts

This new generation of graduates entering the workforce have grown up with smartphones and social media. They’re used to embracing flexibility, diversity, openness, innovation and recognition for their efforts. If companies need to get ahead of the curve, they need to cater to the gen Z work culture or lose out on a highly-productive workforce.

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