Armed with new values, attitudes, and career aspirations, Generation Z is the latest cohort to enter the workforce.

In our last blog, we took a deep dive into what sets Gen Z apart from their Millennial counterparts. As we discovered, their values and priorities towards the world of work are substantially different to the generations before them.

gen z talk to hr

One of their key characteristics is that they don’t tend to stick around in jobs for the long term and job-hopping is commonplace. In fact, recent data from LinkedIn showed that Gen Z employees are switching jobs at a rate 134% higher than in 2019. Plus, 25% of them say they hope or plan to leave their employers in the next six months.

So, while Gen Z may be on track to make up 27% of the workforce by 2025, it seems HR teams will have a job on their hands when it comes to retaining them. Engaging with this enigmatic generation, then, will be vital when it comes to winning the war for talent and preventing a revolving door of recruitment.

Here are a few key things HR can try…

1. Perfect your onboarding strategy

Although not always given the attention it deserves, the onboarding experience is one that can make or break an employee’s perception of a business. This is particularly true of those entering the workplace for the very first time.

For example, in our recent onboarding survey, we found that a fifth of 18-24 year-olds received no help in preparing for their new role, and almost 10% claimed their onboarding experience had led them to consider leaving altogether; an alarming figure for any employer.

To build long-lasting engagement with Gen Zs, your onboarding programme must help your organisation make the best possible first impression on new hires. Whether that’s keeping open lines of communication before their start date or simply ensuring that all paperwork is sorted and signed by the time they arrive, making onboarding an enjoyable, motivating experience is the first step to keeping Gen Z employees engaged long-term.

2. Invest in training and development

Raised against the backdrop of one of the UK’s deepest recessions and now entering adulthood in the height of the cost-of-living crisis, Gen Zs have their gaze set on financial stability – and understandably so. Investing in upskilling and career development, then, will likely fare your company well when it comes to keeping younger staff engaged.

Does your business offer a learning budget? If so, prioritising training and development – particularly of in-demand skillsets amid the current skills shortage – could not only satisfy your younger employees’ desire for job security, but also nurture a talent pipeline that will benefit your organisation in the long run.

If formal development opportunities aren’t in the cards, you’re not entirely out of luck. On-the-job training and informal mentoring could also see Gen Z employees viewing your business more favourably when it comes to assessing their future options.

3. Offer feedback opportunities

While a useful means to engage employees of any age, feedback opportunities play a role of particular importance to Gen Zs. Like their Millennial predecessors, they value seeing their own impact on a company’s culture and practices.

It’s worth noting that both oral and written feedback opportunities can be useful here. Regular one-on-one check-ins with line managers can offer a ‘safe’ space to feedback on the individual role and any challenges as they arise. Wider staff pulse surveys and questionnaires can also be a fantastic – even anonymised – chance to explore views on bigger company issues.

In either case – whether voicing concerns about an individual role or the wider workplace – offering a space for employees to make their own contributions will surely serve you well when it comes to long-term staff happiness.

Remember, though, that following up on feedback is imperative. Listen to concerns without making a change, and you might find you’ve caused more damage to employee motivation than good…

4. Make the most of new priorities

Lastly, maintaining a positive work-life balance is a priority in the eyes of Gen Z jobseekers. This is a group that places high value on remote and hybrid working patterns; so, exploring compatible ways of working could make all the difference to your Gen Z retention rates.

It’s also worth remembering that the drive for work-life balance doesn’t stop with the ‘where’. Ask yourself:

  • Is your organisation actively encouraging downtime among staff?
  • Are company working hours being respected across the board?
  • Are managers discouraged from contacting employees after hours?
  • Does your organisation acknowledge the importance of a healthy work-life balance as part of an over-arching staff wellbeing strategy?

If you answered ‘no’ to any of those points, you might find your Gen Zs won’t stick around long!

A positive work-life balance isn’t just something for Gen Zs, though. Well-rested employees – regardless of their generation – will be better engaged and more creative in their roles. It makes sense then, that HR make the effort to support all their staff in separating their work and home lives.

Chloe Turner author image

Chloe Turner

Graduating from the University of South Wales, Chloe is an experienced content marketing manager who's worked across the HR and legal business sectors.

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