Managing costs

How to attract and retain Gen Z talent

As Gen Z workers begin to enter the workforce in significant numbers, businesses are facing a new challenge: how to attract, engage, and retain these young workers.

30 March 2023

Following COVID-19, quiet quitting has gained momentum as an increasing number of employees grapple with burnout.

In particular, Gen Z (born 1997-2012) is leading this movement due to feeling less supported and encouraged in the workplace, according to business services and management technology provider HCLTech.

As they continue to make up an increasing percentage of the workforce, employers must learn to incorporate Gen Z preferences in order to effectively attract, engage and retain top talent within this generation.

HCLTech head of HR Amrita Das said that with Gen Z making up almost 20% of their workforce and expected to make up 40% by 2026, it’s critical that businesses learn to juggle each generation’s specific needs in the workplace.

When it comes to what Gen Z wants in the workplace that is different from other generations, Ms Das said new hires are asking for purpose-driven work that aligns with their personal values and aspirations and creates impact.

“This means that our need to communicate proactively and offer clarity on the job, evaluation parameters, transparency of the process, and continuous assurance has never been higher,” Ms Das said.

“We’re also finding that new applicants are placing a higher weightage on an organisation’s sustainability mission while evaluating their job options.

“While Millennials are extremely committed to the assigned deliverables, Gen Z employees are not only quite enterprising, but inquisitive on how and what would be the impact of their work on the overall organisation’s growth. We’re also finding that Gen Z is less likely to be burned out as they manage their time better and have a better work/life balance.”

When it comes to navigating a multi-generational workplace, as more autonomy is being provided to employees, especially the younger generations, there is a need to ensure that there is no impact on the business outcomes, according to Ms Das. The focus on customers, output and delivery shouldn’t be impacted.

“The changed work dynamics are also posing a challenge for talent attraction and retention,” she said.

From communication, work style, and technology, along with diversity and inclusion, businesses will need to create a more inclusive and productive multi-generational workplace that benefits employees of all ages.

It will also be important to foster a positive workplace culture that values teamwork, collaboration, and open communication. Gen Z workers are looking for a workplace that feels like a community, and they want to work for employers who prioritise employee wellbeing and mental health.

Businesses should also offer clear career paths and provide ongoing training and development opportunities to keep Gen Z workers engaged and motivated.

“In responding to future generational demands, the business model, structure, systems and process have to be ever-evolving and be responsive to the changing asks and expectations,” Ms Das said.

“The tougher problem to solve will be to transition the culture into one that is more entrepreneurial, connected, and inclusive. These would need to be imbibed at the leadership and HR level first, and gradually trickle down along with the offerings at work.

“With this in mind, we’re responding to future generational demands by encouraging our Gen Z employees and those that we are recruiting to place an emphasis on their learning journey. This is a journey that they lead with our oversight as we want them to take charge of the direction of their career. It’s a process we find has generated higher engagement and employee satisfaction.”

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