How to retain Gen Z employees

Understand why Gen Z and millennial employees are quitting their jobs – and how to make them stay

Why millennials and Gen Z are quitting their jobs

Why millennials and Gen Z are quitting their jobs

When employees returned to their jobs after the pandemic, it was a different world that they came back to. And after months, and in some cases years, of disruption, they started rethinking their priorities.

Job market research post-pandemic shows significant new trends which are reshaping the workplace and the careers of the people in it. Millennials and Gen Z, who are rapidly reaching the point where they represent a third of the global workforce, are leading the change.

According to Bankrate's 2023 jobseeker survey, 78% of Gen Z and 61% of millennial workers are likely to search for a new job in the next 12 months. Fifty-five per cent of Gen Z and 57% of Millennials are planning to ask for a raise. And over half of millennials (51%) and 61% of Gen Z employees plan to seek greater job flexibility.

It's partly that lack of flexibility that's alienating younger workers: 38% of Gen Z-ers polled in a survey by NinjaOne said that having to work in an office five days a week is one of the biggest roadblocks to finding their dream job.

Stress is also a major factor in the post-pandemic workforce, with money worries, overwork and burnout featuring highly in reasons for quitting. No surprise then, that people are weighing up their options: while 65% of workers overall say they've spent more time evaluating their work/life balance, this rises to 71% for Gen Z and 73% for the millennial generation. So how can organisations find – and keep – these valuable young employees?

Untangle work with Workplace

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Recruiting millennials and Gen Z

Recruiting millennials and Gen Z

With so many Gen Z and Millennials leaving or planning to leave their jobs, finding the right candidates who are likely to stay in their new roles is tougher than ever. Attracting the best people early in their careers, or straight from education, means employers are having to raise their game to meet the requirements of a generation that knows what it wants and has plenty of choice. There are several ways in which employers can attract the best talent around:

Make it quick

This generation expects a fast-track process from responding to an outreach or job ad to receiving an offer or feedback, often looking to wrap the process up within a fortnight. Employers need to bear this in mind, especially where they have a preferred candidate.

Offer hybrid and remote working

Both Gen Z and millennial employees value flexibility about when they need to be onsite. But there's a generational split, with only 27% of Gen Z-ers looking for a fully remote role compared to 49% of millennials. So it's important to offer a range of options.

Be clever with creative recruiting tools

Knowing that their work will be supported by the most up-to-date and responsive tech is a big plus for Gen Z and millennials. Showing your tech has got what it takes by being innovative in the recruiting processes gives them the reassurance they look for. Technology offers creative ways to advertise, interview and process applicants, including AR/VR and video, and a multi-channel approach will score highly with applicants.

Keep it real

Millennials and Gen Z are highly focused on authenticity, both as individuals, and in terms of the products, services and people they choose to engage with. This is reflected in their choice of employer. Showing a commitment to positive values, such as diversity, equity and inclusion, and environmental and social issues, can be a deciding factor for candidates.

Personalise your package

Younger people are looking for experiences targeted at them. Asking candidates about their interests can help organisations offer tailored benefits packages to appeal to each individual.

Encourage referrals

Employee referrals are a top jobseeker source. So it makes sense to keep all your current employees in the loop about any job vacancies or recruitment drives. Offering rewards for referrals will keep employees ready and willing to recommend the company to friends and ex-coworkers.

Make a great start

Millennials expect to have a great experience from day one. For instance, the vast majority (94%) say a positive IT onboarding experience is "very important" or "somewhat important" to them, according to one survey. Introduce your new hire to the team and consider assigning them a buddy to guide them through their first weeks with the organisation.

How to retain Gen Z and millennial employees: Twelve top tips

How to retain Gen Z and millennial employees: Twelve top tips

1. Look at pay and benefits

The rising cost of living has pushed money worries to the forefront for even the youngest members of the workforce. In a competitive market, and where employees feel less loyal to a particular employer, they'll move to the companies which offer the most in terms of pay and perks.

2. Focus on engagement

Lack of employee engagement affects all working generations, but it's particularly acute among Gen Z and younger millennials born in 1989 or later. According to Gallup, 54% of this group are not engaged with work, while 15% are actively disengaged. To counter this, organisations need to take steps to create a positive company culture.

3. Be aware of burnout

Younger workers' vulnerability to stress and burnout has a direct impact on engagement. And with 68% of Gen Z and younger millennials, and 63% of older millennials, experiencing stress, workplace well-being is something no employer can ignore.

4. Spotlight progression

Not surprisingly, younger workers are eager to climb the career ladder, so companies need to provide clear learning and career progression opportunities. Make upskilling and reskilling a regular part of any role, and be ready to shape an employee's career path to suit them, as well as the company.

5. Give guidance

Give younger employees the support they need to help them progress and enjoy their work. Provide access to mentoring and coaching, both within and from outside the company.

6. Don't forget the fun

Create time and space for people to socialise together, whether in person or virtually. Fun team-building experiences can also help cement those all-important social bonds.

7. Make your site work for employees

Maximise the on-site experience by providing access to facilities such as gyms and fitness suites, well-being services, restaurants and coffee rooms, games rooms or just chill-out spaces.

8. Highlight impact and purpose

PwC says that, of workers who say they're likely to change jobs, only 47% find their jobs fulfilling. And they're less likely to say they can truly be themselves at work than employees who are planning to stay. Creating an equitable workplace, with clear values and mission, can help provide the sense of purpose employees need.

9. Monitor job satisfaction and act on feedback

Provide regular opportunities for employees to feed back on their experience of work and act on what they contribute. Be open about monitoring and make sure that it's a truly two-way process between employees and the company.

10. Foster respect and transparency

The younger generation of workers expect to feel safe, valued and respected as individuals, and through their work. Be open and honest, keep promises and lead by example.

11. Nurture the entrepreneur

Gen Z and Millennial employees prioritise self-direction and autonomy. Given enough freedom, they can contribute new visions and initiatives which inspire others, boost engagement and can often spark new developments and an increase in productivity.

12. Personalise the experience

Jobs need to be tailored to each person, taking into account their preferences, talents and skills, personality types and expectations. Treating each employee as a valued individual will engender trust and build loyalty, encourage referrals, and reduce burnout and staff turnover.

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