How to attract, retain, and develop Gen Z talent

Written by Shay Reifert, intern working with the corporate marketing and communications team
Previously published by PSI Talent Management or Cubiks, prior to becoming Talogy.

Generation Z is taking the workforce by storm. But as each generation becomes more different than the last, how can employers best accommodate different generations in the workplace? Well, it depends on who you ask. There are many articles, studies, and blog posts out there written by members of every generation detailing the best ways to welcome this new generation into the workforce.

In reading, I found the descriptions of Gen Zers vary greatly from one author to the next. As a result, opinions on how to attract, retain, and develop Gen Z differ, too. As the largest and most diverse generation yet, they make up almost thirty percent of the population. With its oldest members graduating college in 2020, the impact in the workforce will continue to grow. Generation Zers are the first digitally native generation, having never lived without the world wide web and grown up with information and technology at the tip of their fingers.
The stereotypes for Gen Z – while some may be accurate – cannot begin to encompass the diverse group of individuals that make it up. So as a Gen Zer myself, I hope to offer a summation of both research and experience as an insight into Generation Z in the workplace and what they will expect from their employer. The five greatest takeaways I found that Gen Z values are:

1. Job Security

As a generation that grew up in the wake of a recession with ever-increasing rates of higher education, and now moving into the workforce post-pandemic, Generation Z wants to feel secure in their work.

Read more on the importance of job security for both the employee and employer here.

2. Positive Work Environment

Although Gen Z is known as the digital generation, the majority of them prefer to work face to face. They want a collaborative and team-friendly environment that relies on human interaction. Positive workplace surroundings are also contingent upon low stress, and almost half of Generation Zers say that their performance at work is personally impacted by stressful surroundings.

Jaclyn Menendez, PhD and Senior Consultant at PSI, shares insight into cultivating a positive work environment:

“A psychological concept known as person-organization fit is perhaps the most crucial. The basic idea behind this theory is that a person needs to have fundamental compatibility with their organization, and when this occurs, both the person and the organization tend to benefit. Since a company can’t appeal to all people in all ways, it’s important for an organization to have clear policies and philosophies. This allows them to attract the right kind of employees for their specific culture and provide a space for those people to thrive.”

3. Work-life Balance

Close to forty percent of Gen Zers consider work-life balance as the largest factor when choosing an employer. Work-life balance extends beyond hours worked each week. Gen Zers want employers that support them in creating a well-rounded life both inside and outside the office.

4. Clear and Timely Feedback

Although Gen Zers are generally optimistic about their future, they are anxious about their ability to be a successful employee, with over a third of them considering their anxiety to be a major barrier to success. Offering clear and timely feedback helps to bridge the gap between employee and leader and helps to clarify expectations.

Alissa Parr, PhD and Director of Talent Solutions at PSI, weighs in on the importance of feedback:

“Providing real-time feedback not only provides them with insights into how they are doing and what they can do to improve, thereby making them a better employee, but it also creates a culture of openness between the manager and employee. This facilitates greater engagement in the employee because they know the manager is invested in them.”

5. Value Alignment

As the workforce shifts, more and more power is placed in the hands of the employee. Generation Zers are outspoken and solid in their values and look to work in an environment that shares the same values they do individually.

Learn more about the importance of developing values and their impact on cultural fit.

To attract, develop, and retain Gen Z, it is important to consider the workplace characteristics that they are looking for. As a generation that is well educated, strong willed, technologically savvy, and diverse, we have much to offer to the workplace. The ability to welcome and understand the next generation helps to create a cycle that emphasizes individuality and collaboration in every workplace environment for generations to come.

Hiring for cultural fit

What you need to know to get started

Organizations are increasingly turning to the concept of “culture fit” for successful recruiting and hiring. Ensuring that new hires have values and beliefs that align with those of the existing organizational culture can be even more important than skills, qualifications, and experience when it comes to successful hiring decisions.

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