How to Attract Gen Z to Your Workplace: 5 Tips for Every Employer
More and more Gen Z-ers (born from the late 1990s to the early 2010s) are joining the global workforce. So, employers must be able to make the workplace healthy and inspiring for them. It’s not about pampering these young professionals but about incorporating best practices that actually benefit the entire organisation. This remains crucial to every company, as experts note that the millennial- and Gen Z-driven Great Resignation isn’t over yet.
With the majority of millennials (born between the early 1980s to the late 1990s) settling into new jobs or more senior roles, it’s the turn of Gen Z employees to bring fresh ideas and strategies into the workplace. As go-getters, trendsetters, and passion-driven individuals, they have a lot to offer their chosen companies – only if these employers have workplaces ready for them.
However, it can be challenging for some companies to identify what makes their workplace favourable for these young professionals. How is this generation different from millennials? What are they looking for? Will setting up a Gen Z workplace cost a lot? Does it require a major upheaval in the company? If your company hasn’t done any considerable upgrade or evaluation in the last five years or so, some arrangements are likely in order.
Still unsure if you are ready for Gen Z in the workplace? Below is a checklist of things your organisation should prepare or double-check to attract the top Gen Z candidates.
What Gen Z Wants in the Workplace: 5 Tips for Employers
1. Go digital. If millennials are digital pioneers, Gen Z-ers are digital natives. They grew up with smartphones, computers, and the Internet, which they use to communicate, obtain information, and navigate our increasingly digital world. In fact, a 2019 Nielsen study found that 98% of Malaysia’s Gen Zs aged 18-24 are Internet-savvy, and 99% of them own a smartphone.
As such, your company should be equipped with the latest technology and digital tools to enable Gen Z employees to utilise their innate tech skills and knowledge. Utilise e-mail communication, cloud storage and systems, and online platforms relevant to their roles. Digitise HR processes or services and make them readily available to employees. Make sure they have the hardware to support all their digital tools. At first, making such big upgrades may seem costly and time-consuming. But, think of it as a timely and long-term investment that will future-proof your company. It will also allow your organisation to make a more seamless shift to digital if you haven’t transitioned yet.
Another good practice is to incorporate tech-savvy techniques during the recruitment process. These include video call interviews, posting online job ads, allowing candidates to submit requirements through digital channels, and providing hiring updates via online messaging apps. They will definitely appreciate employers who make efforts to communicate through various platforms that are familiar and convenient to them.
2. Provide constant and consistent feedback. If your company has been conducting annual appraisals or employee evaluations, that has to change. Since they are used to having information at their fingertips, Gen Z employees value real-time updates and information from their team members and managers. Therefore, they may not be inclined to wait a year to learn how they’re doing or where they stand in the company.
However, this doesn’t mean to say they’re okay with being micromanaged. Instead, companies can provide feedback once their Gen Z employees have settled in or even after they have completed a major project. More often than not, they also want to know sooner than later if they’re doing things right. This way, they can immediately adjust their performance to the demands of their role or field. This gives them more confidence in their work and capabilities, reinforcing their productivity.
3. Retain flexibility in the workplace. The pandemic has reinforced the Gen Z mindset of “work smart, not hard” – that work doesn’t have to be confined to particular hours or designated workspaces. As natural digital nomads, they can work anytime and anywhere and still turn in the output required of them.
As such, Gen Z employees greatly favour companies that provide them with flexible working options. Remote work has become the norm for the past few years due to the pandemic, and it will stay that way into the unforeseen future. So, it shouldn’t really be difficult for most employers to continue implementing flexible working hours or optional on-site work.
This flexibility also eases the hassle of commuting or the burden of additional expenses, which is a plus for most employees. In fact, a JobStreet report revealed that 68% of Malaysian respondents prefer a hybrid working arrangement. By combining the advantages of remote work with opportunities for collaboration in a physical setting, you can provide employees with an environment that boosts their job satisfaction and promotes work-life balance.
4. Promote work-life balance. Even before the pandemic happened, there have already been calls for companies across the globe to implement better work-life balance. Today, it’s a priority, especially for millennials and Gen Z-ers who are more mindful of burnout and other mental health issues. Therefore, companies incorporating these into their company culture have better chances of attracting and retaining Gen Z talent.
The pandemic has taught the global workforce to prioritise mental health and recognise the threat of burnout. As such, Malaysian employees always want to know which companies care about the well-being of their employees. Make sure to review your management strategies and see if any current policies or practices prevent employees from achieving work-life balance.
5. Provide career advancement opportunities. Last but not least, Gen Z-ers are always curious about the career development opportunities that a company has in store for them. As competitive go-getters, they tend to align job prospects with their short-term and long-term career goals. So, it’s not uncommon for Gen Z candidates to wonder: If they choose to work for your company, what skills and opportunities can you provide them?
One way to address this is by mentioning any training, upskilling, and learning opportunities that come with the role your company is offering. This makes it easier for Gen Z candidates to envision their career trajectory and professional growth in your organisation. In turn, it boosts employee retention and minimises the cost of a high turnover rate.
Creating a work environment with Gen Z in mind is an undertaking that companies across the globe must prioritise to harness the creativity, passion, and tech-savviness of the younger generation. The benefits of a Gen Z-ready workplace also extend to the rest of the employees, which makes for healthier and more positive company culture.
As we progress into an increasingly digital future, the energy and knowledge of digital natives will make the journey more smooth-sailing for companies. So, bring them in with confidence and let them work their magic!