Tips for Hiring & Retaining Gen-Z Employees

Three things to know about Gen-Z employees is that they're all about individuality, they're selective, and they think & act fast. To recruit and retain them create a strong company culture, and challenge them without overworking them.

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Gen-Z has entered the workforce, and it’s only going to become more obvious in the coming years. According to Gallup, Millennials and Gen-Z combined make up 46% of the full-time workforce. Just as everyone finally started to understand the trends with Millennial workers, now Gen-Z is coming in with a new perspective of the professional world that will definitely cause a bit of a disruption. 

So, here’s what we’ll cover today:

Three things to know about Gen-Z employees:

1. They’re all about individuality

As 92% of this generation has a digital footprint, this generation was born social. The Gen-Z population likes to be more of a unique asset to the team they’re joining, rather than just a cog in the company. When they’re looking for a new employer, they seek out unique companies based on their office environment, mission, or culture. They might also tend to prefer more solo work and private spaces versus teamwork and collaboration.


2. They’re more selective than other generations

Gen-Z job seeks put a lot of emphasis on a company’s culture and mission. They are selective in the sense that they will only get behind brands that they feel good about supporting through their own work. Gen-Z job seekers will quickly drop any opportunity that doesn’t align with their values, as they see the company they work for as an extension of their own personal brand.


3. They think fast & act fast

While the average Millennial has an attention span of approximately 12 seconds, Gen-Z is even less than that with an average of approximately 8 seconds. But a better way of looking at this would be to say that Gen-Z actually has “eight-second filters.” They’ve grown up with technology at their fingertips, and have adapted to quickly sorting through and assessing massive amounts of information. Once something demonstrates attention worthiness, Gen-Z can become intensely committed and focused.

Tips for Recruiting & Retaining Gen-Z Employees

Create & maintain a strong company culture.

No, seriously. Company culture is one of the strongest recruiting and retention tools you have in your tool box. And no, we’re not talking about the flashy tactics of having an on-site game room, or fun company outings. You’ve got to go above and beyond those tactics and focus on what the company’s mission is.

To do this you’ll want to create a set of core values that represents your company’s mission, then practice what you preach. This will allow for your employees to become more engaged and move beyond just being their position when they feel a connection to the mission and the culture.


Develop clear and fast-moving career tracks.

As we discussed early, Gen-Zers think quickly. Providing them a distinct career track with clear direction on how to advance to each level will help keep them focused. Along with this, offering professional development opportunities that help employees advance in their career tracks and helps them build other skills they may need or want.

You could also consider restructuring your promotion and incentive programs that give employees smaller, more incremental promotions and salary raises. This would lead to more consistent positive reinforcement and closer goals that make them want to stay. 

Gen-Zers, along with Millennials, are more likely to change their mind and/or crave different experiences. By creating ways young employees can explore other career tracks without leaving the company, you will give them the freedom and opportunity to experience a variety of business capacities and are then more prepared to choose which track they want to stick with.


Provide benefits that allow flexibility.

Flexibility is the name of the game for Gen-Z. Consider giving your employees a hybrid or remote option, or flexible schedules/hours. Another great benefit to consider is floating holidays - especially as the workforce continues to become more diverse. You could also consider restructuring your PTO so that employees are more autonomous and responsible for their work. Another great thing to think about (*cough*cough* for college grads), is a tuition reimbursement program to increase retention and build leaders internally.


And finally…

Challenge them without overworking them.

Boredom and stress are equally common factors for driving young professionals out of a workplace. Make sure they aren’t bored with the ease of tasks, but also don’t overwork them. Challenging an employee and overworking (and generally underpaying them) are two completely different things.

Also, allow for your younger employees to be involved in bigger, higher-level projects and discussions. This will provide them with meaningful learning opportunities, and create goals that stretch their capabilities but are attainable.