Experts: What Do Businesses Need To Do To Retain Gen Z Workers?

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The past few years have seen a great shift in the job market and the formation of a major gap between the work ethics and values of older generations versus those of Gen Z employees. One major contributor to this shift is the rise in online and hybrid job opportunities that make job-hopping and quiet-quitting practices much easier to participate in.

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Workplace retention varies greatly among the generations. For example, baby boomers stay at a job for an average of eight years and three months, according to Forbes. Gen X will stay a little over five years at a job, millennials for two years and nine months and Gen Z for two years and three months. While Gen Z is the newest generation to start working, they are the most digitally connected generation searching for instant gratification in the workforce. If they don’t feel immediate rewards from their place of employment, they are likely to pack up and leave after a brief period. 

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In light of this data, let’s take a look at some of Gen Z’s workplace priorities and how employers can retain this difficult-to-tie-down generation.

Gen Z Is Looking For Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Environmental Consciousness

While Gen Z is looking for satisfaction and benefits from their place of work, they are not only looking for monetary rewards. Gen Z also seeks out companies that align with their values and have a meaningful impact. Gen Zers can be seen leaving companies in the gas and oil industries and gravitating to companies that minimize their environmental impact. They are also prioritizing workplaces that emphasize diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) principles. 

According to a recent study conducted by Tallo, 67% of Gen Z workers have witnessed discrimination or bias based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender in the workplace. Sixty-nine percent of the Gen Zers surveyed reported that they are “absolutely” more likely to apply to a job at a company that prioritizes a racially and ethnically diverse workplace in the recruitment process. 

How Employers Can Retain Gen Z Workers

With so many young professionals prioritizing DEI and environmental ethics, let’s find out how businesses can make changes to retain their Gen Z employees. 

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Listen To Gen Z Employees

A critical part of making changes to your business to make it more Gen Z-friendly is by listening to the audience you are trying to appeal to. 

“In addition to offering flexible work arrangements and aligning with Gen Z values, companies should also make an effort to understand and communicate with Gen Z employees,” said Emma Salveson, founder of The Hub Events, an HR and management company. “This can be achieved through regular check-ins and feedback sessions, as well as providing opportunities for open and honest communication. By taking the time to listen to Gen Z employees and understand their perspectives, companies can create a workplace that is more attractive to this generation.”

Establish a Robust Onboarding Process

If Gen Z employees don’t feel valued or important during the onboarding process, they are likely to leave. By creating an interactive and thorough onboarding process, you can retain this generation from the get-go.

“Businesses should include a robust onboarding process that makes it clear what they are expected to accomplish,” said Kimberley Tyler-Smith, an executive at Resume Worded, a career tech platform. “They should also avoid treating them like children or assuming they will be bored by repetitive tasks. Give them autonomy over their own projects and responsibilities. Not only will this make them feel valued and important, but it also gives them a chance to stretch their wings and try new things.”

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Offer a Remote or Hybrid Work Setting

Gen Z employees value hard work, but they also value productivity and cutting fuel costs. In other words, offering a remote or hybrid work setting will help Gen Z employees feel more comfortable and is an important step in helping this generation have a positive experience in the workplace. 

At the end of the day, it’s the quality of work that matters, not where it happens, and as this generation appreciates workplace flexibility the most, this touch will go a long way in holding on to employees.

Create a Company Culture That Emphasizes Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

A key change that businesses need to make to retain Gen Z employees is implementing a DEI committee and working to create a genuine culture of diversity. This generation cares about social and political issues, and working in an environment where their diversity is valued is non-negotiable for Gen Zers. 

Employers should offer educational opportunities for all employees to learn about diversity and inclusion and establish policies that prohibit discrimination in the workplace. 

Give Gen Zers Meaningful Work

Retaining Gen Z employees means giving this generation work that is meaningful and makes them feel valued. This might include offering volunteer work opportunities, sustainability initiatives and ways to get involved in local or global causes. 

By giving this generation a sense of purpose, businesses can successfully engage with and retain this vital population of the workforce.

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About the Author

Maddie Duley is a content intern for ConsumerTrack writing about finances for GOBankingRates. She is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in communication and design from the University of California Davis.
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