How companies can attract, and retain Gen Z talent in the workplace
HR and business leaders have a lot to gain from harnessing the strengths of their workforce and this is especially true for their Gen Z employees.
A whitepaper published by global staffing agency Adecco Group Foundation shows that individuals from Generation Z demonstrate decisive, high-quality thinking, a default to action, and stronger leadership traits than many of today’s corporate leaders.
The study assessed 2,600 Gen Z individuals through an array of psychometric tests and found them to have a strong skill set in technical and learning behaviours which result in thorough and accurate outputs.
Employees from this generation were also found to have an aptitude for strategic thinking functions and display an ability to take action in a planned manner.
Global Candidate Assessment Lead at the Adecco Group, Mark Whitehead, said: “None of us entered the workforce as fully rounded leaders –and even today’s executive leaders would benefit from some of Gen Z’s attributes,”
He adds, “Companies that recognise and capitalise on the synergies between generations – and those that nurture lifelong learning and provide constant skills development for their workforce – will have a tremendous competitive advantage.”
Business, HR, and managers in with a recruiting function should understand that Gen Z candidates may have taken non-traditional paths in their education and upskilling.
Therefore, companies must ensure its selection process focuses on the qualities the organisation really needs and must also objectively assess candidates’ potential.
Leaders should shift their thinking and embrace the idea that some of the talented people they recruit from this generation may not come with the typical credential profile.
In fact, a candidate’s potential is a more reliable parameter to consider, compared to the applicants’ school, university, or the subject of their qualifications.
Leaders have a renewed responsibility to offer an equal opportunity for candidates from less privileged backgrounds to demonstrate their potential.
The whitepaper also advises leaders to “utilise a range of diverse entry-level programmes like apprenticeships and internships, in addition to more traditional graduate-entry programmes as this will provide opportunities for all of tomorrow’s leaders to get a chance to prove their value.
Additionally, business leaders need to develop strategies to harness a strong work ethic, strategic thinking, and exceptional drive in a psychologically safe environment while helping this generation to build resilience and manage setbacks.
In order to retain Gen Z talent, organisations must focus on training and development.
Leaders must also provide this cohort with sufficient opportunities to gain experiences that will recognise them for their contributions and put them in the running for promotions.
Business leaders must offer ongoing learning, vocational training, reskilling, and upskilling to ensure there are constant development opportunities for Gen Z.
There is also a growing need to create a work environment that encourages learning through failure. Business leaders also need to create opportunities for their employees, particularly those from Gen Z to “experiment with low-impact, moderate risk activities and ensure they record their lessons learned from the failures as well as from the successes.
Business leaders are encouraged to create a leadership culture that values ideas from all levels and generations within the business.
As Gen Z thrives from support in the workplace, it is important to develop mentoring programmes for Gen Z to help them with the areas they struggle with.
Leaders can also consider creating a ‘shadow board’, which is a formal body of younger leaders that can bring new thinking and energy to the strategic direction of the business.
Ultimately, leaders have a strong responsibility to create an environment that allows Gen Z to express their real strengths.
This can be achieved by investing in “mechanisms to build a culture of feedback, meaningful boundaries and values, and also create opportunities for this generation to thrive alongside their colleagues.