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Everything You Need to Know About Hiring and Retaining Gen Z Talent Here's what you need to know about Gen Z's needs, values and desires — and a few tips on how to attract and retain Gen Z talent.

By Doug Walner Edited by Chelsea Brown

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As the oldest members of Generation Z enter the workforce, business leaders are faced with a new set of challenges in attracting, hiring and retaining this demographic. Gen Z is expected to make up 20.7% of the workforce by 2025 and 33.4% by 2030. This generation represents a highly diverse and well-educated cohort with unique needs and values that differ significantly from those of previous generations.

In order to successfully recruit and optimize Gen Z talent, business leaders must have a clear understanding of this demographic and its unique characteristics. Below are some insights on Gen Z and a few tips on how to recruit and retain Gen Z talent:

Related: 7 Things to Know Before You Manage a Gen Z Team

Who is Gen Z?

To effectively understand Gen Z, it is important to recognize the unique experiences and values that have shaped their worldview. Born between 1997 and 2012, Gen Z is the most diverse, tech-savvy and educated generation to date. Gen Z is characterized by a strong sense of individuality and a desire to make a positive impact on the world. They are socially conscious and politically aware, and they value diversity and equality among different groups. They are also more entrepreneurial and are more likely to start their own businesses compared to previous generations.

Members of this generation have grown up in a world of rapid technological change and globalization. They have also experienced a number of significant cultural and economic shifts, leading them to be practical, financially savvy and resourceful. They are highly connected, informed and inclusive, with a deep commitment to social and environmental causes. Additionally, Gen Z is characterized by a high level of ambition, drive and entrepreneurial spirit.

Related: What Gen Z Wants Their Managers to Understand in 2023

Recruiting and hiring Gen Z

When it comes to attracting and hiring Gen Z talent, it is important to understand the key factors that are important to this demographic. These include:

  1. Flexibility: The older Gen Zers had just begun entering the workforce when the global pandemic hit in 2020, so these individuals have a very different idea of a "normal" work schedule than that of older generations. Gen Z is highly interested in finding a job that allows them to balance their work and personal lives, which means offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote and hybrid work, and even less traditional work hours.

  2. Technology and innovation: Gen Z is highly tech-savvy and values the use of technology in the workplace. Companies that are able to incorporate the latest technologies and encourage innovation will be most appealing to this demographic.

  3. Purpose and values alignment: As mentioned, Gen Z is highly motivated by the desire to make a positive impact on the world. Therefore, they value employers who provide opportunities to be involved in the community and support various causes. Companies that prioritize sustainability, diversity and inclusion will be most successful in attracting this demographic.

  4. Growth and development opportunities: Most Gen Zers in the workforce have never held a job prior to the one they are at. A first job is mostly about gaining experience and building skill sets so that they can move up the corporate ladder. Gen Zers seek opportunities for personal and professional growth when it comes to finding a job and want to know there is room to grow.

Related: Gen Z Is Looking For These 5 Things in a Job and Career

Retaining and optimizing Gen Z talent

Once you have successfully attracted Gen Zers to your workplace, it is important to create a culture that supports their continued growth and engagement. To retain Gen Z talent and make the most of their contributions, business leaders must:

  1. Foster a sense of purpose and connection: Appeal to Gen Z's desire to make a positive impact, and establish an inclusive workplace culture that emphasizes their values. Gen Zers want to know and feel like they are a valuable part of an aligned team, and that their contributions are appreciated. Companies should actively seek out ways to connect their employees with the purpose and impact of their work, including embodying the company's core values into daily motivations.

  2. Provide opportunities for growth: Gen Z values personal and professional growth and seeks out employers who provide opportunities for learning, development and advancement. Companies should invest in employee training and development programs, as well as provide opportunities for professional advancement.

  3. Encourage collaboration and innovative thinking: Gen Z values collaboration, as well as being encouraged to think outside the box. Companies should foster a culture of teamwork, encourage open communication and provide opportunities for employees to share their ideas and insights. It's also important to understand and take into account different communication styles and how they affect a team's ability to work together.

  4. Prioritize work-life balance: In addition to initiatives such as flexible schedules and paid time off, companies can do more to prioritize work-life balance. Gen Zers value mental health and well-being, and they are especially fond of workplaces that have procedures in place to support them. This can be as simple as checking in with employees regularly for honest, non-work-related discussions, encouraging and showing interest in their hobbies outside of work and giving praise for a job well done.

Business leaders who understand how to optimize Gen Z talent will be well-positioned to succeed in today's rapidly changing business environment. By recognizing the unique characteristics of this demographic and leveraging their strengths, businesses can build a talented and engaged workforce that will help drive their success for years to come. To be successful, business leaders must have a deep understanding of Gen Z and its unique needs, values and preferences, and they must be proactive in creating a workplace culture that supports and nurtures this demographic.

Doug Walner

CEO of align

Doug Walner is the CEO of Align Technologies Corp. Doug has led companies for over 25 years across several industries including human capital management, aviation, media, and consumer goods. Doug served as CEO of PSI Services LLC, Co-CEO of Stamps.com, and Chief Commercial Officer of Row 44.

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