Every industry reaches the point where they must welcome the next generation of employees into the workplace. Adjusting to changes in work environments, accommodating new technologies and meeting evolving customer expectations present significant challenges for employers. But attracting the next wave of talent and keeping them motivated and productive introduces an additional layer of challenge.

Young employees can inject enthusiasm and adaptability into workplaces. They are also the first generation of “digital natives,” professionals who grew up with the internet, social media and smartphones. However, their comfort with the trappings of the digital age is just the surface layer of their differences from past generations. Attracting and retaining them requires attention to nuances and subtleties that characterize their culture.

Growth, Development & Career Paths

Job candidates are concerned about more than earning a living, with recent surveys showing that Gen Z workers are overly focused on job security and prioritize high starting wages.

For quite some time, younger employees have also found value in opportunities to learn new, marketable skills and to work in jobs that allow them to advance their careers. If they find a competing job offer that meets their career advancement needs, they will not hesitate to make a move. This desire to keep moving into more advanced roles will drive interest in continuously learning and honing skills.

Vision & Mission Matter

Despite their focus on career development, younger job seekers are not blindly ambitious. They tend to want to work for companies that stand for something beyond simply turning a profit and controlling their bottom line. Companies that incorporate a socially conscious mission or have a strongly stated and well-defined vision as the basis for what they do attract younger candidates,

The Social Aspect

Social media has quickly become a dominant source of employer information for the generations now entering the workforce. Posts on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and TikTok significantly increase awareness about a company or brand, and employees taking their first uncertain steps in the professional world take to social media and find them. Posts, especially if they contain video, make candidates much more likely to be familiar with a company and increase the chances they will view that company favorably.

Flexibility & Work/Life Balance

Employees now expect employers to be flexible with schedules and remote/onsite work environments. They also appreciate sensitivity to childcare or educational responsibilities outside of work. Employers who make such accommodations often find themselves at a competitive advantage to others in their industry who are less flexible.

Mentorships & Communication

Often, young hires are inexperienced at acclimating to both the demands contained in a job description and the unwritten rules and customs of a workplace. This is where mentors come in. Companies can avoid giving up on talented young people too soon by pairing them with experienced employees. These “seasoned veterans” can serve the dual purpose of helping the new hire learn their job and how to mesh well with the people in and culture of the workplace.

It is also helpful to create an environment in which “there are no dumb questions,” which aids new employees in quickly getting up to speed without being made to feel self-conscious, which can slow their growth.

Setting The Stage For Smooth Transitions To The Workforce is Wise

Employers who take time to structure an environment which is both comfortable and welcoming to new employees can create an environment that helps encourage their successful onboarding and integration, particularly those for whom the job is their first foray into the professional world.

It is also key for employers to develop a sensitivity to the culture and traits the newest generation of professionals brings to the workplace and make reasonable accommodations to attract and retain them.