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Are young people indifferent to businesses' efforts to attract them?

As anyone with an interest in current affairs will know, Generation Z (also known as “Zoomers”) has entered the job market over the last few years, following on from Generation Y.

The media describes this new generation as demanding and unwilling to compromise, warning businesses that they urgently need to reorganise and rethink how they operate. Bowing to the demands of Zoomers appears to be the only option companies have if they want to attract young people and maximise recruitment. But should we even be talking about engagement?

How does Generation Z view work?

Today, people no longer see work as an end in itself. It’s a means to an end, a way of securing the important things in life. There is nothing excessive about Generation Z’s expectations. In fact, they’re quite simple, and they’re nothing new: Zoomers want to have free time, be well paid and work for an ethical organisation.

Work is still just as important to them, but it’s no longer the only thing that defines them; there is more to their identity than just their job. Work now has to share this space with their family, their hobbies, their social life, the causes they support, etc.

It also has to integrate the notion of flexibility, to meld more easily with employees’ preferences and personal constraints. This flexibility encompasses a variety of aspects such as hours, location, working time and arrangements for leave.

It enables individual employees to find a balance between their professional responsibilities and their personal commitments, while leaving them more freedom and autonomy in how they perform their tasks.

Is Generation Z loyal?

People from this generation don’t view loyalty in the same way their predecessors did, because they don’t just see a company as a place of work; it’s a part of their life that enables them to develop and widen their skills, they are more interested in fulfilling several different roles at the same time.

Some may interpret this as them being disloyal or not engaged in the organisation, but for Generation Z, work is more about meaning and opportunities for professional and personal development. It is worth adding that young people’s loyalty is better described as collective or social; they are loyal to the team rather than to the company itself.

Zoomers are devoted to the group they identify with; people who share their convictions and aspirations.

What are the keys to retaining Gen Z staff?

Studies have identified several factors that can play an essential role in developing engagement among this generation:

  • Salary. Pay remains an important factor in engagement and employees’ relationship to work, in particular as regards loyalty and their desire stay with a company. It is often cited as a factor of employee retention.
  • Communicating the company’s values and objectives via two-way information flows.
  • Opportunities for skills development. When a business offers an employee opportunities to develop their skills, they feel supported by their employer, adding an emotional aspect to their engagement. In addition, the concept of “continuous professional development” enables individuals to learn and develop.
  • The fulfilment of “basic psychological needs” – autonomy, competence and a sense of belonging.
  • Recognition from their manager. Employers can show their recognition in a range of ways, both financial and non-financial (congratulations, encouragement, bonuses, etc.). These can help to form an emotional engagement and ongoing commitment.
  • An ethical environment. An organisation that projects a strong ethical policy is seen as honest and fair. Workers are more likely to commit to staying long-term.

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