3 Strategies to Recruit and Retain Gen Z College Graduates

The first full class of Generation Z, the burgeoning cohort born between 1997 and 2012, graduated college this year, and these hardworking, independent individuals are looking for their first jobs. Having grown up in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis, Gen Z looks at the world differently. As children of Gen X, a generation known for its skepticism, Gen Zs inherently understand that it takes hard work to succeed—in fact, 69% believe that becoming successful has little or nothing to do with luck.

Gen Z

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The current tight labor market gives this independent new generation of workers the advantage in not only finding jobs but also being picky about the jobs they choose to accept. This puts companies in the difficult position of having to change their recruitment strategies to attract recent graduates to entry-level roles and even to adjusting their internal policies and benefits to reflect the needs of a new kind of worker.
But what are Gen Zs really looking for in their first job search? Let’s explore the top three considerations companies should make when adjusting their strategies to recruit and retain top Gen Z talent.

Personalize Every Step of the Process

Gen Z is the first fully digitally native generation. These individuals don’t know a world without the Internet, and thus, they expect the conveniences of the online world in their job searches. In the same way they crave personalization from brands seeking their business, they want to see the same personalization from a potential employer. Gen Z will not respond as well as previous generations to e-mails or generalized compensation packages.
Although these aspects of employment are time-consuming, Gen Zs may need them personalized in order to feel an opportunity is worthwhile. From the first touchpoint with a company, Gen Z applicants want to experience authenticity.
In creating personalized compensation packages, HR managers can adopt compensation technology that uses predictive analytics to create the most appealing and fair package for a candidate. Based on factors including age, role, past experience, and location, this technology can create a compensation model that may motivate an employee to take a job.
After Gen Z employees are hired, this technology can continue to personalize total rewards through industry compensation benchmarking, identifying employees who may be considered potential “flight risks,” and helping HR managers determine rewards that will motivate Gen Z engagement in the job.
For example, if an employee is getting burned out by a particularly long commute, allowing him or her to work from home on a regular basis may entice him or her to stay with the company.

Emphasize Transparent Practices

Outside of personalization, Gen Zs put serious value on transparency, and who can blame them for wanting to know they’re being paid fairly? If a company isn’t providing salary transparency, Gen Zs will take it into their own hands.
In fact, 61% say they would share their salary information with colleagues. With more than a third of U.S. workers believing their pay is based on what their manager feels they deserve to make rather than their performance, it’s particularly important for companies to show Gen Zs there is no emotional influence on their compensation packages.
One tactic is to use technology, like machine learning algorithms, to reward a candidate’s performance, taking factors such as age, gender, race, or even emotion out of the equation. Once Gen Z employees are hired, it’s important to continue this path of transparency, especially given that fewer than 1 in 10 (9%) Gen Zs feels comfortable discussing salary and compensation with managers or supervisors and, therefore, isn’t likely to speak up if he or she feels the compensation is not fair.
Providing overall reward statements, including bonuses, perks, and other benefits, can show Gen Zs the full picture of their value to a company, thus increasing their engagement, understanding of the pay structure, and feeling of transparency, as well as decreasing the chance of losing Gen Z employees.

Focus on Noncash Rewards

Fifty-eight percent of Gen Zs rank nonmonetary elements as the most important workplace benefits, proving that although equal salary is a must for Gen Zs, the number on their paychecks isn’t everything. In fact, 42% of Gen Zs listed flexible work hours or remote work options as the most important workplace benefit, ahead of options like holiday bonuses.
Noncash rewards, or perks that are not specifically financial (though they may have a monetary cost), can range from travel opportunities and box seats to team lunches or volunteer days and are immensely valued by Gen Z workers.
While Gen Z is eager to climb the ladder quickly—76% expect to be promoted within a year or 2 of starting their career— that’s just not a reality for every company, and noncash rewards are a great way to keep Gen Z employees engaged, particularly when salary increases are not possible. Perhaps more than any other generation, Gen Zs see the value of compensation packages as a whole and look beyond salary numbers when deciding to take a job and stay at one.
While it can be tough for companies both big and small to fight for the best Gen Z talent, through personalization, transparency, and noncash rewards, you can give your company the edge it needs to recruit and retain this class of graduates.

Tanya JansenMaking the link between you and beqom‘s platform is at the heart of Tanya Jansen’s day-to-day activities. Her role is to communicate what beqom can do for you and how beqom can best address your needs to help you make your people happy. Coming from SAP, Jansen spent the last 10 years defining and communicating enterprise solutions to large companies worldwide. Connect with Tanya and beqom on Twitter at: @tanya_m_jansen and @beqom_, respectively.

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