How to engage and keep Gen Z workers in a post COVID world

With everyone across the world experiencing a dramatic change in how they live, it is no surprise the usually social and creative personalities attached to Gen Z types are struggling to be the truest version of themselves. Leading social researcher Claire Madden tells us why recruitment and staffing agencies and employers must pay more attention to the needs of this generation right now.


Leading social researcher and keynote speaker, Claire Madden, says it’s time to throw out the guidebook when talking about the needs of Gen Z as things have changed significantly under the backdrop of a global pandemic.


The Australian expert in understanding demographics, social trends and the implications of generational changes in behaviour has written numerous resources on the world views of Gen Z, a lot of which is detailed in her book, Hello Gen Z.


Her extensive studies have led her to intrinsically connect with the needs and desires of this generation which currently represent a third of the world’s population.


Claire said every element of life for this young generation was changing; from the ways they work, to how they interact with others, how they shop and spend - and it’s important to recognise all the little and major shifts in the ways they respond over the coming months and years.


Claire said this generation could really benefit from an anchor, a person or business they could trust and look up to, and one that was willing to spend time mentoring them through their period of uncertainty.


“For years we have been shaping our conversations with Gen Z to meet their psychological needs which have primarily been geared towards belongingness and love – with a particular emphasis on relationships and friendships,” Claire said. “A key theme often talked about by this group is the ability to feel enjoyment in their work – research has told us that this is often a deciding factor in choosing a prospective employer or when considering whether they will remain with a workplace.”


With the whole world experiencing a dramatic change in the ways we live, it comes as little surprise that the usually social and creative personalities attached to Gen Z types, are struggling to be the truest version of themselves.


“It’s so important that recruitment and staffing agencies and employers more generally pay attention to the needs of this group right now,” Claire said. “They are having to rethink what they value in the workplace to address more basic needs like security and safety.”


Claire believes the way to help encourage confused Gen Z employees is to first address their feelings of instability and then to reassure them with a planned approach to supporting their growth.


“For the first time Gen Z types are talking more about job security and not just job flexibility. To appeal to this mindset, recruiters could consider repositioning their callout to address the security of the opportunity which will resonate with Gen Z in the current environment.


Couple those talking points with addressing their long-term needs in working within an engaged and friendly culture and contributing to a business or sector that will have meaningful impact, and you’re more likely to attract this talent pool,” Claire said.


“Employers can’t be complacent here. While it’s great they might be able to provide a sense of stability in providing a role, eventually the social needs of these employees will remerge. If leaders invest time into planning for this eventuation, everyone will be better positioned.”


For leaders and employers, now is the time to revisit the values of the business and to get buy in from its people for a unified approach.


“I recommend making it clear how you will help these young minds learn and develop – this generation is naturally hungry to learn and to be engaged. They have grown into a world full of change and disruption and if leaders make an interest in their growth they will likely foster a culture of shared knowledge in return.


“These young people want to be mentored. They also love transferrable skills and particularly developing their soft sills like verbal communication. Learning how to communicate more effectively, building relationships and boosting confidence are all areas that will appeal to this mindset. Formal recognition has a place in keeping this group engaged but fundamentally, ensuring that they are continuing to learn will place them in a position to want to stay working within that environment.”


For more information on Claire’s expertise visit clairemadden.com and keep an eye on RCSA’s learning and development platform as Claire is a regular presenter of webinars and workshops.

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