How to Attract and Retain Gen Z Talent in a Tight Labor Market
Competing for and securing top talent is more difficult than ever, as job seekers benefit from a buyer’s market and low unemployment across the nation. Retailers are faced with the increasingly complex challenge of attracting and retaining the newest top talent while also keeping a multigenerational workforce happy. This requires flexibility around creating solutions to improve employee experiences for all ages. Positive employee experiences are vital to retailers’ success because they not only improve retention, but also customer experiences. Ninety-five percent of employees agree the employee experience affects the customer experience, which ultimately impacts business success.
What Gen Z Workers Want
The latest employee experience challenge for businesses is finding ways to appeal to the newest crop of workers — Generation Z — as they transition into the workforce. For Gen Z, the success of retention efforts cannot solely be predicated on compensation or benefits. Their employee experience, including all dimensions of training, positively impacts employee commitment. When searching for a new job, 88 percent of Gen Z employees indicate that formal training programs are important. Furthermore, Gen Z workers are the most likely (44 percent) to say they would leave their current employer if they weren't offered training to learn new skills.
While training is instrumental to retaining Gen Z workers, it’s important to note that not all forms and methods of training are created equal. While instructor-led, in-person training is favored among all age groups, a full 40 percent of Gen Z staff cited it as their preference for employee training. Incorporating a digital element is also important; 30 percent of staff favor a blend of in-person and digital learning, while 15 percent prefer everything to be exclusively digital. The focus on incorporating digital experiences into the workplace is growing. Approximately 60 percent of employees believe technology such as artificial intelligence will help make their work easier.
Aligning Employers and Employees for Success
This digitally savvy group of new entrants into the labor force is excited and hungry to learn. Consider that 94 percent of Gen Z workers feel the most motivated when they learn something new on the job. However, there’s a notable disconnect between younger staff and management. More than one in three (35 percent) employees feel their employer doesn't take the time to get to know them and accurately understand their skills gaps or the training areas that would be most beneficial to helping them advance in their roles.
Gen Z employees are also worried that even asking for training will prevent them from advancing in their positions; 42 percent have actively avoided asking their employers for training as a result. Even if training is offered, managers need to be fully on board. A quarter of employees haven't participated in training programs because they felt their managers didn't think it was important. While managers may not find this to be an immediate cause for concern, a supervisor's support is consistently ranked as one of the core drivers of job satisfaction.
Creating access to training programs and aligning management objectives to encourage and support employees who seek out training — particularly among younger Gen Z workers — is critical to the continued success of brands. This is especially true in today's tight labor market, where employers are already facing strong competition for workers. It’s more important than ever to make sure employee experiences are positive and support workers’ development. Doing this improves employee retention across all age groups, grows customer satisfaction, and supports the bottom line.
Aaron Schwarzberg is chief operating officer of Learning Tribes (part of the Sitel Group), a global learning and development organization with the mission of empowering teams to deliver the best possible customer experience through customized and innovative learning solutions for greater engagement and development.
Aaron Schwarzberg is Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Learning Tribes (part of the Sitel Group), a global learning and development organization with the mission of empowering teams to deliver the best possible customer experience through customized and innovative learning solutions for greater engagement and development.
Schwarzberg is responsible for the efficiency, effectiveness, and quality of LT’s learning solutions delivery in addition to strategic partnerships and new client acquisition. Aaron also designs and implements business systems and processes, while expanding the Learning Tribes team with an intentional focus on culture and client outcomes.
A strategic leader and collaborative driver in the L&D/eLearning space, Aaron brings over 10 years of expertise in leading global operations, client services and corporate partnerships for EdTech corporations. Throughout his professional career, he has worked closely, and extensively, with a myriad of senior leaders (CEOs, CLOs, presidents and provosts) helping them to understand the internal learning needs of their respective organizations as well as the needs of their end-users.
Prior to joining Sitel Group, Aaron served as the EVP of Global Operations for dialogEDU, a learning management system company. In this role, he oversaw the expansion of the organization to include 1,000,000+ platform users in 162 countries.
Aaron holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Denver, a JD from Nova Southeastern University, and an MBA from New England College.