Organizational leaders across the country are battling through the difficulties of hiring and retaining highly qualified talent in today’s employee-driven job market. With COVID recovery now in full swing, how can organizations adjust to the demands of the available workforce? 

Here are several things you can focus on, as a leader, (regardless of your industry!) to attract and retain Millennial and Gen Z talent:

Employee Engagement

Not that long ago, leaders told people what to do, and they did it. They didn’t ask many questions. When they did, most of the time, the direct answer was, “Because I’m the boss and told you to.” 

We all understand that doesn’t work anymore, and it hasn’t for several years now. Not to mention it’s terrible for company culture. Modern workers want to know why they do what they do, and it’s especially imperative for Millennial employees. When a Millennial worker asks “why,” they’re not asking because they’re questioning your authority. They’re asking because they want to understand the context. 

Understanding the “why” gains buy-in and leads to higher engagement. When our team doesn’t understand the why, the result is compliance, not engagement.  

As a leader, you want engagement. Increased engagement results in increased productivity and profitability, with the same number of employees – that’s where we all want to be.

Flexibility

To meet the demands within the new corporate culture, organizations must consider how to offer work-life balance as a selling point to attract top Millennial and Gen Z workers. Organizations that have embraced this demand and subsequently instituted a hybrid or remote option for employees have enjoyed the highest productivity and engagement rates from their workforce.

Caring, Ethical Managers

I recently spoke with a leader engaged in hiring for entry-level positions within the construction industry. He stated potential hires were looking for a new job because they felt undervalued and uncared for by their current employer. “Quality of manager” is at the top of the list in a recent Gallup poll of what younger employees seek at work. Quality, in this case, refers to leaders who are engaged, communicating with transparency and openness, and who care for and address employee well-being.

Opportunity to Make a Difference

Employers have a significant advantage in offering employees (at all levels) the opportunity to share in working to achieve something greater. We are subject to bad news cycle after bad news cycle—all day, every day. With this truism, employees are looking to change that reality and will hunt for an employer who can offer “making a positive impact” as an intrinsic organizational value.

Competitive Pay and Employee Benefits

A recent poll revealed financial security as a major concern for Millennial workers and Gen Z professionals. Combine this with the cultural demands of the Millennial-dominated workforce described above, and you can see some solutions emerging. Employers offering competitive and diverse benefits will both attract and retain talented associates. Employers who diversify compensation with family-related benefits will have a leg-up on the competition in the war for qualified associates. Child care, parental leave, and PTO are all viable selling points for job seekers today.

Interestingly, this list balances intrinsic and extrinsic variables that take both policy change and engaged leaders to implement. We can’t just offer more money than the opponent and expect to win the talent war. What other leader-intensive adaptation skills, policies, and initiatives are your organization using to develop a culture where today’s employees are thriving?

Leadership Development

Leadership development is especially critical to implement for the Gen Z and Millennial workforce.

With the average age of leaders dropping every year, many organizations are being forced to rethink leadership strategy entirely. More Millennials are entering leadership positions as senior leaders retire and as a result, we are seeing a major shift in the workforce. In fact, Millennials will make up over 75% of the workforce and leadership roles by 2025. These younger workers prioritize efficiency and quick decision-making, as well as building strong interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships, which has been sparking organizational change.

But not all change is bad, so long as we are prepared for it.

But what are you doing to prepare them for it?

Our leadership development program allows us to work with organizations (either in-person or remotely) to build the next generation of your elite leadership team. 

Contact us to get a customizable, research-based approach that ensures your rising leaders are capable of guiding transformational change while navigating the forever-evolving landscape of your field.