What can you do to attract and retain Generation Z? Are you prepared?
By Jacquelyn Kung
Last week, I was at a Publix supermarket in South Carolina. It was my first time at a Publix, and my cashier was amazing. Full of smiles and spunk. My guesstimate put her in her mid-20s.
I knew Publix is publicly recognized as a great place to work, so I asked my amazing cashier some questions. Here is what this randomly-discovered Millennial shared:
What’s it like working here? [In a charming southern accent] Oh it’s wonderful. I come to work, and we all really care about our customers.
How does that actually work? A pause followed by a big sweet smile: Well, I think of you as my Queen and him (pointed to my husband) as my King. I care that you are happy.
You learn that here? Oh yes, from the very beginning. I’ve been here five years.
What makes this a great place to work? Oh my gosh. So many things, we have wonderful benefits. They encourage us to grow a career here . . . If you want to work in another department, that’s available to you.
[Sidenote: Everyone always starts with perks, but the research shows it’s mostly because it’s the easiest thing to name first. Also: notice the “they” verb for management . . . trust in management is key to being a great workplace culture.]
You get the point: this is what an engaged Millennial who has stayed at Publix for FIVE YEARS sounds like.
Here are the main takeaways for senior living:
She has PRIDE in her work.
She TRUSTS her management.
She has CAMARADERIE with others across her store.
Gen Z is Here
We are still working on figuring out the Millennial generation and Generation Z (born on or after 2000) that are starting to apply for work at our communities.
Population experts project this will be an even BIGGER generation than Millennials. It’s a generation that grew up with terrorist and school shooter threats. They see their older siblings and cousins leaving school with mountains of debt.
Three things about Generation Z:
Like Millennials, they want a meaningful career. But they want stability.
They are more financially conservative than Millennials. Having stability in pay is better.
Unlike Millennials who remember dial-up internet, Gen Z grew up on wifi and all manner of technology.
Attract and Retain Generation Z
We will write more on this topic over time, but here are three takeaways about attracting and retaining those from Generation Z (ages 16 and 17 today) to our communities:
Even if you hire them on as junior servers, make it a career-focused discussion during your 90-day, 3 months, and one-year check-ins. Make sure they know that you’d love to mentor them to take a meaningful role in admin, accounting, general services, nursing, and other departments.
Make your roles more entrepreneurial/innovation oriented. Do you have a project that requires implementing technology? Offer it to a promising Gen Z-er as a side project.
When you discuss career pathing with a Gen Z employee, make sure to highlight the financial stability of being with your organization. Senior care is one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S., and closures outside SNFs are rare: they will gain a lot of stability with a career in our industry.
Any other thoughts? Please leave your comments below!