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Attracting and retaining Generation Z talent

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to managing a multi-generational workforce. With multiple generations working alongside each other, leaders need to develop a deep understanding of what drives motivation and engagement across multiple generations to be able to create talent strategies to promote the acquisition, engagement and retention of all generations in the workplace.

Understanding the differences

Generation Z, the youngest generation of employees representing those born after 1997, are known for their entrepreneurial spirit and technological sophistication. They value earning power and the opportunity to pursue multiple career paths at once – often moving around within the organisation. Unlike millennials, Generation Z may want to try a new role within the organisation before seeking opportunities elsewhere.

They might have grown up immersed in technology and social media, but they still want face-to-face contact. In fact, this is something that they need to work effectively according to a World Economic Forum research, which found that 72 percent of Generation Z prefer face-to-face conversations. Performance management therefore should include regular meetings and a transparent relationship with their managers, who can provide regular and constructive feedback.

The same research has found that 77 percent of Generation Z workers expects to work harder than the previous generations, but they also might get bored more easily. To prevent boredom, organisations should challenge them by offering new opportunities to learn about various aspects of the business. Generation Z want to have autonomy and take ownership when they encounter an issue, so instead of micro-managing this generation, it’s more effective to give them the space to address these challenges in their own way.

Creating a unique employee value proposition

As there is no universal approach, organisations need to embrace the differences and address them separately. When defining a unique employee value proposition, it’s important to remember that this generation is more about professional and personal success. Organisations can provide a meaningful employee experience by providing opportunities for growth, learning and development, addressing their aspirations and expectations. Whilst millennials might be quick to move jobs, Generation Z is more focused on stability and they are more pragmatic and risk averse. Therefore, organisations who can show employees that they are valued and will be looked after in the long term are more likely to retain Generation Z for longer.

Many organisations are facing an additional generational challenge. Baby boomers are retiring much later, keeping their senior leadership positions for longer, forcing millennials to stall in middle-management positions, leaving them and Generation Z with a little room for upward development. Over time, when these senior leadership positions become available, organisations might struggle to fill large talent gaps with qualified employees possessing strong leadership skills. To prepare for this, organisations need to develop multigenerational management competencies to ensure these gaps can be closed.

At Acumen, we pride ourselves in offering learning solutions that help leaders and their teams to drive success, focused on practical tools to help solve real life challenges. In most cases we design the interventions specifically for each client, but we also offer a wide range of off the shelf programmes for those who prefer this approach. To find out more, please contact Simon at

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