July 18, 2018 – Business leaders are concerned about their ability to attract and retain Millennials and Gen Z workers, and the impact of failing to do so, according to a new report from talent solutions provider Allegis Group. Compounding the problem, said the study, few businesses are doing much to improve their results.
Forty-nine percent of the more than 1,000 senior-level human resources decision makers surveyed for the study said they are concerned with their organizations’ ability to attract and retain the current and coming generational groups. And 62 percent believe that issues with attracting and retaining them may lead to negative business impact. This impact could be felt in several areas, including slow company growth, limitations on productivity, obstacles to achieving business goals, curbs on innovation and costly hiring cycles, said the report, which is titled ‘Employers, It’s Time to Grow Up: Engaging the Millennial and Gen Z Workforce.’
“Companies’ future success hinges on their ability to forge relationships with Millennials and Gen Zs, who are some of the most capable people in the workforce,” said Andy Hilger, president of Allegis Group. “A talent acquisition approach built on respect and an understanding of the workforce will win today’s battle for talent. That need for understanding applies to recruiting talent of all ages.”
Action is Lacking
Despite concerns about their organizations’ inability to recruit and retain employees from these generations, few companies are taking action to improve their results, according to the HR leaders surveyed. Seventy-one percent said they believe outdated work practices, unclear career paths, or limited advancements, skills development or mentoring might result in Millennials and Gen Zs leaving their organizations.
Meanwhile, 69 percent said that their organizations struggle to provide the types of incentives that most interest Millennials and Gen Zs, such as innovation autonomy, executive facetime, mentorships, fast access to promotions, flex scheduling and workplace wellness programs. Thirty-one percent said their companies have difficulties creating a collaborative culture to improve engagement among Millennial and Gen Z workers.
How Generation Z Will Impact the Future Workforce
Now that they’re on the brink of entering the job market, many are wondering how these ‘digital natives’ will affect our workforce. Tomilee Tilley Gill, founder and president of Executives Unlimited, sits down with Hunt Scanlon to give us a primer.
Millennials and Gen Zs look beyond salary and benefits when considering a job, said Allegis Group. Two areas of employer commitment rank high among their priorities: diversity and inclusion (D&I) and corporate social responsibility (CSR).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Millennials are 46 percent non-Caucasian, and Gen Z is 48 percent non-Caucasian, said the report. Despite the high diversity of the two generations of workers, only 12 percent of the survey respondents with D&I programs in place said they believe their D&I programs help them to attract Millennial and Gen Z talent. Only 17 percent consider D&I a key part of their employee value proposition (EVP) and 88 percent do not believe that it is helping to attract Millennial and Gen Z talent.
An earlier Allegis Group survey found that a full 79 percent of D&I programs are not supported with a clear, well-understood strategy and 83 percent of companies with D&I programs do not have success metrics.
A number of tactics contribute to an inclusive company culture, said the report. For example, employee resource groups and councils can help bring diverse employees together to share ideas and make their voices heard. Likewise, employers must make a commitment to fairness in pay, between both men and women, as well as among workers across different ethnicities and backgrounds.
When considering an employer, Millennials and Gen Zs are more likely to value the ability to move their careers forward, said the report. Eighty-seven percent of Millennials rate career growth as important to their jobs, compared to 69 percent of non-Millennials who hold this view. For employers, improving the visibility to new opportunities for career growth within the organization can go a long way toward boosting the company’s EVP and its overall reputation in the eyes of Millennials and Gen Zs.
A growing number of employers are boosting their career development focus, offering a host of benefits such as flex scheduling, speedy promotions, mentorships, workplace and wellness perks, innovation autonomy and executive facetime, said Allegis Group. These improvements are aimed at helping companies compete for Millennials and Gen Zs, who are focused on independence and career advancement.
For organizations to improve and align D&I as part of the EVP, commitment begins at the top, said Allegis Group. Without leadership commitment, any activity related to D&I will likely have little lasting impact on the organization or its perception in the marketplace. Demonstrating D&I’s value is central to translating an inclusive workplace into a trait that attracts Millennial and Gen Z talent. More than simply posting a page about diversity on a career site, communicating the culture to the world is a matter of showing by example.
Corporate Social Responsibility
“Are diverse employees making a presence on social media? Are they relating a positive view of the organization?” asked the report. “For talent decision-makers, addressing these questions can make the difference between a D&I effort that remains hidden and one that creates open conversation and promotes continuous improvement.”
Eighty-two percent of newer workers consider CSR a major factor when deciding where to work, and 66 percent would take a pay cut to work for a more socially responsible company, said the study. With newer workers placing a high value on CSR in an employer, many companies recognize a need to improve their CSR efforts and better promote their stories.
What Do Millennials Value Most?
Sam Mesquita joined Govig & Associates last year as marketing communications coordinator. As a Millennial working in a fast-paced business, Mr. Mesquita offers up some first-hand knowledge of what makes his generation tick. Following are excerpts from an interview conducted with Hunt Scanlon Media.
While companies offer opportunities for volunteerism, fundraising and other community activities, they often struggle to achieve lasting and widespread employee participation, said Allegis Group. Eighty percent of HR decision makers from organizations with CSR programs in place, said that the programs lack a clear, well-understood strategy, and 81 percent of CSR programs do not have success metrics, said the report. Only 16 percent of CSR programs are viewed by their companies as a key part of the EVP. And, 87 percent of organizations with CSR programs do not believe that their efforts are helping them attract Millennial and Gen Z talent.
Impactful CSR aligns with the employer’s mission as a business, said Allegis Group. “As examples, consider the engineering firm that supports STEM-related education in the community, the construction company that backs Habitat for Humanity, or the food retailer that supports local charities that feed the hungry,” said the report.
“Likewise, an effective CSR strategy reflects the voice of the employee. When brought into the vision as shared owners of the employer’s CSR direction, employees are likely to talk to others about their causes, helping to boost the organization’s employer brand and improve candidate attraction, particularly among Millennial and Gen Z talent.”
To make CSR a part of everyday life, a consistent process and a forum for advocacy and continuous communication are essential, said Allegis Group. A daily or weekly update can serve to celebrate activities and accomplishments, and acknowledge individual employees for their efforts. Also, volunteer opportunities and events can be communicated repeatedly through social media.
“The message about CSR, as with all aspects of employer brand, is best conveyed through grassroots support. Employees own the message, but with the right actions and message, employers can shape the CSR story,” said the report.
For employers, connecting across generations is a must, but it is not just about offering perks and fancy break rooms. “It’s about listening to the talent and understanding their unique wants and needs,” said Mr. Hilger. “It’s about engaging them through real relationships built in a complex digital landscape. And, it’s about empowering them to achieve goals that are relevant and compelling in terms of today’s career and life priorities.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media