November 27, 2022

How to build a work culture that attracts top young talent

How does a company start to attract top talent, especially Gen Z?

The first and critical step to successfully recruiting them is to focus on the company’s culture. All information regarding perks and employee reviews is, in most cases, relatively accessible, and your future hire knows it. With remote work, easy virtual interviews and flexible hours, there are plenty of options for potential employees to select an employer who suits their needs.

One of the biggest challenges businesses face is attracting Gen Z talent, as they often have different expectations than other generations. That’s why it’s essential to cultivate a culture that accommodates their needs and expectations and can support them in achieving their goals. Some of their expectations include an inclusive environment, learning opportunities, work-life balance, and ethical practices. These major factors might influence how they feel about joining your team. Having your company’s values or Employee Value Proposition (EVP) published on your website is not enough. You will have to live them through real stories, rituals and examples of behaviours representing your company’s ethos (your culture).


Communicating and living up to values

As a generation, Gen Z has been exposed quite a lot to marketing tactics – it is fair to say they have become more cynical as a result. It is now, more than ever, necessary for employers to create new ways of communicating and expressing their work culture and values to attract this youthful talent pool.

Organisations should carefully define and get across their values, not as statements but by sharing personal stories on how they reflect in their current workforce. When communicating with Gen Z “leads”, it is important that you highlight the company culture and emphasise the values you promote. Managers should ensure synergy between what interests their potential hires and the organisation’s goals. Gen Z individuals have to get a sense of inclusion from their workplace, and managers must ensure that employees feel like they are part of the team.

The way you communicate your work culture is essentially the image that your potential employees and customers see. This impression is typically made up of authentic experiences, with emotional stories of employees thriving and achieving their potential. These values must be consistently communicated across social media channels, employer review websites, and anywhere else Gen Z will likely be looking.


The most important values for young talent

Transparency reflects a culture of trust

The Generation Z demographic values honesty and transparency. Once Gen Z employees are aware of matching company culture, they feel empowered to be themselves. Generation Z tends to have entrepreneurial tendencies and values cooperation in the workplace. If they get a clear and honest explanation about your company culture from the hiring process, then your business will be more attractive in the market. They must see how managers role model the values you stand for.


An impressive development programme

With the ever-growing concerns about crises, the importance of retaining employees is higher. Investing in internal mobility or developmental programmes can show future employees that your company values them and wants them to grow. All companies must realise that their people are their most valuable asset and are responsible for personal and professional development. Investing in employees by providing mobility programs will help attract the best candidates.


A Caring, Mentally Healthy and Safe Workplace

The American Psychological Association has found that Generation Z is the most stressed-out generation due to extensive exposure to global problems; gun violence, climate change and political instability. Great employers need to ensure that experiences are emotionally satisfying for Generation Z.

The degree of success of your talent attraction strategy will depend on:

·       How much you know about them,

·       How you demonstrate and communicate the values that they care about the most.


And finally, leaders need to understand that to stand out, they shouldn’t compete within their industries but build their teams within the broader spectrum of the workplace. Gen Z doesn’t pick an industry but a matching culture. Today, they are willing to accept significant salary cuts to work for companies with purpose, with matching values or simply decide to work on their own on an island.


Ivan Palomino is a Learning Strategist and Behavioural Designer. He helps organisations build human-centric work cultures.

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