While the Baby Boomers are swiftly retiring, the hospitality industry is becoming more digital. And this is a good thing. Not only will using technology make businesses more productive, it also attracts more of the younger candidates. This too is a good thing. Attracting Generation Z candidates, those born between 1997 and 2012, is a must if the hospitality industry is to thrive.
Who is Generation Z?
Generation Z (Gen Z) was born into a technology advanced world. This group is extremely tech savvy and prefer to use as many digital gadgets as possible. They use these for both social media as well as work. Gen Z has benefited by seeing how Millennials and Generation X have struggled financially. Therefore, Gen Z are more conservative when spending money.
Additionally, Gen Z has an appetite for financial education, prefer savings accounts over having debts, and prefer debit cards. They use social media for almost everything and rely heavily on mobile banking apps. The smartphone is their preferred method of communication. According to Deloitte, they tend to receive their first mobile device at an average age of 10.3 years.
It’s easy to see that this group of job candidates have different characteristics from previous generations. They also offer different talents, skills and knowledge to the hospitality workforce. The oldest of the Gen Z group is 25 years of age. The average age of an employed Hospitality Representative is 46 years old. Therefore, attracting and onboarding Gen Z candidates is a great way to indoctrinate prime candidates and reduce turnover.
How to Attract Gen Z Candidates
Fishermen know that when you want to catch a specific kind of fish, you have to know where to fish. You also have to use the right kind of bait. Standard ads on job boards will not attract the Gen Z generation. And you have to go where Gen Z folks congregate and understand how to attract them. Here are some tips for attracting this gold mine of talent:
- Enhance your website-Customizing the candidate experience makes Gen Z people feel valued as individuals. To do this, consider updating the employment section of your website. Make it appealing to Gen Z and easy to use. Cumbersome forms to fill out are a turnoff. Keep things simple and include all the company benefits, especially salary or salary range.
- Seek out a qualified recruiter-Don’t leave hiring to chance. Attracting Gen Z job candidates can be challenging as well as time consuming. Gen Z candidates have a desire to associate with companies aligned with their values. A good recruiter will seek out Gen Z candidates, screen them, and ensure their skills match your needs.
- Build good relationships with hospitality schools-On campus job fairs are still a great way to attract talent. For Gen Z candidates, you just need to be able to speak their language.
- Expand your brand-Gen Z consumes more content than previous generations. They read more and stay up to date on world events. They are looking for brands they identify and can connect with. Statistics reveal that 60% of Gen Z relies on referrals when looking for potential employers. If your brand is in the forefront of social media and other outlets, you’ll be recognized by Gen Z. You can improve your brand by using current employees to post pictures and stories about their enjoyment at work.
- Create meaningful content-A recent survey uncovered that 74% of Gen Z say they spend their free time online. To improve your online content, consider sharing content about your brand that’s compelling. Include your purpose, diversity and inclusion, culture, training, social responsibility, and industry-specific conversations. These are the hot buttons Gen Z are looking to read.
- Messaging Gen Z’s-Sending text messages is a low-pressure interaction. It is a quick way, typically 90 seconds, to respond. It is less formal than a phone call or email and it is the preferred choice of Gen Z.
- Consider social media job applications-Companies can use social mediato allow Gen Z candidates to apply for jobs from their mobile devices. Learning where Gen Z spends their time can be extremely beneficial. In 2021, studies found that users age 18-24 are especially likely to use Instagram (76%), Snapchat (75%), and TikTok (55%).
- Reward employee referrals-Encourage your employees to recommend great job candidates. Gen Z are more likely to trust referrals from others close to their age. If the referral comes from someone with similar values, they are more likely to respond to the open position. Give out gift cards or other forms of appreciation to employees who recommend a great candidate and he or she is hired.
- Be sure to showcase diversity-In all your postings, ads, and branding material, let it be known your company favors a diverse workforce. It’s been said the Gen Z is the most diverse group yet.
What They Really, Really Want
In order to attract Gen Z candidates, it is imperative that you understand what they want. Most experts agree that their main concerns are:
- A livable pay-Not necessarily after instant wealth, but enough to pay their bills and have some fun.
- Diverse and inclusive workplace-That’s why it’s important to communicate this in your branding and social media presence.
- Meaning in their work-Gen Z wants to make a difference in the world. They want their workplace to offer opportunities to contribute to the organization’s decision-making.
- Good mental health-They want their work to have meaning and to work their minds. They appreciate less stress and more rewarding work.
If you can offer the above, you will attract Gen Z candidates. Therefore, selling what your company offers is the key to building long-lasting relationships with Gen Z.
Do It Now!
It’s been said that if you begin to optimize for Gen Z now, then you are already late. And remember that you’re not engaging this younger generation because it’s cool. Or because it is progressive. You are trying to get them on board as team members because they can contribute to the company’s success. They can speak the language of your customers. Gen Z will make up the largest share of the US consumer population. So your Gen Z employees know how to treat “their kind.”