The bar to help companies attract the next generation of workers – Gen Z (born 1995-2012) – keeps getting higher.

We understand they have different values, expectations and working styles.

And now we have to get these employees to like our companies, says Santor Nishizaki, CEO of Mulholland Consulting Group, LLC., professor for Pepperdine’s Ph.D. Program of Global Leadership and Change and author of Working with Gen Z: A Handbook to Recruit, Retain, and Reimagine the Future Workforce after COVID-19.

How do we do this? Well, once they are in the door, we have to work very hard to keep them from bolting.

First up, make sure they have a great onboarding experience. Although not this age group, I can speak to this directly. When I was hired, many years ago, by a medical manufacturing company, I was in two days of training where the CEO spoke to us, as well as the CFO. This demonstrated to me that we were important enough for these high-ranking executives to address us. But the larger attraction was their basic message: The work you do saves lives.

Nishizaki points to a study reported on the Society of Human Resource Management, that says 69% of employees who have a great onboarding experience have a higher probability of staying with a company for three years or more.

Part of the onboarding process should be a celebration, Nishizaki says. “Besides sending out an email to the team or department your Gen Z’er will work for, post a picture (with their permission) on your company’s social media (LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, etc.) to welcome them to the team,” he said in an article on College Recruiter.

An important follow-up to a strong welcome is to set up the new employee in a formal mentoring program. This helps the hire feel more comfortable at the company and gives them a structure to understand the company’s values.

And it’s these values that are the keeping employees during a time that is now referred to as the called the Great Resignation.

Nishizaki suggests including these pillars, if you will, to build a culture that this generation will value:

  • Flexibility: Our study revealed that 69% of Gen Z’ers want to work remotelyat least 50% of the time once the pandemic is over. Polling your employees about work from home preferences rather than arbitrarily bringing everyone back will go a long way.
  • Job Rotation: Workers get bored quickly, and we discovered that most Gen Z’ers believe that it is the responsibility of management/employer to eliminate boredom at work. Having a job rotation program can help keep your Gen Z’ers engaged and give them the tools to help them look at your business with a different lens.
  • Open up your wallets (“Adulting” is expensive): Pay them a competitive wage! Our research determined that Gen Z’ers are working a side gig during the pandemic but would quit if their employers paid more.
  • Measure, Fix, Measure Again: Leaders should continuously measure employee engagement, turnover, absenteeism, and other retention factors. From Baby Boomers to Gen Z, it is critical to get employee feedback on how engaged they are, make adjustments, and measure again.

Originally published on EHS Today. Dr. Santor Nishizaki. All rights reserved.