Turnover is #expensive

Congratulations! Your Generation Z (born ~1995-2012) employee accepted your offer, showed up for their first day of work (you didn’t get ghosted), and is excited to help your organization become better, and then they quit six months later. Now what?

This article will describe ways to help you retain and lead Generation Z, based on a national study included in our book, Working with Gen Z: A Handbook to Recruit, Retain, and Reimagine the Future Workforce after COVID-19.


Did you know that 69% of employees who have a great onboarding experience have a greater probability of staying with the company three years or longer? With the cost of turnover being ~$4,000 per employee (a low estimate), employers cannot afford to train employees (average cost of $19,000) and lose them because they did not have an organized onboarding process. Our research discovered that Gen Z expects company onboarding to be between four hours to a few days.

Some tips to help you onboard your Gen Z’ers:

  • Workspace & Equipment: Have their workspace ready at least a few days before they start. Make sure their laptop, email, and access to server drives are available from day one.
  • Also, giving them a gift card to IKEA to allow them to personalize/decorate their workspace shows you care about their individuality, which is very important to Gen Z.
  • Celebrate: 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.
  • Buddy Up & Mentoring: Pair your new Gen Z’er with someone who is a year or two ahead of them to help them feel comfortable at their new gig.

Also, enrolling them in your formal mentoring program is another excellent way to get them to feel more comfortable and assimilate into the culture.

  • Professional Development: Give your new Gen Z’ers the proper training necessary to succeed in their new role. Our study uncovered that almost half of Gen Z’ers would like to have tuition reimbursement and repayment for higher education from their companies.


As stated earlier, a lot of money goes into recruiting, hiring, and training employees (average of $23K or more per employee if they quit), and it is now more important than ever (“The Great Resignation”) to retain these younger workers. The latter may flee at the chance of a higher wage.

As workers had the opportunity to pause the hustle-and-bustle of coming into the office every day and Work From Home (WFH), they had a chance to reevaluate their lives. This recalculation of purpose may include: spending more time with their families, changing their career direction, and living their best lives. So, what can employers do to keep their employees from bolting through the door or “logging off”?

It starts with building and maintaining a strong corporate culture to reduce employee retention:

  • Promote, train, and hire excellent leaders:

Does this sound familiar?

“I would stay working here, even at a lower salary, because I love working for my boss,” or one in two employees left a job in their career to get away from their boss.

  • It is essential to note that the Center for Creative Leadership found that most first-time leaders did not receive any training. Still, organizations expect new managers to be good leaders through some innate wisdom. Gallup’s research found that managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement, which means that if your managers do not get adequately trained on how to lead people, engagement can plummet. Corporate culture starts at the top, and it is vital to promote good leaders or have the desire to be developed into one.
  • Flexibility: Our study revealed that 69% of Gen Z’ers want to work remotely at least 50% of the time once the pandemic is over. Polling your employees about WFH 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.

As Generation Z starts to enter the workplace in massive numbers, your organization needs to build a solid corporate culture of caring about your employees (and their input) and adjust your approach based on data-driven metrics. Also, your existing Gen Z employees are a great recruiting tool, so give them a corporate culture to brag about to their friends IRL (“In Real Life”) or via social media.

–Dr. Santor Nishizaki has been featured on PsychologyToday.com, Gallup, and other media outlets and regularly speaks to companies and conducts workshops on leading, retaining, recruiting, and developing Gen Z and Millennials. In addition, he is an award-winning C-Suite executive with Fortune 100 and NASA experience and professor for Pepperdine’s Ph.D. Program of Global Leadership and Change. To hear more about how to retain Generation Z, check out Dr. Santor’s upcoming book, “Working with Gen Z: A Handbook to Recruit, Retain, and Reimagine the Future Workforce after COVID-19,” or feel free to connect with Santor on LinkedIn or send an email to info@workingwithgenzbook.com if you would like to contact him about helping you recruit, retain, and lead Gen Z, or to say hello!”

Originally published on College Recruiter. Dr. Santor Nishizaki. All rights reserved.