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Your safety department is excited. You’ve got a new batch of young employees, full of promise and the skills your company needs to effectively manage EHS for years to come.
Now comes the hard part: how do you retain them?
The fact is, job-hopping is on the rise, especially among the younger generation. And given how expensive it is to replace an employee, you can’t afford to lose new hires.
So, how do you keep Gen Z and Millennials engaged? Here are three tips to help safety leaders connect with younger generations.
If you want to get Millennial and Gen Z employees motivated, you can start by showing them that you care about their growth as a human being.
Contrary to popular belief, younger generations do enjoy learning. The trick is to help them feel fulfilled through their work. If you can manage that, you’ll see their hunger to learn.
Give them opportunities to develop new safety and leadership skills. Focus on short-term goals with visible results and show them a clear progression. Create a learning culture with a sense of immediacy.
During the decades that Millennials spent in school, the education system changed.
From elementary school to college, Millennials became accustomed to tackling projects as part of a group. And both Millennials and Gen Z are used to a culture of constant connectivity through social media.
So, when they come to work, they want to feel like they’re part of a group. The easiest way to accomplish this is to reinstate group projects in a corporate environment.
Some industries naturally lend themselves to working in teams. But if your company doesn’t emphasize teamwork, work with the other senior managers to do a bit of restructuring.
Instead of giving every employee a defined role and a desk to work alone, give each employee a defined role and a team to work with.
This way, each employee will know what’s expected of them and can personally connect with their team members while playing to their strengths and comfort zones.
Contrary to popular opinion, Millennials and Gen Zers are just as willing to put in the work as their older counterparts.
The difference is how they view the job.
Baby Boomers view time as something to be invested. Younger generations view time as a currency not to be wasted. They also don’t care about face time. They don’t prioritize getting the job done through in-person interaction – they prioritize getting the job done.
But they also grew up in a constantly connected world. So when they finish the job, they want to be able to go home and enjoy life.
If you want to appeal to Millennial and Gen Z employees, start by offering a solid work-life balance. This helps combat overall employee fatigue by giving them time to recharge.
Also, keep in mind that Millennials and Gen Zers don’t have the same concept of time spans as Boomers. You’ll lose their interest by looking too far into the future. They grew up in the Recession, soaring divorce rates, and increasing job turnover.
The point is, they grew up in uncertainty and they aren’t going to believe you when you talk about guarantees. They have no idea what will happen three months from now. They can’t conceptualize what you’re talking about when you talk about five-year promotion plans.
Show them a concrete plan, but make sure the time frame is short enough for them to envision it. Then, fulfill your promises.
If you want to work with Gen Z and Millennials, you have to be ready to meet them in the middle. Make the most of their technological literacy. These generations grew up plugged in, and they’re always looking for smarter technology solutions to make their lives easier. Always make sure you're getting feedback in order to improve workplace processes and overall safety culture.
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