As the father of two young adults, I’m seeing them face challenges that parenting and schooling could not have prepared them for. These observations were confirmed not to be specific to my children as I listened to my nephews lament some of their early adulthood obstacles over Thanksgiving dinner as well.
How can we afford housing to live without roommates? Can we trust our employers to provide security? Is this recession going to squelch my earning potential? These and many more questions went unanswered.
Employers, here are my top 5 communications-focused ideas to convince the 20-something demographic to join or remain with your organization.
- Be Genuine – This up-and-coming generation knows how to spot a fake. Remember, they were raised on media and have been tested continuously in their abilities to discern fact and fiction. Be honest with them when communicating. It is better to deliver hard facts than be rooted out later as having tried to fool them. This can be specifically illuminated by your transparency with the performance of the organization.
- Follow Through – Gen Z craves stability although sometimes their actions say otherwise. By following through, I’m referring to dependability, specifically. If your promise is to communicate or deliver (insert subject) on a regular schedule throughout the year, then this is your opportunity to win them over by delivering on the promise.
- Structure – Today’s world, running on Zoom, SharePoint, and Teams-Tuesdays, demands flexibility for employers to stay competitive. That is a needle to thread when young, career-focused employees, are aiming to please. It can be difficult for young workers to fulfill expectations when goalposts are constantly moving. Let these employees know continuously where the organization is headed and more importantly why. This will mitigate frustration, and apathy and turn these energetic employees into your future leaders.
- Do YOUR job – Roles and responsibilities are often verbalized in the hiring process but rarely documented. It’s hard to backtrack months later when a young employee comes to you with a concern about responsibility creep or overlapping ownership of tasks. Set in writing as much as you can what their job entails and then make it a living document to be updated regularly. This will save you from future discomfort and give you a yardstick to see where the employee has excelled beyond expectations and deserves a compensatory adjustment.
- Compensation and Career Path – Similar to #4 but exponentially more important is communicating earning potential. Does the employee have the option to share in the company’s success monetarily and how? Let’s face it, everything is expensive right now so more earning potential and how to achieve it is top of mind.
- Always help keep a focal point on the horizon for their career path. Remind them often how advancement works. Your assistant to the assistant manager wants to know clearly how to become a manager one day. Young employees care that you care.
Bonus: Communicate to your young workforce you are always willing to listen without them being afraid the inquiries will be used against them in the future. In short, treat them like it’s Thanksgiving dinner at your house.
Director of Communications
- Marketing Strategy
- Brand Development
- Employee Engagement
- Project and Vendor Oversight