Large firms have struggled to appeal to the Millennial generation, a generation that was more attracted to entrepreneurship and startup culture. But this new generation of talent is more likely to recognize and appreciate the value proposition offered by large firms. They bring with them a refreshing opportunity for mutually beneficial partnership with large businesses. This is good news for financial services.

In my previous post, I shared the unique characteristics of Gen Z college graduates and how those characteristics harmonise well with what the corporate work environment has to offer. In this final post of my series on Gen Z, I’m going to share how you can help your firm capture the attention of Gen Z workers and create a workplace environment that will help retain them for the long term.

A two-way street and a tailored experience

Large firms are uniquely positioned to deliver on many of the things Gen Z workers are looking for, such as:

  • Training and development opportunities that help them expand their expertise.
  • Promotional opportunities and meaningful work that keep them engaged, while reaping tangible compensatory benefits.
  • The opportunity to do good and do well, so that they can improve their lives while making the world a better place
  • Flexibility and a sense of reciprocity to help them maintain a healthy work-life balance.

However, as much as the corporate environment holds a natural attraction for the pragmatic, upwardly mobile Gen Z worker, large firms will still have to put some effort into appealing to this new generation of talent. The keys to a successful partnership with Gen Z are reciprocity and creating a tailored experience.

Firms will be more successful at attracting and retaining Gen Z workers if they leverage the inherent synergies between what they can offer and what Gen Z is looking for. The following five strategic initiatives provide a foundation for a successful reciprocal and tailor-made relationship:

  1. Digitise recruiting efforts: leverage digital technology to reach out to Gen Z grads where they are and the manner that works best for them, while creating cost efficiencies at the same time.
  2. Cross-train: create staffing models that provide ample opportunities for young workers to participate in the business across functions and without boundaries.
  3. Connect the dots between performance and rewards: be transparent in showing how effort, value systems, and employee compensation align.
  4. Plan for growth: individualise career planning and co-design career development plans with employees to ensure full utilisation of their skill sets.
  5. Coach for success: implement formalised and individualised coaching and mentoring plans for incoming employees.

Making it work

Offering advantages for a new generation of workers is one thing. Marketing those advantages is another. Firms must involve themselves in a comprehensive outreach effort that helps these young workers make the right choices while they’re in school so they can participate in a mutually beneficial partnership with the corporate world in the future. Gen Z workers must be nurtured along a career path, even before that career path starts―including early in their educational life (middle school and high school).

And while Gen Z is a much more pragmatic generation than Millennials, they still want to do well and do good. Don’t underestimate the impact your brand has on attracting them. Social responsibility remains an important differentiating factor in this generation’s employment choices. Financial services firms, and the industry as a whole, must incorporate social responsibility into their corporate culture.

For more information on the Gen Z workforce, please see the Accenture report: Gen Z Rising

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