By Kevin Jeffrey

There are many novel ideas and approaches that progressive organizations use in the war for talent.

For example, a mid-sized company based in a small town in British Columbia was looking to stand out among its competitors. Set in the mountains, it is a town full of young, active people – and skiing, mountain biking and outdoor pursuits are important parts of the lifestyle.

This company wanted to attract the best employees in a competitive marketplace. They needed to stand out and appeal to their demographic. So they added a unique element to their Employee Benefits Plan. They introduced a new spending account they colloquially called “It-is-Monday-morning-and-I-broke-a-pedal-on-my-bike-and-the-company-is-paying-for-it”.

In reality, this was a spending account that allowed employees to customize their own benefits to fit what is important to them. The new offering created a strong brand for the company and attracted loyal talent.

This reimagining of employee benefits is necessary as Generation Z moves into the workforce. Gen Zs are unique. They grew up with on-demand, filters and personalization. Flexibility and customization are baked in to their vocabulary. They don’t like to be told what they can or cannot have.

They are highly entrepreneurial and eager to learn and grow. At the same time, however, they do want to have a relationship with their employer. They are looking for the financial stability that relationship can bring. So how can employers attract and retain this talented pool of employees?

  • Economics: Gen Zs place more importance on salaries. They are pragmatic, and they want the security of a full-time, permanent position at a company – even though they may stay with that company for only a few years. They want to benefit from the relationship while it exists, and just as important, they want to be a strong contributor.
  • Work-life harmony: Gen Zs don’t just want balance between different parts of their lives; they want the ability to integrate their whole person into their work life. They don’t want to have to leave their personal life at the door – but they are also likely to take work home with them.
  • High touch: Despite the fact that Gen Zs are the first true digital natives, they don’t want to interact only through technology. They may prefer face-to-face connections with their managers and they want to receive quick feedback frequently, if not daily.

How can employers retain Gen Zs?

In a workplace composed of at least four generations, the challenge for all employers is: “How do I engage everyone in my organization?” In simplistic terms, you need to understand your target employees, celebrate the differences and create flexible compensation and engagement systems.

Many of the tactics companies can take to support Gen Zs will also appeal to other employees. Organizations will do a disservice to everyone if they think this is only important to Gen Z. Or that Gen Z (or any other cohort) is a completely homogenous group.

Importantly, organizations need to rely on their managers to know their teams and create workplaces that work for everyone. When it comes to Gen Z, here are a few ideas:

  • Offer a variety of different assignments and roles to keep them engaged and satisfied.
  • Share information. If you have to distribute information via technology, make sure it’s available on demand rather than through a traditional online portal.
  • Provide more personalized attention when it comes to managing them, including face-to-face feedback.
  • Offer a Flexible Benefits Program that allows each employee to craft their own unique relationship with your company. Some options might be:
    • Remote work
    • Bring your own device
    • Travel benefits
    • Sabbaticals
    • Frequent job rotation
    • Tuition and learning benefits

With more and more Gen Zs entering the workforce, employers are faced with four distinct generations to please. It’s getting more and more difficult to address everyone’s needs in a one-size-fits-all fashion.

Your ability to craft a unique, mutually beneficial, productive and engaging relationship with your people will allow you to succeed while traditional organizations get left behind.

Hub International’s team of brokers has extensive experience designing one-of-a-kind employee benefits offerings to meet all your HR needs and can help you plan and implement the right combination of products for your organization.