Be the organization the people you are looking for...are looking for.
If you want people who are driven, trustworthy, and will go the extra mile, then first exemplify it. If you want to attract and retain Generation Z into your organization, then you must be the organization they are looking for.
What is Gen Z looking for in an organization? Development.
"Opportunity for growth" is the number one factor Gen Z seeks in a role. Gen Zers are 2.5 times more likely to stay with their employer for five or more years if they feel their skills are fully utilized with challenging, meaningful work. And 61 percent of Gen Z feel more successful after they've spent time learning (as well as more confident and less burned out).
Professional development is the key to attracting, retaining, and engaging Gen Z.
No one understands this better than Chick-fil-A where 70 percent of their restaurant workers are Gen Z.
David Salyers, the former Chief Marketing Officer of Chick-fil-A, recently shared with me during our interview, how Chick-fil-A becomes the organization the Gen Zers they are looking for, are looking for.
"When I ask Chick-fil-A restaurant operators what business they are in, none ever say 'fast food restaurant,'" says Salyers. "Instead, I hear responses like, 'we are a leadership academy masquerading as a fast food restaurant.'"
Selling chicken sandwiches to fund the development of its employees is exactly the type of development-focused organization that Gen Z wants to be a part of.
Development is not only what Gen Z craves in a role, but it also provides greater meaning to mangers and/or operators. Managers are not only running a business that provides employment opportunities and delightfully serving customers, but they are preparing the next generation with the skills needed to meaningfully and effectively contribute to society. (Read this to learn just how to develop the next generation.)
This approach to attracting and retaining Gen Z talent should be encouraging to organizations who think their industry "isn't sexy" or they "can't afford the work perks" that they think Gen Z wants.
The key is helping Gen Z develop the skills that will prepare and sustain them for the uncertain future ahead.