How to attract and retain Generation Z staff

Published: 03 Oct 2017 By Georgina Townshend

And this age group may be a little more challenging for pubs than millennials.

That’s because Gen Z is obsessed with social media and has a limited desire to drink, which means visiting the pub is almost at the bottom of their list when it comes to where they choose to spend their leisure time.

According to The Morning Advertiser’s ​sister title MCA​’s 2017 Pub Market Report​, people aged 16 to 21 are less inclined to visit the pub to have a drink and catch up with friends and would rather update Facebook or post on Snapchat.

Peer attraction

To attract this age group into the pub, one tactic can be employing them. However, in recent years there’s been a “strong focus” on how to accommodate millennials in the on-trade, which has caused a lot of employers to “lose sight” of the next cohort entering the workplace – Gen Z, says Daniel Davies, chief executive of CPL Training Group.

“Our sector is already heavily reliant on this generation which, for the most part, are aged from 16-21,” said Davies.

“If we’re trying to retain and persuade Gen Z to build a career [in the hospitality industry], then it’s important to speak to their ambitions.

Career path motivation

He adds: “Like millennials, this Gen Z are motivated by a clear progression path. So whether it’s ‘learning on the job’ or through a structured training programme, operators should demonstrate opportunities for them to grow and develop.”

Davies says that in addition to this, the majority of Gen Z grew up during the financial crisis, so they are “entrepreneurial by nature”.

“It’s a good idea to exercise this mind-set by assigning them to complete a task, regardless of how small or large, which requires ownership and initiative,” Davies says.

“One other aspect for employers to consider is providing feedback.

“They have grown up with communication channels at their fingertips, so it’s important to have regular open conversations about their personal development.”

A 2017 study on Generation Z (Capita Resourcing) found that only 54% expect to stay in their first job for two years. Despite this transient nature, it is still “important for operators to make the effort to accommodate them accordingly”, explains Davies. This will encourage them to stay in the sector as they know it adheres to their ambitions and strengths, he adds.

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Genuine development wanted

People director for brewer and pubco Fuller’s David Hoyle says the company’s apprenticeship scheme was tailored with Gen Z in mind.

He says: “We have just taken on 50 new apprentices this month and we are going to take on 100 every year, and clearly a lot of those will be in Generation Z.

“We have found that what they want [from a job] is different, or certainly there are different highlights to what they are after.

“The first thing we found is they want genuine development, and that is what we have tried to provide.

“We have chef guild standards which they are trained against, we have worked with the University of West London, and we have a day release as part of our development programme rather than them spending just five days working in their particular pub.

“We share with them and show them the career opportunities we can provide.

“It's really important that they can see that they can start an apprenticeship and can clearly see the route to get to be a head chef. It's really important for them that there's a quality programme, that it's genuine development, genuine training, rather than a tick box exercise.”

All about the experience

Hoyle said the company also found that Gen Z are “really into experience”, wanting to have a “broad spectrum” of capabilities.

“Generation Z have got slightly different requirements, it isn't just about coming and getting a job. They want to have a good experience and enjoy what they are doing.

“They really want to be shown that they can have a real career. It is not just about a job any more, they want to see that they can develop, which is potentially different to older generations.”

Hoyle adds: “We find that the more of that [career development and opportunity] you have, the more they buy into the company and if they can see they can have a full career with us, more and more of them will stay."

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