How to Engage Your Generation Z Store Associates
Generation Z are very different than those who came before them. The most diverse and inclusive generation in American history, they’re incredibly tech-savvy, having used smartphones, video streaming, and social networks for most of their lives. Since technology has been integrated into every facet of their lives, it follows that they expect technology integrated into the way they work.
With Generation Z now as old as 22, most retailers are now employing many of them as store associates and managers. This makes it increasingly important that retailers understand who Gen Z is, what they expect from their retail employment, and what can be done to ensure their success in the workplace. Additionally, as more teens opt for summer alternatives to working in retail, it’s imperative to engage and retain those that do.
Here are a few things you can do to engage your Gen Z associates:
1. Speak Their Language
Almost half of Gen Z say that they are online over 10 hours a day, and that they use an average of five screens daily. Retailers can leverage this behavior and comfort with mobile technology by integrating it into the workplace. Mobile task management and workforce management solutions let Gen Z associates leverage their intuitive approach to technology to utilize task lists, schedules, and peer-to-peer communication systems from a mobile device.
With these solutions, Gen Z associates can complete work more quickly, receive real-time alerts when they need to complete high-priority tasks, and better adapt their schedules to accommodate commitments outside their jobs. And since many Gen Z associates prefer an independent approach to learning, training them on new technologies is simple and easy.
2. Provide Them with a Purpose
Gen Z associates want to have an impact on something bigger than the task at hand. On a large scale, this means that they prefer to work for companies that are inclusive and philanthropic, providing some sort of social benefit to their community. On a smaller scale, they at least want to know that they’re part of a team, and are making an impact in the day-to-day operations of their company.
It’s important for Gen Z associates to feel that they’re given the tools to succeed at work as individuals, not just as cogs in the machine. With real-time visibility into projects they’re working on and checklists for the day, as well as the ability to immediately communicate with other store associates and store managers, Gen Z associates can see how their work fits into the big picture, and can feel connected to the rest of their team. This makes your Gen Z associates happier with the work they’re doing and the team they’re working with, increasing both retention and productivity as a result.
3. Give Them Feedback
Generation Z have lived almost their entire lives with the ability to communicate instantly. It makes sense, then, that they prefer to receive feedback at work on a regular, ongoing basis. Since Generation Z want consistent, regular feedback from their managers, companies have shifted towards providing Gen Z associates with daily, weekly, or regular reviews instead of annual reviews.
This can be accomplished by equipping Gen Z associates with solutions that allow for simple, immediate feedback. When store managers receive an alert that a task has been completed, they can provide a quick response, whether it’s praise for a task completed efficiently or training for the next time they have to complete a similar task. This ensures that Gen Z associates get the coaching and the leadership they need to thrive in the workplace.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to engage all sorts of retail employees, read our latest white paper, “3 Ways to Increase Retail Manager and Associate Engagement.”