How to Foster a Cross-Generational Retail Workforce
Retailers are reacting to the trends and opportunities associated with Generation Z’s entrance into the workforce, but the challenges aren’t limited to Gen Z alone. As Gen Z is joining the workforce, older generations are often delaying retirement; as a result, many organizations are trying to balance the expectations and work styles of up to five generations. Tech savvy Millennials and Gen Zers need to be able to work harmoniously with old-school Baby Boomers and Traditionalists. Generational differences, like different communication styles and feedback preferences, can lead to avoidable miscommunication, frustration, and us-versus-them mentalities that negatively impact employee engagement and productivity.
With the right approach to communications and team-building, retailers can ensure that their Gen Z store associates work seamlessly alongside their older colleagues.
Understand What Makes a Difference
The first step is to understand what motivates the Gen Z workforce and what sets them apart from other generations. For example, younger generations highly value self-expression, company culture and values, and alternative compensation, like employer assistance in paying off student loans. Additionally, while both Millennials and Gen Z are often pessimistic in their overall worldview, Gen Z are more satisfied at work than their Millennial peers; their common work frustrations include low pay, lack of advancement opportunity, and insufficient learning opportunities.
These differences indicate that there’s lots of opportunity to engage Gen Z in the retail workforce. Gen Z associates want to work collaboratively and grow their careers. You just need to give them the tools to succeed through training and communication.
Build Engaged Teams with Mobile-First Store Solutions
Gen Z may be the first digital native generation, but that’s not why you should equip them with mobile-first solutions. Rather, you should implement mobile-first store execution solutions because they empower employees of every generation to be more efficient, effective, and engaged.
On an individual level, mobile-first solutions for functions like employee self-service, task management, and peer-to-peer communication help consolidate and streamline everything a store associate needs to thrive at work into a single view in the palm of their hand. It’s easy for associates to access training resources, review step-by-step instructions when executing new promotions or store sets, and request clarification without confusing or redundant communications.
Additionally, a study from the ADP Research Institute found that mobile communication solutions help build teams in real-time by making it easy to connect and share expertise regardless of location. For retailers, this means that Gen Z associates are able to benefit from the experience of older associates and managers. However, it also helps foster a team mentality on a larger scale, so Gen Z feel connected to the organization’s values and mission beyond their experience at a single store. In fact, the ADPRI research found that employees on teams are much more likely to be fully engaged at work, regardless of age.
For more strategies for adapting to the rise of a Gen Z workforce, join us at Reflexions 2019, the Reflexis User Conference, for the Adapting Platforms and Processes for Gen Z Employees Workshop with our retail experts, and read our latest white paper, How to Empower Your Generation Z Retail Workforce.