How to Recruit Gen Z Employees

NEWBY BRIDGE, ENGLAND—How do you recruit Gen Z? A recent roundtable of human resources managers at the Lakeside Hotel & Spa touched on this very topic.

“The market is particularly hard in hospitality at the moment for employers as there are lots of businesses all competing for staff from the same local area. This challenge intensifies when it comes to younger generations as many misconceptions exist around working in this sector,” said Lorna Webster, training manager, Lakeside Hotel & Spa.

“For instance, many young people believe they will lose their social lives or have to work every weekend to be part of our team, which simply isn’t the case. Then there is also the issue of the four-star rating that leads many younger people to believe that we would only be interested in employing experienced staff. These issues are compounded by the fact that the vast majority of young people are looking for part-time hours and ad hoc, seasonal employment as they want money for university or to fund other studies and their social lives,” she said.

This makes finding, training and retaining good people even harder, according to Webster, who emphasized a need to better explain the career opportunities in the sector.

“On top of this, there are unique challenges around incorporating Gen Zs into the workforce. Our team demographic stretches from 15-70 years old, and it’s important to look after them all and harmonize their different approaches and outlooks,” said Webster.

One example she cited were that older generations have had to develop a good gut instinct and learn from their mistakes, where the Gen Z demographic may have had Google to tell them exactly how to do things, making them afraid to make mistakes.

“We need to change this and encourage more of the gut instinct and allow them to fail because that will give them some of the tools for leadership; they haven’t necessarily had that along the way in their development,” she said.

So, what does it take to make Gen Z happy on the job? In a word: speed.

“I think Gen Z—more so than any other—need things instantly. With social media, Google and the plethora of technology that they have available to them, they are impatient and need almost instant responses,” she said.

“I think the hospitality sector needs to incorporate this into how we work by being better at providing feedback quickly, perhaps look at introducing appraisals and making sure we train staff from the off rather than leaving people to learn on the job. Gen Z doesn’t want to wait to learn, they want to know now.”

Webster added, “The other key thing is to offer them flexibility and not to tie them into working long, unsociable hours on a constant basis. From our perspective, this probably means adapting how we schedule rotas and making sure we are distributing shifts evenly to enable younger employees to have the work/life balance they demand.”

Pulling from the group’s insights, Webster outlines ways hoteliers can recruit younger employees and retain them:

Meet them where they are

“It starts with utilizing social media to advertise roles and engage with young people that are looking for work,” she said.

Training matters

“To then retain them, we need to take time to train them properly and make an effort to show them around the hotel so that they can see all areas of the business, how it works and what makes it tick, so they feel part of the bigger picture,” she said.