How to upgrade your workplace on-boarding for Gen Z employees

A smooth on-boarding process is a must for today’s employees; after all, you want their first days to be inviting, and you want them to understand the ins and outs of your workplace. That’s because you have to make sure your employees are engaged right from the start, given today’s often fickle workforce.

Although most on-boarding best practices work for all generations, there are some specific actions you might want to take to reach your newest Gen Z employees that will capture their attention and underscore the importance of your programs, from benefits to corporate best practices.

Start wooing them from the day you extend the offer.

There’s an unfortunate new trend going on in workplaces, and that’s candidates “ghosting” their new employer. In other words, they’ve gone through all the trouble of interviewing and being hired, and then they just don’t show up on the first day…leaving you with a void and that sinking feeling you have to go back to the drawing board. One way to avoid this is to stay in close touch from the minute you extend the offer, even if there’s a brief lag until their start day. Send them emails with some details on the company culture or to introduce them to team members – anything that will help ensure they feel the love right up until they show up for the first day.

Create “snackable content.”

Gen Z is much maligned for their short attention span, but it’s not entirely their fault. After all the world has sped up, and they have always been used to a quicker pace – their TV shows have even been faster-paced. But the truth is, they are less likely to read through lengthy, fact-packed documents. If you truly want to retain their interest, make the content short and sweet so that they can digest it in short sessions as their time allows.

Focus on culture and transparency.

Gen Z cares about the culture of the workplace they are joining; but it’s not just about Ping-Pong tables and the other trappings that many “cool” workplaces try to assume. They want to be sure that their employer is walking the talk in regards to corporate social responsibility. Companies can help cultivate their loyalty through letting Gen Z employees know from the start what your company does to embrace a culture that is good for the environment, both the working environment they encounter every day and the larger global environment that they care about.

As consulting firm Deloitte explains in its report “Generation Z Enters the Workforce,” “Major consumer brands have found they are better able to build customer loyalty through transparency. For example, Patagonia, an outdoor clothing company, has made its supply chain more transparent via the Footprint Chronicles to demonstrate alignment with its core values of sustainability and environmental stewardship. As employees begin to expect similar norms for their employment brands, the need for transparency will likely only increase.”

Cater to their information on-demand expectation.

Remember that this is the generation that has always had a “computer” in their pocket where they can immediately get the answer to any question. Make sure your intranet is intuitive so that new employees can easily find the answers to questions they have about benefits like disability insurance or retirement plans via a simple search that they can access from any device.

Use images to explain more involved concepts.

Gen Z is very visually oriented, so a picture can be worth even more than 1,000 words. Redeploy your employee training manuals into more visual options, from short videos to infographics that Gen Z workers can understand at a glance. If there is a more involved step in a process, such as how to sign up for benefits, create a short video tutorial. This is the YouTube generation after all.

Try gamification as a strategy.

Turning employee onboarding into a game isn’t just a smart strategy to keep them entertained – it helps with retention, too. And while it works for every generation – most of us tend to zone out when faced with too many words on a page — it’s especially important for Gen Z, who were raised on video games and appreciate being rewarded when they master something. Create quizzes that unlock fun secret games or allow them to level up by answering questions correctly.

As you incorporate multiple generations into the workplace, it’s smart to consider how all your communications strategies can be upgraded. Reaching Gen Z through engaging onboarding is one of the best ways to start off on the right foot.