14 Mar TeamZ: Five ways senior living communities can attract and retain Gen Z workers
Gen Z, the newest arrivals in the workforce, are digital natives raised with the constant communications of the handheld internet, utterly familiar with the gig economy and if they’re like any other generation, may still be figuring out what they want to do for a living.
3rdPlus recently worked on a strategic project for the Granger Cobb Institute of Senior Living at Washington State University. They performed focus groups of college students to learn more about their perceptions of working in the senior living sector. (By the way, Granger Cobb is one of only three schools of its kind in the country.)
What else defines this generation? They are natural foodies. They also value compassion and social responsibility.
Innovative senior living communities can use the values of compassion and social responsibility inherent in senior living to reel in this energetic and conscientious new worker.
#1: Get school spirit. Like all of us early on, Gen Z might not have picked a path. Instead, they’ll look for workplace mentorship, leadership and education. As the cost of higher education continues to soar, disrupter senior living companies should see the value of in-house educational programs and establish clear paths for advancement within their companies. In addition, certification courses and other forms of continued education will retain and enrich your Z teams and strengthen your bottom line.
#2: Sizzle sells…and retains. If the job a TeamZ member is hired for is not ideal for them, Zs will seek another role. For a generation raised on constant communication, it’s a smart plan to perform routine evaluations (think quarterly or more) so that your supervisors and Gen Z workers have a regular dialog about responsibilities and success. Then, Z workers and managers can cooperatively assess and explore new opportunities before problems or boredom arise. Gen Z also thrives on praise and positive feedback.
Savvy hiring managers provide an internal job pool providing avenues for changing roles without quitting the company. Ensure your job boards and interdepartmental job transfer and training programs are well built, smooth and, most of all, celebrated in your organization.
#3: Think like a start-up. Raised by work-from-home parents in the gig economy, Gen Z wants to build a customized schedule that aligns with personal time. This may appear to be the most challenging aspect of the new workforce, but it might be an opportunity for us in senior living. As all-day dining and grab-and-go options, barista carts and other venues have become the new standard, and you’ll have a staff willing to work a range of hours to fill these posts.
Think like a gig business: Revise your staffing to bring teams in at peak times and design schedules to meet demand. Some gig businesses offer incentives for hard-to-fill shifts. What could you do to be more innovative in your staffing? It’s also crucial to deftly use online schedulers to meet your new workforce where they are to hire and retain Z workers successfully. (Hint: it’s their phones.)
#4: Diversity is more than a website picture. The Gen Z interviewee will observe your workplace, looking for diversity and will make decisions about your corporate culture and values based on how well you embrace and celebrate those values and those of all cultures who call your halls their workspace. Fortunately, we’re senior living, an industry built on care and compassion, and is often even non-profit. These characteristics square well with Z job seekers. But, of course, it goes without saying to remember that as much as we respect our elders, we should show respect to the new workforce; they get plenty of criticism already.
Communities need to foster an inclusive atmosphere that will create a thriving workplace. For example, check out a dining conversion care study we conducted with Aldersgate Senior Living in North Carolina. We helped reboot their dining program from contracted to self-operated, and inclusivity and equity were central to Aldersgate’s culture.
#5: Blur the borders. Z workers might not even know about senior living and may not be looking for work where you are looking for workers. Make sure your recruiting is casting a net into niche areas. For example, cooks and dining staff look for work on sites dedicated to food service. Hotel staff looks at hotel jobs. Both are well suited to many of the roles available in your community—research job boards to ensure you’re approachable and viable to Z workers.
Bonus round. See something, say something. What would happen if you encountered excellent service later today? Culinary Coach recommends that our clients carry specialized business cards with a QR code that links to their community’s job board.
We are here for you. Feel free to drop us a line and let us know if this article was helpful or if there is any way we can help you. The Culinary Coach is a hybrid dining management system that’s not a food contractor or consultant that tells you what to do and then leaves you on your own. Check out more of our services here.