Hannah Lentz on Gen Z's Impact on Talent Management and A Radical Idea for Improving Their Expectations
February 21, 2024
Hannah Lentz has spent her career in high growth agencies where the only constant is change.

There is a lot of buzz about Gen Z’s impact in the workplace. But unbeknownst to some, the youngest generation of talent has done more than any other generation to demand authenticity and accountability from their employers.

"Sometimes you just need a little nudge to break out of your conditioned thinking I have Gen Z to thank for that nudge and for being brave enough to say out loud, all the things that everyone else is thinking anyway, but we've been conditioned not to say out loud."

What happens when we pay employees fairly? And we're not afraid to talk about it? 

It's a shift, but I think it's really exciting. There's been a lot written lately about the importance of the perception of fairness in the workplace. And compensation is just one piece of it. But in workplaces, where people feel there is fairness, there's more productivity, there's better retention, and there's higher engagement. Obviously, this is highly important when we're talking about diversity and pay equity. Going from someone who has been nervous about people talking about salaries to someone who thinks it's so great to have transparency, and for people to know what's happening out there in the industry, has been a big step for me. 

More and more states are enacting legislation that requires salary ranges and job postings. If you live in New York, you're there. This issue is coming for you. And as a company, you would do well to embrace it and make it a priority to really align on a page transparency strategy that works for your company. There's a lot of information out there about pay transparency and different ways that you can approach it as a company. The companies that aren't going to figure out this are gonna fall further and further behind in the competition for talent.

Why is this important? 

It all goes back to the fact that authenticity is the most important value for Gen Z. I think it's something that we all want from our employers, but Gen Z is taking matters into their own hands, and demanding it. Depending on the research that you're looking at, Gen Z is more concerned with having a fulfilling career than making money. The youngest generation of workers are demanding that companies match up to their expectations. And you know, what happens if they don't? They quit. They quit after two weeks, or they quit the day before they started because they got a better offer. Or they quit after three months. 

Our youngest employees feel no obligation to stay in a job. Because career norms demand it, they start a job. But, if it doesn't align with what they expected from the interview process, they quit. They start a job. It doesn't they don't connect with their manager, they quit.  Or even worse, quiet quit. The first time we had an employee that quit after a week,  I was shocked but then it happened again, and then it happened again. And then I thought that it was a thing that we needed to think about. 

What can you do as a company to avoid this scenario?

We all know the cost of hiring, the cost of onboarding new talent. There's so much lost in translation, and there's so much money spent that this kind of turn is not ideal.

There are really two things to think about when we talk about how to deal with this issue. One is  table stakes, tighten up your recruiting process. Make sure the expectations you set with candidates are 100% aligned with their experience once you've started the job. Make sure your onboarding is flawless, implement a buddy program, make sure that your hiring managers take accountability with their new hires, keep checking in with people even three months and six months in a year. It's the right thing to do to make sure that when people join your company, they feel like they belong. 

The second one is a little bit more radical. And we're still kind of exploring how to think about this at my company, but what happens if you embrace the churn? 

Are there roles in your company where you could actually benefit from high turnover and where people stay in those roles longer than they should? Perhaps, because there are no more senior roles that they can we can easily promote them into? Are there advantages to shorter term employment? 

It's definitely food for thought. And I think some companies have already embraced this. You're seeing agencies that are using freelancers more and more to scale up or down. You're seeing companies with apprenticeship programs that bring in younger employees and then feed them out into the market. I think that if we take a little bit of importance off of doubling down on retention than we can sort of make some targeted strategic decisions about certain roles in your company where that sort of in-and-out is actually an advantage. And with a completely locked down onboarding and exit process where knowledge isn't lost, it can be it can be a real advantage for companies. 

Food for thought on that one. 


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