Profound shifts in workforce dynamics are further illuminated by seismic changes shaping the employment preferences of Generation Z. A LinkedIn survey indicates that a staggering 77% of Gen Z in the UK is contemplating resigning, whilst a Glassdoor report forecasts Gen Zs overtaking Baby Boomers in full-time employment in early 2024. These statistics underscore the urgency for organisations to adapt to evolving workplace trends.
Generation Z is seeking more than just a pay-check – placing emphasis on meaningful work, flexibility, and continuous improvement. To tackle the potential high turnover rates of this cohort of workers, a strategic response is required.
This is where corporate alumni networks can step in and take canter stage in addressing these unique challenges posed by Gen Z in the workplace. Find out more about how alumni networks can meet these challenges below.
Understanding Generation Z
Born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, Generation Z enters the workforce with distinct characteristics that set them apart:
- Generation Z value salary less than any other generations, and see remote work and flexibility as a top priority, according to Deloitte.
- They are also not opposed to working a corporate job. However, they are also the least likely to make compromises for a workplace that doesn’t fit with their values.
- Gen Z workers care greatly about autonomy and work-life balance, with almost two-thirds preferring to work for themselves in a start-up. About half also report that they would prefer to quit their job if it interfered with their work-life balance.
- Career advancement also plays a prominent role in retaining Gen Z employees. They are seeking mentoring, training, and meaningful roles. 75% expect a promotion in the first year; 60% expect to change roles within the organisation within two years; and 50% admit they intend to look for a new job within three years.
- Clear and intentional communication is also a core value of this generation – When learning about a job, 51% of Gen Z wants information that is clear and concise and 69% of Gen Z wants to be in communication with their new employer at least 1-2 times per week. With this generation experiencing a current crisis of information overload, workplaces must now actively promote clear and intentional communication efforts.
All these factors contribute significantly to the current surge in contemplated job resignations, and the workplace challenges to acquire and retain top talent of Generation Z.
The High Turnover Challenge
Organizations face high turnover rates with Gen Z, prompting a need to rethink corporate strategies. The implications of such turnover extend beyond the immediate loss of talent, impacting organisational culture, knowledge transfer, and overall productivity.
This necessitates proactive measures to mitigate the potential negative effects on business continuity, and the high costs of continually recruiting talent. Considering that about 52% of Gen Z employees say their turnover could have been prevented, businesses need to meet these new expectations head-on. This includes implementing programs such as alumni networks.
Alumni Networks as a Strategic Response
Recognizing the challenges posed by high turnover rates, organisations are increasingly turning to alumni networks as a strategic response.
Establishing and nurturing connections with former employees prove instrumental in amending the adverse impacts of a high turnover. By maintaining positive relationships and utilizing the behaviours of Gen Z career advancements, alumni networks are a powerful online tool.
Adapting Alumni Networks to Gen Z’s Expectations
To ensure the efficacy of alumni networks, organisations must adapt them to align with the expectations of Generation Z. Implementing customisable programs like Alumni Reach can help your organisation provide features that can encourage continuous action from your Gen Z alumni.
Alumni networks not only provide a structured platform for ongoing engagement, but also serve as fertile ground for knowledge-sharing and potential re-hiring opportunities. This involves embracing technology for seamless communication, offering mentorship opportunities that resonate with Gen Z’s preference for mentorship, and promoting continuous learning initiatives.
By catering to the unique preferences of Gen Z alumni, organisations can build networks that foster sustained engagement and professional development.
Benefits of Strong Alumni Networks
Implementing an alumni network can bring about numerous benefits for organisations, particularly when it comes to engaging Gen Z alumni. Here are six detailed benefits:
1. Continuous Learning Opportunities:
Alumni networks provide a platform for ongoing education and skill development. This is crucial for Gen Z, particularly because they value ongoing learning and professional growth. Offering webinars, workshops, or online courses within the alumni network helps Gen Z alumni stay updated on industry trends and acquire new skills. This fosters a sense of progression and relevance, aligning with their desire for continuous learning.
2. Mentorship and Guidance:
Alumni networks facilitate mentorship programs, allowing experienced professionals to guide younger generations. Gen Z values mentorship and seeks guidance from experienced professionals. A structured mentorship program within the alumni network creates meaningful connections, providing valuable insights and support for Gen Z alumni in their career journeys.
3. Professional Networking Opportunities:
Alumni networks serve as a vast professional community, connecting current and former employees. Gen Z is known for valuing authentic connections. Providing networking opportunities within the alumni network allows them to expand their professional circle, share experiences, and seek advice. This fosters a sense of community and support.
4. Access to Exclusive Job Opportunities:
Organizations often consider former employees from alumni networks as a talent pool for re-hiring. Knowing that their alma mater actively considers and values former employees for new opportunities can significantly engage Gen Z. This adds a layer of loyalty and motivation, as they perceive the alumni network as a bridge to potential future career advancements.
5. Promoting Company Culture and Values:
Alumni networks reinforce and promote the values and culture of the organisation. Gen Z is attracted to workplaces with a keen sense of purpose and values. By maintaining a vibrant alumni network, organisations highlight their enduring commitment to these principles, reinforcing a positive image. This can lead to increased pride and engagement among Gen Z alumni.
6. Knowledge Retention and Institutional Memory:
Alumni networks function as repositories of institutional knowledge and corporate history. Gen Z, often dubbed as digital natives, values access to information. The alumni network can serve as a resource where Gen Z alumni can tap into the collective knowledge of the organisation. This not only aids in their professional development but also fosters a sense of connection to the organisation’s legacy.
Effective engagement strategies, mentorship programs, and initiatives promoting continuous learning can serve as actionable steps for organisations seeking to enhance their alumni networks. CASE made a compelling report on how Gen Z employees and graduates are kept engaged as alumni. This encompasses initiatives and alumni community networks, addressing both their personal and community needs.
Learning from the successes and challenges faced by others in similar endeavours enables organisations to refine their approach and maximize the potential of their alumni networks. Ensuring your alumni community’s success is crucial for maintaining an effective network.
Engage & Retain Gen Z Talent
As Gen Z transforms the modern workplace, alumni networks become vital for organizations dealing with high turnover challenges. Those that proactively adapt their alumni networks to align with the expectations of Gen Z stand to benefit from sustained engagement, knowledge retention, and a positive brand image.
An alumni network caters to Gen Z’s preferences—learning, mentorship, networking, career opportunities, values, and knowledge. Moreover, this engagement not only benefits individual alumni but also enhances the overall vitality and resilience of the organization.
As we walk through the evolving terrain of the future of work, alumni networks will play a pivotal role in engaging and retaining Gen Z talent, ensuring organisations thrive in the face of changing workforce dynamics. Book a demo with us to find out how we can make that happen for you.