Why are younger workers such a retention risk?

It’s hard to attract top talent, and for some employers, it’s even harder to keep it. That may be especially true for younger workers, as new research shows that one in four Gen Zers might hit the road sooner rather than later.

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According to a 2023 study from workforce resilience platform meQuilibrium, 23% of younger workers are contemplating a job switch in the next six months. (That number drops to 13.8% when taking in the full range of nearly 5,500 respondents.)

Resilience building pays off for Gen Z workers

Template with a crowd of business people standing in a line. Dr. Brad Smith, the organization’s chief science officer, told HRE the dynamics of the contemporary work environment demand a nuanced approach to managing performance. While talent and experience are crucial to employee success, they may not be the sole determinants of satisfaction. The emerging game-changer is employees’ ability to bounce back swiftly from setbacks and challenges.

Smith says professional excellence isn’t just about knocking out tasks when times are good. Teams also need individuals who can rebound and return to high performance after facing inevitable setbacks. The resilience factor is emerging as a critical differentiator in identifying employees who can thrive in the fast-paced and unpredictable nature of the modern landscape.

While all employee segments can benefit from resilience support, the need seems stronger for Gen Z workers. While more mature employees cite manager support, job autonomy and location issues as key drivers in retention and productivity, younger workers have different priorities. Gen Z, says the data, takes a disproportionate productivity hit from their own mental health concerns as well as anxiety about current events.

Why this matters to HR

Smith suggests that organizations need to prioritize two fundamental aspects to navigate these changing performance and retention dynamics successfully: enhancing employee resilience and fostering their commitment to self-care. These aspects contribute positively to a workforce that excels in tasks and exhibits the adaptability to prevail over challenges.

As the job market becomes increasingly competitive, companies are recognizing the importance of holistic employee wellbeing if they want to attract younger workers. With Gen Z workers expected to make up 30% of the workforce by 2030, employers should consider targeted assistance to help employees navigate stress and build purpose, as noted in the report. According to meQuilibrium, benefits such as mentorship, financial advice and wellbeing perks customized for Gen Z workers can beef up retention and foster professional development.

Jill Barthhttps://hrexecutive.com/
Jill Barth is HR Tech Editor of Human Resource Executive. She is an award-winning journalist with bylines in Forbes, USA Today and other international publications. With a background in communications, media, B2B ecommerce and the workplace, she also served as a consultant with Gallagher Benefit Services for nearly a decade. Reach out at [email protected].