Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a crucial role in the economy, accounting for about 48% of employment opportunities in Malaysia. However, attracting and retaining Gen Z talents, who are critical to achieving digital transformation and driving growth, can be challenging for SMEs. Compared to bigger companies, SMEs may not have the financial resources to offer competitive salaries and benefits packages. Additionally, they may lack the expertise in attracting and retaining young talent.
To overcome these challenges, here are 4 tips for SMEs to attract and retain Gen Z talents.
Show them the purpose and impact
Many people claim that Gen Z is entitled, but our research has shown that they have a different perspective on work. They are not just looking for a job; instead, they want to be part of a transformative process if the company’s values align with their own. Gen Z is looking to work for companies that have a clear mission and vision that resonates with their own values. For SMEs to attract Gen Z, they need to be open and transparent about their company’s purpose, values, and vision, and show how the candidate fits into that vision.
For example, a tech startup can explain how its product or service can help solve a particular societal problem, and how the candidate can contribute as a programmer. This purpose can motivate Gen Z to contribute to something bigger than themselves, making them feel like they’re making a difference.
While it may be challenging for SMEs to match the salaries of bigger companies, it’s important to offer compensation packages that align with industry standards. SMEs can also offer other non-monetary benefits that align with Gen Z’s work culture.
For example, SMEs can offer flexible working hours or remote work arrangements to allow Gen Z employees to work on their own terms. They can also provide opportunities to work on exciting projects that can provide more work-life balance, which is crucial for Gen Z’s work culture.
Listen & gather feedback
Gen Z has their unique set of challenges, perspectives, and abilities. It’s essential to listen to their needs and concerns, communicate regularly, and understand their motivations.
For example, SMEs can host regular check-ins with the team to gather feedback and ideas for improvement. By taking the time to listen to employees’ feedback and concerns, SMEs can create a conducive work environment that is flexible, dynamic, and open to change. This approach helps employees feel heard and valued, leading to increased engagement and job satisfaction.
Provide growth opportunities
Gen Z values continuous learning and growth opportunities. SMEs can provide access to e-learning platforms, offer mentorship opportunities, and encourage cross-functional collaboration to help employees develop new skills.
For example, a startup can provide access to online learning platforms such as Udemy or Coursera, offering courses in relevant areas such as marketing, technology, or management. They can also offer mentorship opportunities, pairing junior employees with more experienced team members to guide them in their professional development.
SMEs face significant challenges when it comes to hiring, engaging, and retaining Gen Z talent. However, it is important to invest in young talent who can bring a fresh perspective, drive digital transformation and growth for the company. By providing the right balance of purpose, compensation, communication, and training, SMEs can create a work environment that attracts and retains top Gen Z talent to build a sustainable business.
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