Human Resources, Onboarding

Onboarding Millennials and Generation Zs

Millennials will soon make up the majority of the workforce, and Generation Z (Gen Z) is right behind them. What types of challenges are employers facing when it comes to engaging Millennial and Gen Z new hires in the onboarding process? We have a few tips for optimizing your process for these new hires.

These younger generations of new hires have grown up in a digital world, and that is presenting new challenges for employers in terms of engaging new hires in the onboarding process and retaining them for the long term, says Doug Stephen, senior vice president of CGS’s Learning Group.

For example, these workers would much rather go on their smartphones or tablets to fill out interactive benefit enrollment forms and to sign employment documentation than use pen and paper, Stephen says. “They are fully connected all the time.”

“It is easier and much less stressful for them to go to an app or get information on their phone,” Stephen says, adding that the more you can provide new hire forms and training in a self-serve environment, the more comfortable Millennial and Gen Z new hires will be.

Whenever possible, expedite the process of getting new hires ready to be productive in their jobs—for example, provide them with tips of the day via Twitter, success of the day via Instagram, or short training video vignettes to learn the best techniques for performing particular tasks from coaches and mentors, he says.

HR and training professionals who do not adjust their onboarding processes for these technologically-savvy new hires risk losing them. “They will leave. They’ll get frustrated. They’ll look for employment elsewhere,” Stephen says.

Although change may seem daunting to employers, he says it does not have to be. He recommends rolling out these changes—whether digital forms or utilizing social media for daily communications—in phases. “You can move things gradually.” With each new addition, you are adding to your “arsenal of digital tools” that will benefit future new hires.

There is still a place for classroom training and face-to-face interaction during onboarding, and making the onboarding process effective and efficient for new hires is time well spent, Stephen says. Onboarding is “the lens into the company. This is how they see the company for the first time and how they see the company going forward. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.”