4 Tips for Getting More From Generation Z Retail Employees

4 Tips for Getting More From Generation Z Retail Employees

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As a retailer, no doubt you have some members of Generation Z on your staff — and if you don’t, you will soon. The millennials’ little siblings are entering the workforce (at least part-time) and their needs, strengths and expectations differ greatly from those of their older brothers and sisters.

The exact demarcation of Generation Z varies depending on whom you talk to, but the U.S. Census Bureau says Gen Z started in 2001, though some say it includes people born in the late 1990s. (In other words, today’s teenagers.) Here are four tips that will help you get the most from your Gen Z retail employees.

What Generation Z Retail Employees Want

Get Up to Speed on Technology

This generation grew up with smartphones in their hands. Accepting mobile payments, using tablets to look up product information or grabbing a phone to check stock levels are second nature to Generation Z employees. By the same token, if your store is still using outdated technology, your business will be far less appealing as an employer to this age group. Take advantage of their tech savvy to improve your customer service with faster checkout and easy access to information. Implement inventory management software and loyalty program apps that can help save you time and build a loyal customer base.

Offer Job Security

Despite popular stereotypes, Gen Z is eager for job security, says Generational expert David Stillman. He believes this is because their Generation X parents dealt with a tough economy and passed their competitive nature onto their kids. That means Gen Z workers don’t mind starting at the bottom — but they want to be rewarded for their work with job security.

Give Them Some Creative Freedom

This generation grew up surrounded by options to customize everything they buy to their unique tastes. Stillman, the coauthor of “Gen Z at Work“, says it’s equally important to let them customize their jobs. Instead of a uniform, try a dress code that lets them express some individuality. Give Gen Z employees the opportunity to suggest ways things could be done better, whether it’s revamping your window display or changing your product mix. While it’s probably not a good idea to put a teenager in charge of your social media, you can take advantage of their digital and social media savvy by having them take Instagram-worthy photos or create Facebook Live videos.

Help Them Grow

Generation Z employees are faced with endless options, input and images online and on social media. With so many choices, it’s only natural they don’t want to be locked into one narrow set of job duties. Instead, they usually want to try out as many roles as possible. Cross-training your teenage employees in each other’s job duties not only keeps them happy, but also benefits your store — if someone calls in sick, someone else can easily fill their shoes. Provide lots of feedback, encouragement and advice to help them get better at their jobs, and they’ll reward you with loyalty and hard work.

Young Employee Photo via Shutterstock

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Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.