How to attract newer generations while retaining your current workforce
As we move closer to 2030, a "Silver Tsunami" is rushing in, or rather out, as the Baby Boomer generation reaches 65 years of age and prepares for retirement. According to the Pew Research Center, the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this mass exodus, with the number of retired U.S. adults ages 55 and older growing by 3.5 million in the last two years. To maintain a viable workforce, warehouse managers must adapt and overcome these new challenges by retaining their older, more experienced workforce while changing recruiting tactics to attract younger generations.
Attracting Millennials and Gen Z workers
A recent Statista report on U.S. population distribution shows that the Millennial and Gen Z generations comprise over 42% of the current population. As Baby Boomers and Gen Xers age out of the workforce, distribution centers must focus their attention on attracting younger candidates. This requires managers to adapt their recruitment strategies to modern times and newer mindsets.
- Connecting with candidates on their preferred platform is a vital aspect of recruiting talent, especially with younger, more digitally-native job-seekers. While classified job ads and job fairs might have worked for older generations, reaching Millennials and Gen Zers requires a more digital approach. Social media platforms like Instagram, and TikTok are great channels for communicating with the incoming, younger workforce.
- Social responsibility is a big deal to Millennials and Gen Zers. Younger workers no longer consider companies based solely on their products and services. They want to know how your company is contributing to its workers, the local community and society at large. While net-zero carbon emissions are an unattainable goal for most warehouses, there are plenty of other opportunities to reflect your company's commitment to ethical practices and a positive social impact. For example, you could promote volunteer opportunities and local charity drives. Demonstrating ethical business practices also means taking care of your employees to ensure a healthy work-life balance.
- Gamifying the workplace is another fun way to attract younger generations, especially considering how many Millennials and Gen Zers play video games. To do this, you could create incentive programs where workplace productivity and efficiency are rewarded. This could mean implementing achievement-based perks, incorporating 'score boards' with live employee metrics or creating 'specialist' positions within the distribution center. These goals provide employees with clear objectives to work towards while ensuring the workplace is a fun environment.
Retaining current workforce
Although recruiting young talent is essential to any organization, it's equally important not to forget about your current employees. Retaining your existing workforce will ensure your warehouse has time to adjust to these new challenges while providing new employees with incentives to stay with your company.
- Recognition and feedback go a long way in ensuring your workforce feels valued. Employees of all ages want to know that management will listen to their ideas and concerns, taking action when necessary. Be sure to check in with your employees regularly, not just about work. By recognizing your employees as people first and having an open line of communication, you create a more positive work environment which, in turn, increases workplace morale and productivity.
- Benefits and additional training are vital to recruiting and retaining talent, both young and old. Comprehensive healthcare, 401(k) plans and retirement benefits are just a few examples of programs that entice employees to join your team and stay with the company for years to come. Older employees who are intimidated by new technology can also benefit from additional training classes on computers, mobile devices and software. It's never too late to learn a new skill, and by training older workers, you show your company's willingness to invest in its employees.
- Accommodations for health-related issues, disabilities and flexible schedules are also great ways to keep your current workforce while attracting new candidates. As your workforce ages, health issues and disabilities may prevent older employees from working in the same capacity as they once did. Accommodating these differences with increased seating, more frequent breaks or assisted listening devices are just a few ways to empower your employees to do their best. Allowing for flexible scheduling with reduced or staggered hours can also improve your employees' work-life balance and enable them to work the hours where they can be most productive. All of these methods demonstrate your company's commitment to fostering a healthy, happy workforce that will not only attract new recruits but retain your existing employees as well.