Retain the Younger Generation of Restaurant Employees

July 12, 2023

The restaurant industry has historically dealt with labor shortages. Companies have always struggled with the seasonal nature of jobs and with replacing older, skilled laborers with younger workers. The industry will, however, start facing a larger problem.

According to a The Washington Post’s report, there are still 2 million job vacancies in the hospitality and leisure sector. Although several industries have bounced back from the pandemic, the leisure and hospitality industry is still lacking 500,000 employees compared to its workforce levels in 2020.

If the restaurant industry hopes to fill the skilled and unskilled labor gap, they will need to rethink what restaurant jobs look like and how they handle employees. Gen Z’s are the future of work, so how will your organization adapt to attract and retain the next generation of talent?

There is a disconnect between Gen Z’s and their older managers about what is important in the workplace. Gen Z’s crave flexibility, learning opportunities, and interpersonal connections more than any other generation before them.

Growing up through periods of massive uncertainty has created a generation that takes initiative and wants to have greater autonomy over their development. Managers are going to be challenged by Gen Z’s to have clearly defined role expectations for the current role, as well as other roles that the employee might be interested in working towards.

In addition to clear career paths, Gen Z employees also look for meaning and purpose in their work, more than previous generations. In fact, 63% of Gen Z feel it is very or extremely important to work for an employer that shares their values (EY). Managers may find success in connecting individual roles to the organization’s larger mission, emphasizing an employee’s impact and value to the team.

Over the past few years, there has been a greater focus on work-life balance and what that looks like. This is a plus for the restaurant industry because, unlike some office jobs, there is no pressure to take your work home with you. Once you’re done with work for the day, you’re done. While remote work isn’t an option, employers might consider flex time or compressed work weeks as a way to support their team members. Are there other benefits your organization can offer?

While there are themes of what Gen Z employees look for in their employee experience, it will ultimately come down to how connected their manager is to their needs. Managers can’t assume what’s important to their employees. Instead, they should have frequent, ongoing check-ins to identify what’s going well and what’s missing from the employee’s experience.

Gen Z’s impact on the workplace is going to evolve over time, so it’s crucial for organizations to continue to pulse on what’s important to their talent. Contact us today to learn more about our modern approach to performance management and development and how it solves for retention. Don’t just take our word for it, see what our Customers have to say.