How to Engage the Emerging Gen Z in the Hospitality Industry

March 22, 2022 | 1539 Views

How to Engage the Emerging Gen Z in the Hospitality Industry

Patrick Yearout, FMP, CHT

Director of Innovation, Recruiting, and Training | Ivar's & Kidd Valley Restaurants

This article first appeared in Hotel Management Magazine here.

Hospitality companies have recruited millennials to their teams for years, but while efforts were focused on this generation, a newer one has recently emerged. Generation Z, with members born between 1997 and 2012, have succeeded millennials as the youngest in the workforce, and hoteliers will need to push themselves forward if they want to attract and retain this latest wave.

Here are three suggestions to help achieve that goal:

1. Tech Review

Generation Z has never known a world without the internet and social media, and members prefer using technology to communicate and gather information. Has your company been keeping up or do you still only accept paper job applications? Do you update team members by begging managers to print emails and post them on dusty bulletin boards? If so, it’s time to review your internal tech stack and discover how you can digitally transform the ways you connect.

2. Flexible Work

Hotel companies aren’t just competing with other hospitality employers for Gen Z workers; you’re also up against flexible gig economy opportunities like DoorDash drivers and Instacart shoppers. How are you responding to this challenge? Do you post schedules two to four weeks ahead so employees have time to evaluate the viability of their shifts? Do you make it easy for staff to pick up or swap shifts or is there a long admin process? If your company still abides by the mantra that the manager dictates and controls the schedule, then you’re going to miss out on newer employees who can go elsewhere for a job that caters to them.

3. Involvement

A key method to engage with Generation Z will be involving them in your organization’s decision-making processes. If assembling a committee to design new uniforms, for example, don’t just include the executives and 40-something district managers; ask your younger staff members to participate as well. Similarly, if you are working on new products, recruiting strategies, or workplace design, seek out the Gen Z perspective, either informally during site visits or formally through a survey. Allowing them to contribute creative ideas will help with eventual buy-in and acknowledge their importance.

Just as adaptions were made when millennials began entering the workforce in the late ’90s and early 2000s, hoteliers will need to pay attention as more and more Gen Zers become eligible for employment so that you can evolve to meet their needs and create a rewarding workplace experience for everyone.

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Comments (1)

  1. Tammy Calhoun:
    Mar 23, 2022 at 09:34 AM

    Thank you Patrick! Nice Blog!