Building a new generation hospitality workforce to drive your business forward
Over the past decades, Millennials have taken much of the limelight - and in the tourism industry, this has meant not only tailoring and reshaping services to accommodate them as customers, but also recognizing that they make up an increasing percentage of the workforce. We’ve worked diligently to understand and become accustomed to the work habits and attitudes of Millennials - and just like that - its already time for a new generation to enter the fold.
Meet Generation Z (Gen-Z): The newest member of the hospitality workforce, classified as the demographic born after 1996- is finally taking the spotlight from its more well-known predecessors, the Millennials.
While Millennials still dominate the workforce, we will soon see an influx of Gen-Z job seekers entering the tourism industry, surpassing Millennials as the most populous generation. Understanding this new generation will allow hospitality businesses to develop effective strategies for attracting, engaging, developing and retaining new team members -who will provide an excellent customer experience, resulting in increased business performance.
Attracting and recruiting the Gen-Z generation
Hospitality businesses must establish a stronger employment brand on the internet - going beyond a LinkedIn page or a Facebook page; maintain a positive image as an ideal employer across different online communities. Be sure to highlight the purpose and the mission of the business as communicated to the stakeholders, and maybe consider offering structured internship programs to local college students. Businesses must show genuine interest in the candidates and are willing to work with them in developing a personalized career plan.
Engaging & developing the Gen-Z generation
Despite the stereotype that Gen-Z will only communicate through a smartphone, they like to talk face to face. They prefer in-person discussion over instant messaging or email. While Millennials are more focused on teams, research shows that Gen-Z wants to be judged on their own merits. Because they’ve experienced rapidly changing technology trends this generation also understands that there’s a need for constant skill development in order to stay relevant. Gen-Z seeks a strong workplace culture. They expect their employers to value creating a team culture, rather than just focusing on the tasks at hand. Gen-Z expects quick advancement in the workplace. Like millennials, Gen-Z is invested in personal and career development.
Managing and retaining Gen-Z generation
Gen-Z will look for more independence in their career than Millennials. Members of Gen-Z are achievement-driven and don’t want someone telling them what to do from an ivory tower. That said, they do value stability and support. Rather than issuing marching orders, focus on mentoring. Help them work toward long-term goals through well-defined markers, but don’t take away the opportunity for creativity. Millennials want to make a difference and an impact in the workplace. While Gen-Z holds those same values, they view job security even higher.
As Generations begin to work together in the tourism industry, it’s important for owners, managers and supervisors to understand what each generation expects from their careers. Success will be determined by how your business celebrates each generation and their ability to cultivate positive change. It is up to you to let each generation bring their strengths to the table in order to foster long-term business growth. With their fresh take on hospitality, Millennials and Gen-Z can receive the baton and take the tourism industry to new heights.
Brooke Meyer is the managing partner of Caymera International, a Grand Cayman-based hospitality and tourism consulting and advisory firm and welcomes the opportunity to share her career testimony with Millennials or Gen-Zers interested in pursuing a career in tourism industry.