3 Things Top Talent Want in a Job

Is this what everyone wants in a job? A company with a 97 percent retention rate shares how to attract and retain great people...especially Millennial and Generation Z top talent.

3 Things Top Talent Want in a Job

Would it be impactful for organizations to attract more talent that resembled the top 10 percent of their best employees?

Of course.

However, attracting top Millennial and Generation Z talent seems to mystify so many employers. And even more perplexing, especially in a labor market that continues to tighten, is retaining top Millennial and Generation Z talent

What's a company to do?

The company that has achieved a retention rate of 97 percent among corporate staff and 96 percent among franchisees, Chick-fil-A, may have the blueprint needed to attract and retain top next-generation talent.

Chick-fil-A is the most frequented fast-food restaurant in 38 of 50 U.S. states and in 2019 is expected to become the third-largest chain by sales in the United States, behind McDonald's and Starbucks.

Committed to building upon their existing success, Chick-fil-A recently conducted hundreds of interviews and a national survey with thousands of participants to understand what made an organization a talent magnet.

Beyond the non-negotiables of fair and competitive wages, a safe place to work, training and tools to do their job well, a positive culture, and a good brand reputation, Chick-fil-A uncovered the following essentials for attracting and retaining top talent.

3 Things Top Talent Want in a Job
1. Better Boss

Sixty-five percent of Generation Z say the people whom they work with would enable their best work.

While most talent may desire a better boss, it's top talent who view effective leaders as a must and won't tolerate a lousy boss.

When it comes to a better boss, Chick-fil-A discovered that top talent wants a boss who demonstrates care. Caring bosses invest time to get to know the hopes, aspirations, dreams, and even the families of those they lead.

Here's how Claude Silver, Chief Heart Officer at VaynerMedia, uses radical candor to demonstrate care for her Millennial-majority workforce.

2. Brighter Future

One of the top three things Generation Z looks for in an employer is professional development opportunities. 

Top talent have a proclivity to be future oriented. A strong indicator that someone might be a top performer is they will ask future-focused questions like these during a job interview:

How will this role/organization/employer...

  • prepare me for future opportunities?
  • challenge me?
  • develop me?
  • grow me? 

Top talent is drawn to employers that can clearly and confidently highlight the ways in which the organization will challenge them with compelling work, aid their personal growth, and support their career advancement.

Number one and two correlate with the view of Patty McCord's, the former Chief Talent Officer of Netflix, that talent density (better bosses) and appealing challenges (brighter future) are the strongest elements to attract and retain talent.

3. Bigger Vision

Seventy-five percent of Generation Z (and 70 percent of Millennials) want their work to have meaning. And Millennials are more likely to stay with an employer longer if that company "regularly engages in social issues."

Employers win top talent when they can connect the company's mission and values to top talent's desire to make a difference in the world. More specifically employers must answer what the company does, why they do it, and how individuals fit in.

Vision ultimately energizes. According to organizational psychologist, Adam Grant, workers are energized and experience less burn out when they focus on the people who benefit from their work. Workers effort was boosted when they journaled daily about how they contributed to others.

Organizations and leaders should make it a priority to help top talent connect the line between the work they do and how it positively impacts others inside or outside the organization.

These Things are Generational Agnostic but...

Doesn't every generation want these three things in a job?

Sure, but for Millennials and Generation Z, it's a condition of employment. For previous generations, these were "nice-to-haves" in a job, but the emerging generations are demanding employers provide these three things.

Why? Because if a company doesn't provide these things, Millennials and Generation Z are a finger swipe away from finding an employer or entrepreneurial venture that does provide a better boss, brighter future, and bigger vision.

Make Sure to Avoid This Mistake

Don't make the mistake of sharing these three job items after someone has been hired.

Proactively cover these topics throughout the hiring process and share the story online. This is especially important to attract top Millennial and Generation Z talent, as 40 percent of Generation Z say they would use YouTube to determine if they want to work for a company while 37 percent would use Instagram.

In Summary...

You may be wondering, "Why should I cater to the individual, shouldn't job seekers cater to the employer?"

Today's highly-connected and tight labor market has shifted the power to the individual. If the goal is to attract and retain top talent, employers must focus on what top talent values instead of what the company has to offer.

Connect people to a compelling vision (bigger vision), encourage and celebrate their progress towards the vision (brighter future), and care personally about their journey (better boss) in order to win top talent.

As a Millennial and Generation Z keynote speaker and trainer, I help companies lead, engage, and sell to the emerging generations. If you'd like help solving tough generational challenges inside your organization, click here.


Ryan Jenkins



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