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Attracting & Retaining a New Generation of Workers Through Digital-Forward Practices

As the current workforce continues to evolve in the skilled trades industry, the demand for qualified personnel has increased. Take a look at some practices that will support your recruiting and retention efforts.

young man works on tablet in a power storage room to represent Gen Z technicians

In recent years, the skilled trade industry has been facing some major challenges. Engagement levels among workers have been low, and there has been a wave of resignations and worker empowerment. As a result, the demand for qualified personnel has increased. Now, as a new generation emerges and enters the workforce, there is an opportunity to change the narrative around trade labor and decrease labor shortages to ensure a strong, skilled workforce for the future.

Generation Z employees are digital natives who value innovation and technology in the workplace. Recruiting and retaining Gen Z talent in the current market will mean standing out to this new generation of trade workers. How? Nearly 91% of Gen Zers say that technology plays a role in their decision-making when it comes to choosing an employer. To win over quality talent, organizations must lead with digital-forward practices that align with Gen Z values as they will be looking for their employers to do things differently than in years past.

Recruiting Opportunities

As the workforce continues to evolve, it’s more important than ever to find effective ways to recruit Gen Z trade workers. One of the best ways to reach this demographic is through digital engagement. In order to reach them where they’re spending the majority of their time, consider using social media platforms like TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram to promote job openings and showcase your company culture and benefits. Another great way to connect with potential recruits is by building relationships with trade schools and high schools. By getting involved with these programs, you’ll be able to directly engage with and start to build relationships with students who are interested in pursuing a career in the trades.

When it comes time to apply, Gen Z is accustomed to digital everything, so ultimately it’s important to ensure their recruiting experience is made easy with technology: digital application process, video interviews, easy online scheduling tools, digital signature/fill options for onboarding documents (gone are the days of printing and scanning), etc. Each step of the process should be made seamless by integrating technology that makes the candidates’ lives easier.

Retaining Talent

After you get Gen Z talent in the door, you’ll need to continue to hold a digital-first mindset. This starts with providing technology forward training to ensure they are set up for success from day one. It’s also important to continue investing in their development so they can grow along with the company. This may mean rethinking the tool you use to train and develop talent to provide a better employee experience that will keep people around for the long haul.

Technology-Forward Training
Gearing your training programs toward Gen Z will likely take some adjusting. They prefer more independence in their learning and self-serve options so they can learn at their own pace. Digital, self-service learning options also allow employees to learn on the go–not limiting them to sitting in front of a computer to complete their training. This is why mobile optimization for any training platform is key—it allows on-the-job training options that typical training programs can’t.

But convenience isn’t all this generation wants–they also prefer to learn in bite-size increments that are easier to digest. For more complicated trades, it’s especially important to simplify training and make it more accessible to those who learn at different speeds. This effort may require new digital tools, apps, and training timelines, but the investment will be well worth it if you are able to properly train and retain this new digital-first generation.

Development & Career Path
Another unique aspect of Gen Z is their expectations around career advancement. They tend to want faster development and quicker promotions than past generations. How do you navigate these expectations? Keep them learning. They are motivated for career advancement and crave more personalized experiences in the workplace. It’s key to understand that one size won’t fit all when it comes to career paths for this new generation. Gen Z values their individuality, so unique development plans and flexible arrangements for individuals will be most attractive to them. You can use technology to support individual development with things like learning portals that track personal goals and benchmarks and gamification in workplace training.

Lastly, Gen Z workers are changing jobs more frequently than ever, so it’s important to keep up with development and career path trends so your organization doesn’t fall behind. It’s also vital to keep your benefits and pay scale in range as time goes on to stay competitive with what you can offer. Essentially, you’ll need to have your finger on the pulse of what’s working best for this new generation and be willing to do things differently to keep them engaged—and this will no doubt involve keeping up with technological advancements in your industry to ensure your employees have the best experience possible.

How BILT Can Help Achieve Digital Transformations for the Next Generation of Professionals.

Digital work instructions on the BILT app provide a better way to train and engage trade employees. The easy-to-use app helps teams learn on the go with its dynamic platform that trains from anywhere at any time. While classroom or online training is helpful, BILT complements two-dimensional learning with real-world, 3D visual training that supports the changing needs of your business.

BILT 3D interactive intelligent instructions can also eliminate or minimize the need to rely on paper manuals that may be outdated or lack the necessary details and can help fill knowledge gaps that paper instructions can’t properly communicate. Any hands-on repairs, maintenance, or assembly your teams perform is made easier, simpler, and more effective the first time with BILT for Pros.

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