The old adage about making new friends while keeping longtime ones isn’t just true for social groups; it’s relevant for hiring employees too.

It’s vital to appeal equally to industry vets and the new labor pool represented by Generation Z, the approximately 61 million potential employees born between 1997 and 2012. But, as you might imagine, generational differences mean that attracting these groups requires different approaches. Here are some tips for combining classic recruiting strategies with new ways to attract Gen Z workers.

Tighten Up

The first step in attracting employees of any age is to provide a clear, enticing job listing that includes the requirements and expectations as well as compensation and benefits, while also giving a taste of your restaurant’s culture.

Gen Z are used to moving through online experiences quickly, so it’s important that your application process be one that they can navigate in about 10 minutes or less. Eliminate redundancies and ask for only the information you truly need to evaluate applicants. Allow applicants to provide photos of resumes and other important documents and make your application compatible with mobile devices, as many potential candidates may access the application from their phones.

Once you receive the application, respond promptly with next steps, even something as simple as a message letting the applicant know you’ve received their materials and when they can expect to hear from you.

A Welcoming Environment

It’s important to understand the values of your potential employees so that you can understand how to attract them. Across the board, but especially when it comes to Gen Z, compensation and benefits are the highest priority. Create a competitive compensation package to attract employees of any generation. In addition to cash and benefits, look for other value-added opportunities, like gym memberships or subscriptions to wellness programs such as meditation apps.

When it comes to Gen Z, elements like a friendly, familial environment and ways to give back to the community are also big values. Younger generations also identify diversity in the workplace as an important factor when choosing a job.

Creating a warm, welcoming environment means establishing that your restaurant is a safe space. Make sure you have a team that can handle issues as they arise and institute training to create a thoughtful workplace.

Path for Advancement

According to a recent study, a third of all current Gen Z restaurant employees hope to pursue careers in the industry. Show them the way forward with a clear path for advancement in your business. This starts with excellent training and mentorship.

Call on your long-standing employees to serve as mentors for the new generation (and compensate them accordingly) and offer opportunities for continuing education for any employees who show an interest. Good managers and mentors can make all the difference for this employee pool, so it’s important to choose the right people to fill these important roles.

Cross train new employees in different areas of the restaurant, providing them important perspectives and insight that can help them work toward their career goals. And make sure to create a structure for regular evaluation as well as less formal acknowledgement of a job well done. That positive feedback means a lot to younger employees.

Community Commitment

Personal values are extremely important to Gen Z, so make sure to paint the picture of how your restaurant gives back to the community, uses ethical sourcing for ingredients, and is socially responsible. Include examples in your application materials that show your positive reputation in the community.

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