Generation Z, or Gen Z, is the newest cohort to join the workforce. Gen Z is the blanket term used to describe those born between 1997 and the early 2000s and is the most populous generation with over 60 million members in the USA alone. They follow Millennials, Gen X, and, prior to that, Boomers.
Gen Z will be, if they're not already, the most influential generation to enter the workforce.
According to a report released by The Thought Exchange, the world's first and only anti-bias enterprise discussion management platform: "Unlike some generations of the past, Gen Z has no plans of quietly entering the workforce ‚ and, with The Great Resignation underway, it's imperative that employers take note."
The report, titled "Gen Z at Work," suggests that Gen Z will value career growth and personal development, seek remote or hybrid working, and are collectively pushing back against the ‚'live to work' mentality of their predecessors. The report also finds that a defining characteristic of Gen Z is the need to feel valued, included, and empowered at work.
The Thought Exchange report found:
- 96% said it's important they feel valued, included, and empowered at work.
- 85% value working at a company with a mission that makes their work feel important.
- 84% say that salary outlook contributed to their choice of career path. However, workplace perks, benefits, and personal needs are often so sought after that members of Gen Z are willing to take a pay cut to have these needs met.
- 80% prefer a job that allows them to explore and grow various skill sets rather than a job that is focused on a particular set of skills.
- 79% value having a manager that cares about their personal development as much as their professional development.
- 46% value wellness stipends.
Working from home:
- 71% of those who work remotely or hybrid say they would not return to a fully in-person workplace.
- 85% said work-life balance is an important factor. Respondents ranked flexible hours‚ above competitive pay‚ when asked what they look for in an employer.
- 73% would leave or have left a company because their business practices were not ethical.
- 62% reported significant student loan debt.
The Thought Exchange concluded that, as employees, Gen Z won't accept doing things that are harmful to their work-life balance or the environment just because they are part of the status quo, and any remnants of the pre-pandemic workplace that don't add value will fall away permanently.
While Gen Z may be resistant to the hustle as we've known it, The Wall Street Journal suggests younger workers are powered by a strong sense of ambition.
As architects of the future of the workplace, companies will need to adapt their policies, processes, and technologies to recruit and retain the best new Gen Z talent. Those who do so will benefit from long-term, dedicated employees who will hold them accountable and keep them relevant.
Gen Z is a force to be reckoned with - according to WARC, 75% of Gen Zs in the USA believe that their generation is going to change the world. Based on what we can see so far, it's very possible to foresee a huge shift in global workplace culture as Gen Z continues to enter the workforce.
Supporting Gen Z employees:
If you're reading this, then you probably already know that supporting Gen Z employees in the workplace is not just key for attracting and retaining the best future talent - it carries huge long-term benefits to business success, too.
The good news for startups is that the environment is already removed from traditional corporations. As a generalisation, startup companies are more likely to have embraced flexible or hybrid working and have greater agility, while rapid growth environments can provide an immense pool of opportunity for development.
There is, however, lots that leadership can do to ensure that Gen Z employees are supported and integrated into the workplace.
Understand Gen Z priorities:
Gen Z brings a whole new approach to work, and with it a new set of priorities.
A whopping 96% say it's important to feel valued, included, and empowered at work, and 80% prefer a job that allows them to explore and grow various skill sets rather than a job that is focused on a particular set of skills.
For Gen Z, priorities are work-life balance, adding value, and having development opportunities - personally and professionally.
Understanding what's important to the newest cohort of employees puts leadership in the best stead to support them and adapt any outdated practices that don't work for the future.
How to support Gen Z at work:
There is simply no point in trying to resist change. With such a dominant and powerful generation coming into the workplace, those who want to stay with outdated policies and practices will fall behind.
Those who are open and willing to change approaches and adapt to the needs of Gen Z employees will not only attract and retain the best future talent, but they will see business success, too.
More than anything, it's imperative for Gen Z to feel heard. This comes from the top down.
If leaders do only one thing, we recommend that it would be to listen.
Check in with Gen Z employees, find ways for their voices to be heard. It's a great way to find out what really matters to all employees - not just Gen Zers, and work on strategies to implement changes.
Once you've made changes, it's important to check in. Are the changes working? What benefits are they bringing? Are there any drawbacks?
It's a fluid process, and while we all continue to evolve, best practices may need adapting. It's also worth noting that Gen Z entered the workforce over lockdown - their needs might change as the years go on.
When was the last time you reviewed your company's mission and value statements? How closely are they aligned?
Values, ethics, and missions are more important than ever to the future generation, and it's worth investing time in ensuring they are relevant, authentic, truly lived, and future-proofed.
Unsurprisingly, we are already huge advocates for workplace wellbeing, and research suggests that Gen Z will only be amplifying this in years to come.
And it won't be a case of cutting corners. Aside from novelty perks and flexible working, Gen Z will be far more demanding of comprehensive, holistic work wellbeing - this includes supporting emotional, developmental, and professional needs.
This can be far more difficult to provide, especially in a fast-growing startup environment, but it's where Vyou comes in. An affordable, tailored, and comprehensive work wellbeing platform that leverages AI and 1-1 human coaching, Vyou can set you up for success in supporting Gen Z.
Want to know more? Schedule a no-obligation exploratory session with one of the Vyou team.