Helping Generation Z Thrive in the Workplace

Generation Z Will Shake Up Your Workforce

Just when you figured out how to attract and retain millennials looking for flexible schedules and collective work from environmentally conscious companies, you’ve likely come to realise that Generation Z is entering the workforce in large numbers. In the workplace, Generation Z wants many of the same things as millennials and are vocal about their desire for health insurance and retirement benefits. Gen Z consists of anyone who was born in 1997 or later. So, some simple maths shows that many members of this generation are either breaking into the workforce or have been working for a handful of years. And just as many will be entering the workforce in the near future.

As a business owner or manager, you should understand how to help Generation Z thrive in the workplace. With the right approach, you can harness the full power of these up and coming professionals.

Conversely, if you take the wrong approach, you could scare away promising up and coming talent.

Three young people working at a table with laptops in front of them
Generation Z in a modern workplace

5 Tips for Success

While there’s no one size fits all solution to helping Gen Z thrive in the workplace, there are some basic tips any business can follow to improve their odds of success.

Here are five ideas to test:

1. Provide Flexibility

When baby boomers ruled the workforce they prioritised traditional hierarchy with a preference for face-to-face communication and a 9 to 5 schedule. However, in today’s world, this is no longer what people are looking for—and that’s especially true of Gen Z.

The majority of members of your Generation Z workforce are looking for two things:

  • A flexible work schedule.
  • The opportunity to work remotely (either full- or part-time).

This doesn’t mean that these individuals want an ‘easy’ job that allows them to slack off. They simply want a career in which they can strike a solid work-life balance.

2. Modern Office Space

At the turn of the century, many offices looked the same. There were individual offices for managers and executives, while everyone else worked in a cubicle.

Blackboard with a month calendar on it in a modern office
Modern office with blackboard, the generation z workforce

This isn’t what the new wave of talent is looking for. If they’re not working remotely, they’re more likely to reach peak performance when working in an open, modern office space with perks such as free lunch and a pool table.

If you’ve yet to update your office for millennials and Generation Z, now’s the time to do so. Sticking these individuals in a cube and expecting them to perform is a bad decision.

3. Access to the Best Technology

When you hire a baby boomer, you hire someone who is maybe less of a digital native compared to the younger generations. Because they value face-to-face communication they don’t generally prefer email, Slack, and other forms of technology that can make them more productive. They don’t know what they’re missing out on.

But if you fast-forward to millennials and Generation Z, nothing could be further from the truth. They want access to the best of the best in regards to technology, ranging from hardware to software and everything in between.

Without technology, you’ll have a hard time attracting and retaining the best talent that Gen Z has to offer.

4. Encourage Advanced Education

This goes along with encouraging balance within your employees’ lives. Advanced education is important to many individuals within Generation Z, so do your best to support this desire.

With a strong desire for continued learning or ongoing education, it’s not uncommon for people to seek employment while also being enrolled in university courses, and It’s not always easy to balance a full-time job and taking college courses. By providing flexible work schedules and the technology to stay connected away from the office you are indicating your support.

Equally important is providing advanced learning opportunities and skills related to their job.

‘93% of Gen Z workers spend their own time learning new skills to advance their career, more than any other generation.’ (HRDailyAdvisor)

If you’re able to promote a healthy work/life balance by providing some of that knowledge on the job you may see overall retention of younger generations increase at your company.

5. Financial Security

Many millennials made the mistake of burying themselves in debt, ranging from credit cards to student loans to car loans.

A woman putting money into a pink piggy bank
Generation Z prioritise financial security

Generation Z is more interested in financial security. For that reason, they do their best to avoid debt and work hard as a means of securing their financial future. Don’t fall into the trap of providing ping pong tables over retirement plans in hopes of attracting and keeping employees long term. Fun perks are only meaningful when all other financial needs and concerns are being met.

Ask for Feedback

It’s one thing to hire members of Generation Z to work at your company, but another thing entirely to provide them with the environment and experience they’re seeking. And that’s why you should get into the habit of asking for regular feedback.

By doing this, you’re able to:

  • Better understand what your employees—regardless of generation—like and dislike about their job.
  • Make changes to your company to meet the needs of your workforce.
  • Formulate more personal relationships with your employees.

When it comes to your approach to helping Generation Z thrive in the workplace, you can’t expect to get everything right the first time around. That’s why you should regularly ask for feedback and then implement applicable suggestions.

Your ability to help these individuals reach their maximum potential will result in a positive impact on your company as a whole. Not to mention the fact that it keeps your team engaged, while also giving them a reason to stick with your company over the long haul.

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