Your workforce is changing. The newer generation of Gen Z is more dynamic and more digitally literate than their predecessors.
Bearing this skillset in mind, you need to find new and better ways to step up your game and discover how to attract and retain them.
Let’s explore all you need to know about Gen Z in the workplace, and how to engage them.
Meeting Gen Z
Before you plan out your retention strategy for Gen Z, it’s important to get to know who they are. “Gen Z are not ‘coddled.’ They are highly collaborative, self-reliant and pragmatic”, a study by Stanford claims.
A typical Gen Zer is a person who hasn’t met the world without internet. Fueled by tons of information, it’s a self-motivated individual, highly empathetic, collaborative, and social, who passionately strives for diversity and inclusion, loves flexibility, and dismisses hierarchical leadership. At the same time, a Gen Zer is a supporter of authenticity and pragmatic problem-solving.
This generation grew up in a fast-paced world, and thus became familiar with digital tools really early. Their viewpoint of the world soon led them to be mistakenly criticized as lazy and “snowflakes” by older generations. On the contrary, Generation Zers are involved in various activities that bring them quite an impressive amount of money, like podcasts, social-media-related positions, and DIY projects.
Fortunately, this belief is changing. Gen Zers are highly self-driven individuals who can work equally well in an individual and collaborative setting.
What does Gen Z want from the workplace?
Helping Gen Zers find a home in their workplace is the best approach to further engage them and reduce employee turnover. According to Deloitte’s study, some of the hottest perks Gen Zers look for in their workplace are:
- Work-life balance
- High compensation
- L&D opportunities
- Inclusive and positive workplace culture
The current cost of living, as well as the endless remote work opportunities, greatly affect the final decision of where Gen Zers will apply. And whether they will stay. This generation isn’t just looking for the optimal job. They’re also looking for the perfect balance between work and life, a chance for affordable living, and professional growth.
Gen Z in the workplace is different than your employees from previous generations. They’re more empathetic and open-minded. This is why a workplace that promotes inclusion, diversity, and positive work culture is absolutely essential for them. Not just that, they function as role models concerning such matters, so they’ll put their heart and soul into maintaining and developing this work culture among other employees.
How to engage Gen Z in the workplace
Let’s dig deeper into engaging Gen Z in the workplace and what your organization can do to help them boost their satisfaction and productivity.
1. Focus on training and continuous learning opportunities
Gen Zers love to develop new skills on the job. While being self-motivated learners who really understand how important it is to level up their skillset, it’s essential that you offer training to evolve.
But the way you offer L&D opportunities needs careful consideration. This generation is fully hands-on with technology, and this is why automations, AI, microlearning, and self-paced learning are the best solutions as opposed to a more traditional approach. Bite-sized and targeted chunks of information, paired with flexibility, give them room to retain and apply what they learn quickly.
Moreover, you should plan to make this learning process continuous. It doesn’t suffice to provide them with just one round of training. By investing in continuous learning, you ensure that your workforce will remain engaged and productive.
2. Make feedback a solid part of your strategy
You would think Gen Zers prefer a more solitary way of working and interacting with coworkers as they’re hooked on technology. On the contrary, they seem to value offline connection way more than you anticipate. This is why they seem to have a deep understanding of how beneficial regular feedback is.
So, plan ahead and set regular feedback sessions where leadership and employees will have room to discuss areas for improvement. Whether it’s discussion boards, 1:1 sessions, or feedback surveys, one thing’s for sure—you keep your Gen Z employees engaged, satisfied, and at the same time, you have the chance to upscale your training approach.
3. Offer job security and reassurance
Even if they are particularly entrepreneurial, these individuals value security at work. Meaning, they look at things more pragmatically and care for a long-term solution. Cool office perks like ping pong tables and fully stocked fridges are simply not enough to make them stay engaged in the workplace.
How will you engage Gen Z in the workplace, then? Prioritize their basic needs. Give them reasons to be in an environment where they feel secure and stable. Paid time off, health benefits, opportunities for skills building, and job growth are always more important than anything else.
4. Go mobile
As mentioned above, Gen Zers were born into technology. This means most of them had their first mobile around the age of 10 years old. Still, until today, it’s their favorite means of communication, but also a means for getting their tasks done. They most definitely know their way around technology.
What you should opt for is making technology a useful tool in the workplace. Conduct training in mobile-friendly LMSs and allow them to learn anytime, anywhere. Embrace their mobile-centric personality and leverage mobile channels for communication, learning, and task management.
5. Boost diversity and inclusion in your organization
Hiring and investing in a diverse workforce doesn’t only mean you’re empathetic. Offering equal pay and development opportunities is more than being fair to your employees. You show the world and your workforce you are open to discussion and different perspectives.
This is why an “accepting” approach is what appeals most to Gen Z in the workplace. Simply put, Gen Zers actually demand a positive work environment where they can show their true potential regardless of their gender, ethnicity, or other preferences.
Make sure you highlight such initiatives and efforts of your organization. Don’t set up a one-hour training on diversity and inclusion but offer continuous learning on the matter, conduct satisfaction surveys, reflect on your business behavior, and adopt an open door policy that will assist in identifying and improving pain areas. Also, don’t forget to highlight your company culture to attract more Gen Zers and give more reasons to your current workforce to stay, and stay engaged.
6. Leverage employee well-being initiatives
Some years ago, little or no focus was given to employee mental health. But now, with completely burned-out Millennials, and very stressed Gen Zers, it’s more than necessary to focus on providing well-being opportunities to your workforce.
Generation Z employees are looking for organizations that understand the importance of mental health. So, give them the opportunity to stay engaged and satisfied by offering well-being programs and mental health days. At the same time, always be an active listener to allow them to express what would make them more productive and stress-free.
It’s not just about Gen Zers
Creating an amazing work environment for your Generation Z employees will not benefit you only that much. There’s more than meets the eye behind this initiative.
It’s about completely transforming the workplace into an attractive organization that keeps growing, values the potential each employee has to offer, focuses on retaining their talent, and is willing to help all employees develop and flourish in a safe environment.
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