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What does Gen Z want in the workplace?

Generation Z, or “Gen Z”, is entering the workforce at a rapid speed. Because of generational differences, when onboarding and managing Gen Z in the workplace, some unique challenges might come about. You should be prepared to change your practices to adapt to the changing workforce.

It might be difficult to understand what your Gen Z employees want, need, and expect from your business at first. Which is why, in this article, we’ll explain Gen Z characteristics, their expectations from their employers, and detail how to retain Gen Z employees in the best way.

Behavioral characteristics of Gen Z

Recruiting and managing Gen Z employees might be difficult if you don’t know much about them. Here’s a quick intro into who these “Gen Z” are, and their overall mentality when it comes to work culture:

On the most basic terms, Gen Z-ers are the people born between late 1990s and early 2010s. (Though defining the generations can be a bit tricky, since most sources don’t agree on specific years that separate them from each other.) This would mean that a considerable chunk of Gen Z are already part of the workforce, and the rest are closing in fast.

As is the case with all new age groups, Gen Z also tends to go beyond the traditions of the previous generations. The decisions Gen Z employees make are more ethical, their actions bolder, and expectations higher than those who came before. They’re also less likely to be afraid of “job-hopping” if the company can’t provide what they want. For this reason, you should be willing to listen to their needs (which we’ve detailed below) and update your workplace practices.

What is Gen Z looking for in an employer?

When it comes to Gen Z’s expectations in the workplace, you should be very attentive as an employer. There are many factors to consider if you want to attract Gen Z employees.

The most critical one to keep in mind is that Gen Z has a very low tolerance for injustice. They’re willing to fight for work equity–not just for themselves, but also for their coworkers. While evaluating potential workplaces, 11,000 Gen Z-ers picked “Fair treatment of all employees” as their number one priority.

Another thing to consider is that this younger age group considers trying to maintain their mental health one of their priorities. Be attentive towards mental health issues by developing understanding policies and managing your workload to create a healthier work-life balance.

How to attract Gen Z talents

If you want to work with Gen Z talents, you should stay on top of what they expect from their workplace. Along with the previous generation (the Millennials), Gen Z is taking the lead at the Great Resignation trend that’s been changing the entire working world. This means that they’re not afraid to walk out when they’re needs aren’t met at a company.

Here are a few key ways of attracting Gen Z talent:

  • Be conscious of current social and political issues and encourage meaningful work
  • Cultivate a diverse and accepting workplace
  • Ofeer fair wages for all employees
  • Be flexible in your working style
  • Increase your use of technology for maximum efficiency
  • Provide helpful and meaningful feedback
  • Have a wide range of benefits

Meaningful work

If you’re wondering how to motivate Gen Z, one of the first steps is to give them meaningful work. Gen Z-ers tend to seek out work that aligns with their ethical views and social stances. This is because they want their work to help improve society in some way. They refuse to be just ‘another cog in the machine’, so to speak.

While advocating for meaningful work, you should also aim to create a transparent work culture and environment, especially when it comes to human rights and social justice issues. Be clear about what causes your business supports, what your ethical alignment is, what you work for, where you donate to, etc. This will help your Gen Z employees see that your business is the right fit for them.

Diversity

Tolerance is essential for any workplace, and this issue gaining more importance by the second. As the most racially and ethnically diverse workforce, as well as the most educated (with 60% pursuing a college degree), it’s a given that Gen Z employees would expect and seek out diversity in the workplace.

Open-mindedness towards different identities aside, you should consciously seek out to create a diverse workspace. Having a zero-tolerance policy against hateful and discriminatory behavior is also a must. If you feel you’re lacking in this area, it would be in your best interest to educate yourself and the rest of your staff to maintain an accepting work environment. Being understanding, accepting, and supportive towards all employees is the number one rule.

Fair pay

Gen Z are strong advocates for fair pay, and aren’t afraid to say it. In addition to knowing that their work means something, Gen Z also needs to feel that their labor is worth their time.

To retain Gen Z employees, consider introducing higher wage options, a fair raise system, and leave room for compromise. Unsatisfactory salary rates are reason enough for them to reject your job offer or quit to move on to better offers.

Flexibility

For Gen Z, working from home is one of the most important criteria for their job search. Recent research shows that almost 30% of Gen Z employees want to work in a fully remote manner, while 45% prefer a hybrid working model. To meet Gen Z’s expectations, you can build a hybrid work environment that can cater to their wants and needs. Creating a hybrid team is also a great way to increase your workplace diversity and productivity.

The usual, fixed 9-5 workday is not appealing to the new generation anymore. Along with remote work options, you need to also introduce a more flexible work schedule. Your Gen Z employees, as long as they’re properly trained and willing to work, can produce more in even less time.

Technology & efficiency

In order to successfully combine Gen Z and remote work, your company should be using different technological resources effectively for communication. Gen Z-ers will be expecting this since they’re very well-versed in technology, as they were born into the age of technological advancement. By training your other employees to catch up, you can help foster a more tech-savvy work environment and see a boost in your productivity as a result.

Feedback

Don’t forget that most of Gen Z are fairly young, and only just beginning to work in professional settings. You should be attentive and provide detailed feedback to make them (and their hard work) feel more valued. They will more than appreciate it, and work even harder to improve themselves. As long as they feel supported at their job, you’ll find that Gen Z will work with incredible efficiency.

Benefits

For Gen Z employee benefits are a very important factor in determining whether they will be satisfied in their position or not. According to UK company Perkbox’s annual survey, over 35% of Gen Z-ers count employee benefits as one of the biggest factors when choosing a job. They seek a sense of stability, as well as want to feel like they’re cared for as people, not just employees.

If you want your business relationship with your Gen Z employees to be long-term, you should provide a wide range of employee perks so they find their time at your company worthwhile. These can include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Income protection measures
  • Flexible working hours and arrangements
  • Full-coverage health insurance
  • Paid time off for sickness & mental health
  • Reasonable vacation leave policies
  • Fitness perks, such as complementary gym memberships at the office
  • Preventative health screenings

How Gen Z will change the workforce

The future of the workforce is almost entirely dependent on Generation Z and how well businesses can adapt to their requests. You won’t be able to improve unless you’re willing to change with the generations.

If you’re able to provide a flexible and diverse work environment with equal pay, added benefits, remote-friendliness and advanced tech measures, you’re almost all set on the Gen Z working style. If not, you should definitely make changes in your work practices –not just to attract Gen Z employees, but to improve the business world altogether.

If you’re interested in learning more about the transforming workforce and work culture, keep checking Ruul Blog for tips on how to improve your business and stay ahead of the curve. You can register with Ruul to receive weekly newsletters about our articles and benefit from special discounts our partners provide for Ruulers only!

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Ceylin Güven
Ceylin Güven likes reading anything she can get her hands on, writing poetry that’s way too personal, and watching Studio Ghibli movies.

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