'Engaging with a Gen Z workforce' blog title overlaid by person on mobile

Engaging with a Gen Z workforce

The words ‘Gen Z’ can conjure up very different images depending on personal experience, but what is this latest age group making their way into the workforce? Generation Z is
the collective of people succeeding Millennials, born between 1997-2012, making them the late teens/early twenties group in workplaces. As this generation springs into adulthood and work, they are predicted to make up 27% of the workforce by 2025.

But with varying demographics comes differing needs; some employees may enjoy more luxury benefits, others may value the day-to-day perks. So what are ‘zoomers’, how do they fit into the workplace, and what do they desire in an employer?

Who are Gen Z?

Most people think of certain buzzwords and topics when it comes to Gen Z: social awareness, climate activism, cancel culture, and social media often come to the forefront. They are a generation that grew up as digital natives with rapidly developing technology, and are on track to be the UK’s most qualified generation (according to Open Study College data on higher education).

Growing up in such a fast-changing climate is bound to impact the way that Gen Z approach work, and ‘job hopping’ is a concern for HR. LinkedIn found that Gen Z are switching jobs at a rate of 134% higher than in 2019. So what can be done for staff retention and giving this generation what they want from an employer?

Which benefits and values do Gen Z consider important?

An unstable economy and rising political tension is an everyday reality for the younger generation, which has been heightened also by the Coronavirus pandemic. With so much going on outside of the workplace, there are certain requirements that many Gen Z candidates have that recruiters should be aware of.

Financial perks

Salary and financial perks are a big one. Young adults (including Millennials) have become known as Generation Rent, with people that have not got onto the property ladder now finding it near impossible to do so. Soaring house prices and increased interest rates have left young people feeling like home ownership is a pipe dream. Renting is the new buying, and the cost of living crisis in the UK has 3 in 10 people living paycheck to paycheck.

Wages don’t go as far as they used to even a few years ago, with supermarkets hiking up costs and gas prices up 129.4% up to March 2023, having savings at the end of each month is unattainable for many workers. Taking all of this into account, it’s not surprising that Gen Z are frustrated when they feel that their salary and what they can achieve with it doesn’t reflect their efforts.

While salary and hourly pay increases in the wake of such economic turmoil would be ideal, this isn’t feasible for a lot of companies. Providing financial perks can aid in the absence of pay increases, with offerings such as discounts for supermarkets and financial advice services being the next best thing. Being given the opportunity to think about the future and not just about the next rent payment makes such a difference. With benefits such as Reward Beans offering the option to transfer the virtual currency into an ISA, investing in the future can be made that little bit easier.

Mental health and wellbeing

A key way that the social landscape is being changed by Gen Z is with attitudes toward mental health. With Gen Z-ers reporting higher rates of anxiety, depression, and distress than any other age group, it’s no surprise that they are seeking help. Surveys by Gallup found that when looking at employers, young millennials and Gen Z value an organisation that cares about their wellbeing above all else.

By implementing a thorough Health and Wellbeing strategy, employees can be assured that they have somewhere to go should things ever get too much. Having a place to go and feeling supported by their workplace should be seen as a priority to both employer and employee, so showing staff that their feelings are valid and seen can help evolve the workplace culture.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

Social awareness is a huge part of what defines the younger generation, proven by a Monster survey finding that 83% of Gen Z prospective employees feel that a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is important. Having firm DEI policies in place, acting upon them, and routinely updating them is key to ensuring that the workplace doesn’t fall behind or become exclusionary.

Sensitivity training, attending relevant seminars, and anonymous surveys could all be used as tools to check in and create a progressive workplace culture that underpin employees’ psychological safety.

Ethical and sustainable practices

A generation being raised with the explicit knowledge of the climate crisis, the heavy feeling of impending doom and feeling helpless has led to climate anxiety becoming widely felt amongst young adults. Bupa found that 64% of Gen Z workers feel that it’s important for their employers to act on environmental issues. As such, employers taking the time to reflect and think carefully about how to create more sustainable business practices is a win for young candidates.

On top of this, awareness around ethical work practices is more talked about than ever, with 82% of employees across age demographics stating that they would be willing to accept less pay and work for a company with ethical business practices. So, transparency and focusing on creating a code of morality and prioritising the rights of workers is evidently huge for what prospective employees want.

Flexible working options

One change that came about during the Covid-19 pandemic that has stuck around has been more flexible working options. With many Gen Z workers having only experienced office work with more flexible working conditions, the thought of rigid hours and/or mandatory in-office work can seem overwhelming. Given the option to hybrid work is widely preferential, but for younger workers in particular it’s an attractive choice. In fact, McKinsey found that 18-34 year olds were 59% more likely to walk if hybrid working was taken away. So listening to the preferences of your workplace and being adaptable to the times can be a huge benefit for employing young talent.

Being able to tailor your benefits to what fits your workplace can make your people feel seen, so book a demo today to see how My Staff Shop can give staff what they actually want.

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