As the workforce evolves, organizations must understand and adapt to the needs and expectations of Gen Z employees. Gen Z, born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, is quickly becoming a significant force in the workplace. By 2030, Gen Z is estimated to make up 30% of the workforce, with 27% already expected by 2025 [^1^]. This generation brings unique characteristics and values that can drive workplace transformation and success. In this article, we will explore what Gen Z wants in the workplace and how organizations can leverage this understanding to decrease reneges, increase employee satisfaction, and foster a thriving work environment.
Understanding Gen Z in the Workplace
Impact and Challenges
Gen Z's increasing presence in the workforce presents both opportunities and challenges for organizations. On one hand, organizations can benefit from the fresh perspectives, technological proficiency, and innovative mindset that Gen Z brings. On the other hand, recruiting and retaining Gen Z employees can be challenging due to their unique expectations and preferences.
Companies face financial challenges related to recruitment and retention, as the cost of hiring a new employee can reach up to 40% of their base salary. In addition, Gen Z employees have different expectations and are more likely to change jobs frequently. Up to 80% of Gen Z and younger millennials reported the lowest engagement during the first quarter of 2022, and surveys suggest that Gen Z could change jobs up to 10 times between the ages of 18 and 34. These statistics indicate the need for organizations to adapt their strategies to attract and retain Gen Z talent.
The Harmful Approach
Unfortunately, many organizations continue to use outdated approaches to attract and retain Gen Z employees. Research companies, consultants, and news outlets often highlight the differences between generations, creating articles that pit generations against each other and perpetuate generational divides. This approach is harmful as it fortifies in-group and out-group sentiments, hindering collaboration and understanding between different generations.
The Four Tenets of Gen Z Recruitment and Retention
To create effective and inclusive workplace strategies for Gen Z, organizations need to focus on four key tenets: expectations, transparency, respect, and connection. By understanding and implementing these tenets, organizations can build a strong foundation for attracting and retaining Gen Z talent.
Expectations: Clear and Comprehensive
Establishing clear expectations is crucial for Gen Z employees. They value knowing the day-to-day responsibilities, long-term objectives, and real-time commitment required for the job. According to a survey, 98% of Gen Z agree that it is important to have clear expectations of their role before starting a new job. Organizations should provide comprehensive information about the job and ensure that Gen Z employees are well-prepared for the challenges they may face.
To meet Gen Z's expectations, organizations can:
- Clearly define and communicate job responsibilities and goals.
- Provide information about the company culture and values.
- Offer opportunities for growth and professional development.
By setting clear expectations, organizations empower Gen Z employees, reduce anxiety, and increase their chances of success.
Transparency: Honesty and Openness
Transparency is another crucial aspect of attracting and retaining Gen Z employees. Gen Z values transparency in timelines, salaries, and opportunities for growth. They want to know what to expect and have a clear understanding of their career path within the organization.
To promote transparency, organizations can:
- Provide salary details and be open about compensation structures.
- Clearly communicate timelines for promotions and career advancement.
- Share information about the company's vision, mission, and decision-making processes.
By being transparent, organizations build trust, foster employee engagement, and create a positive work environment.
Respect: Valuing Contributions and Boundaries
Respect is essential for Gen Z employees. They want their contributions to be valued and recognized. Additionally, Gen Z values work-life balance and wants their boundaries to be respected.
To demonstrate respect, organizations can:
- Recognize and reward employees' achievements and contributions.
- Encourage work-life balance by promoting flexible work arrangements.
- Provide mental health support and resources for employees.
Respecting Gen Z employees' boundaries and valuing their contributions creates a positive and supportive work environment.
Connection: Social Workplace Connections
Gen Z highly values social connections in the workplace. They want to build relationships with their colleagues and feel a sense of belonging within their teams.
To foster connections, organizations can:
- Encourage team-building activities and social events.
- Facilitate networking opportunities within and outside the organization.
- Provide mentorship programs to support career growth and development.
By promoting social connections, organizations create a sense of community and enhance employee engagement.
Communicating Effectively with Gen Z
To effectively communicate with Gen Z employees, organizations should consider their preferred communication methods and adapt accordingly.
Written Electronic Communication
Gen Z prefers written electronic communication, such as email, Slack, or Microsoft Teams. This allows them to gather their thoughts before responding and reference important information when needed. Organizations should leverage these platforms to provide clear and concise information, updates, and feedback to Gen Z employees.
Prompt Follow-Up After Interviews
Gen Z values prompt follow-up after interviews. Waiting too long to communicate can increase anxiety and stress for Gen Z candidates. Organizations should strive to provide timely updates and a clear timeline for the hiring process to keep Gen Z candidates engaged and informed.
Frequent and Intentional Contact
Before starting a new job, Gen Z appreciates frequent and intentional contact with their future employers. Weekly check-ins, newsletters, or group chats can create excitement and help new employees feel welcomed and prepared for their roles.
While working at a job or internship, Gen Z employees prefer daily check-ins with their supervisors. These check-ins help establish clear expectations, provide feedback, and strengthen the connection between supervisors and Gen Z employees.
The Future of the Workplace
As organizations adapt to the changing workforce, it's important to understand that the future of the workplace is shaped by both employees and employers. By embracing the four tenets of Gen Z recruitment and retention - expectations, transparency, respect, and connection - organizations can create thriving work environments that attract and retain top Gen Z talent.
The workplace of the future plays a vital role in addressing the mental health crisis. By prioritizing work-life balance, fostering social connections, and providing support for employees' mental well-being, organizations can contribute to the overall well-being of their workforce.
In conclusion, understanding and meeting the needs and expectations of Gen Z employees is crucial for organizations aiming to create a successful and inclusive workplace. By leveraging the four tenets of Gen Z recruitment and retention and adapting communication strategies, organizations can attract and retain top Gen Z talent and create a thriving work environment for all generations.