Although it’s important for businesses to treat their employees as individuals, certain trends can be viewed among different demographic groups. Managing different demographics in the workplace is crucial to enhancing engagement and productivity among employees.
And the newest addition to the workplace is Gen Z.
Understanding the Gen Z workforce
Broadly defined as individuals born between the mid-to-late 1990s and the early 2010s, Gen Z is the newest demographic to hit the workplace. But as well as being the newest, Gen Z will soon represent the largest demographic too. Research indicates that one-third of the global population currently falls within this age range, meaning they will fundamentally transform how workplaces operate.
Nevertheless, there’s no need for employers to fear the emergence of this new demographic. Gen Zers are set to bring a wealth of new ideas and skills to the workplace – but employers should understand what it is that motivates this workforce if they want to benefit from their skills. That way, they can fully embrace this demographic and make the most of the talent that lies within it.
What are the core values and work preferences of the Gen Z workforce?
As with any generational shift, the emergence of Gen Z has introduced new core values and work preferences. As the first generation to have never known a world without the world wide web, Gen Zers are digital natives. They are also diverse and (unsurprisingly) shaped by the turbulence that has occurred in the world around them as they came of age.
Some things for employers to be aware of when engaging with Gen Z:
- Diversity: Across various geographies, Gen Z is set to be the most diverse generation yet. And they expect this diversity to be reflected in their workplaces. In fact, according to the Monster recruiting agency, 83% of Gen Z job candidates value a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion as important when choosing an employer.
- Tech-savvy: Gen Z workers have grown up with both the internet and smartphones. They are extremely comfortable using technology, with almost half of Gen Z teens claiming to be online almost constantly. Gen Zers expect the technology that they are so familiar with in their personal lives to be mirrored by workplace solutions.
- Educated: With rates of higher education on the rise, Gen Z is set to be the most educated generation so far. This generation is committed to learning new things. In fact, in addition to the high numbers of Gen Zers enrolling at higher education institutions, this generation is also the most self-educated.
- Flexible: Research suggests that Gen Z workers adopt a more flexible approach to career progression. In fact, one particular survey indicated that Gen Z employees could change jobs up to 10 times between the ages of 18 and 34. Employers have a tough challenge on their hands to convince these employees not to look at other roles.
8 tips to boost engagement, loyalty, and productivity of your Gen Z employees
As Gen Z becomes the dominant generation in the workplace, employers stand to benefit markedly from this cohort – if they can attract the right talent. In order to do so, they must offer a workplace experience that matches the expectations of this generation.
1. Communicate via the right channels
Gen Z employees are comfortable using social media and messaging apps to communicate, as well as more traditional channels like email. Think carefully about the internal communication channels available to your business and which ones are best suited to your messaging.
2. Promote diversity
Given that Gen Z cares deeply about diversity in the workplace, companies that are able to promote diversity authentically see advantages in terms of recruitment and retention. Organizations should share their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs and values with employees.
3. Create a mobile-first employee experience
This generation came of age with mobile technology, with 22% of Gen Zers receiving their first smartphone aged just 10. To connect with this generation, employees can’t rely on desktop solutions alone – creating a mobile-first experience is key, especially in industries with a majority of deskless workers.
4. Emphasize growth & development opportunities
Given Gen Z’s commitment to personal development, it’s essential that employees offer ample opportunities for individuals to grow in their careers. Training opportunities like eLearning modules tell Gen Z workers that they can learn all the skills they want while in their current roles.
5. Encourage an entrepreneurial mindset
With more than 75% of Gen Z considering themselves entrepreneurial in spirit, businesses need to make these employees feel like they have a real stake in the company. Performance-based incentives and employee recognition can help to ensure that these workers feel invested and engaged at work.
6. Leverage technology
Technology can boost productivity for Gen Z workers, who are extremely comfortable with digital solutions. For example, forms, checklists and training modules can all be delivered through a digital medium, making them more likely to have cut-through with this generation than paper documents or face-to-face meetings.
7. Encourage work-life balance
Plenty of research shows how important work-life balance is to Gen Z workers. Avoid communicating through personal messaging apps like WhatsApp so your employees can keep their work and personal lives separate. Implement feedback and recognition systems by sending out frequent pulse surveys. And remember to use employee surveys to give your deskless employees a voice too.
8. Promote purpose-driven work
For Gen Zers, work is about more than just earning money. It is about values. Ensure you promote social responsibility (like organizations such as Stayokay) in the workplace and make your employees feel as though their work has a purpose.
Unlocking the power of Gen Z: Your next steps to a successful and engaged workforce
A new generation entering the workforce means new ways of working. Employers must shift their culture, processes, and workplace environments to suit Gen Z workers – or risk missing out on top talent.
More than any other generation, Gen Z is technology-savvy, mobile-first, and values-driven. If employers can entice these individuals to join their company, they will benefit from a hugely skilled cohort of workers.
Oneteam’s all-in-one employee app is designed to fit the needs of the modern workforce. It can offer the kind of workplace experiences that Gen Z is demanding. Whether your Gen Z employees value an interactive and mobile-first internal communication platform, onboarding or eLearning opportunities, satisfaction surveys, digital checklists, or clear communication, Oneteam can offer it.