The war on work: How to engage Generation Zzzzzz
From hybrid working to aligned values, Gen Z ask more of their workplace than any other generation. And with 77% of them actively looking to change roles, they’re willing to walk away if they don’t get it.
So how do you please a workforce that wants it all?
The labour market is changing, and much of this change is being driven by a specific group: Gen Z.
It’s estimated that people born between 1997 and 2012 will make up 27% of the workforce by 2025, and they’re bringing a whole new attitude to the world of work.
So as Baby Boomers retire and Millennials move into management, what do you need to know about attracting and retaining the next generation of candidates?
First, Gen Z are a picky bunch. But what might come across as entitled is in fact a very real reaction to the environments they are exposed to.
Today’s young workers have less financial security than Millennials had at the equivalent stage in life, as soaring inflation brings down the value of wages and house prices remain out of reach. The Covid19 pandemic highlighted this financial vulnerability, as many at the start of their careers saw the reality of redundancy and pay cuts.
But Gen Zers know there’s more to life than a juicy paycheck. Above all they want a workplace that aligns with their values, treats them like an individual and allows them the freedom to live a life outside of work.
You could say they want it all – or you could say that they’re transforming the workplace for the better, allowing greater work-life balance than ever before.
After the hustle culture of their Millennial predecessors, Gen Z are focused on growing their careers, but not at the expense of their mental and physical health.
So how can employers step up to these demands?
First, ensure your values not only sound good, but are put into practice. If you have diversity and inclusion statements, ensure you’re not just paying lip service or you will be held accountable – possibly by a 22-year-old.
Employers are experiencing first hand that younger workers aren’t afraid to call out disingenuous mission statements – and happy to walk if they don’t like the vibe.
The solution is to change expectations. Unlike Millennials, who had it drummed into them that they should be constantly available for work, Gen Zers are not willing to be defined by their job,
But this doesn’t mean they won’t work hard for the right employer. Yes, they see flexibility as an important way to combat stress, and mental health is high on their agenda. They also have a strong preference for part time work.
But flexibility works both ways. In return for their demands, Gen Z are more willing to relocate and work outside of office hours for the right job than any other generation.
So who will gain most from the Gen Z talent pool? It’s simple: employers who build a culture of trust and collaboration, where staff are encouraged to work well in whichever way they need, are more likely to get the interest of the next generation. If they embrace individuality and invest in technology too, they’re onto a winner.
Building your EVP around trust, real values and genuine flexibility will help you to access Gen Z talent – and it might just get you a healthier organisation. Gen Z might want it all, but with young people being the future of the workplace you can’t afford not to give it to them.