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4 ways to prepare for Gen Z in the workplace

Gen Z is predicted to represent more than 25 percent of the workforce by 2025 — here's how you can prepare your workplace for their imminent arrival. Photo via unsplash.com

As each ensuing generation enters the workforce, they bring with them unique characteristics and desires that encourage employers to take notice, which typically results in proactive steps that significantly improve the workplace. Enter Generation Z, or Zoomers, which is an appropriate moniker given the Zoom era and descriptive nature of their rapid interconnection with technology.

Zoomers, born between 1997-2012, are reported to be the most diverse generation in U.S. history. They are also considered true digital natives born in the era of Wi-Fi, Google, social media, and smartphones. Although the oldest members are only 25, Zoomers are already voicing their opinions about key aspects of the workplace.

As employers continue to define and refine their workplaces to attract and retain top talent, now is an ideal time to address the needs of Zoomers, who are predicted to represent more than 25 percent of the workforce by 2025. Below are four areas for business leaders to consider as they prepare for an influx of Zoomers.

Promote mission and values

Zoomers place a high value on meaning and purpose in their lives, so they want to be associated with companies that have a mission that extends beyond making a profit and makes a difference in the world.

Business leaders should review/re-evaluate their mission and core values accordingly to position the company in a manner that connects to a greater good and establishes ways employees’ roles contribute to meeting organizational objectives.

Companies should prominently promote their mission and core values statements in all recruiting materials, job descriptions, websites and career pages to demonstrate their commitment to being an employer with a higher purpose that aligns with the current environment and workplace needs.

Embrace holistic well being

Although employee wellness and mental health are the topics of many conversations and initiatives, Zoomers expect employers to ramp up efforts and embrace a holistic approach to employee well-being.

Companies should go beyond the basics and realize that many factors influence employees’ lives and their overall health, such as purpose/career, social, financial, physical, community and mental/emotional. For example, it is important for employees to feel connected to the community, so employers can offer paid time to volunteer. Mindfulness programs, meditation apps and EAPs offer mental/emotional support.

Putting programs and services in place that focus on the six areas for a holistic approach is critical to Zoomers.

Consider DEI initiatives

As the most diverse generation in U.S. history, Zoomers are mindful about diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. They are interested in companies that have solid DEI programs in place and demonstrate them through actions.

For example, addressing the composition of boards and executive teams for equal representation; conducting ongoing DEI training in the workplace to raise awareness and institute behavioral change; ensuring a diverse hiring panel and slate of candidates during recruiting efforts; and offering robust mentoring programs for equal learning/advancement opportunities are ways for companies to support DEI initiatives.

Companies should display their DEI stances on websites and in recruiting materials to ensure Zoomers are aware of their efforts to remain relevant and make a difference for everyone in the workforce.

Optimize technology

Zoomers are considered to be true digital natives and have an innate ability to use technology, so they prefer employers that offer the latest technology and tools to enhance their performance in the workplace. In addition, Zoomers are a mobile-first generation that grew up with smartphones and tablets, so many of their activities, such as job searches, employer research, and work applications are conducted on mobile devices.

Employers should optimize technology by using HR technology platforms that are mobile friendly for all aspects of the business, including recruiting, hiring, onboarding, time, and attendance, performance management, training and more. Communication platforms such as Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams should be staples in the workplace, along with relevant social media platforms for instant connections, to help employers remain relevant to Zoomers.

As business leaders prepare for an influx of Zoomers in the workplace by promoting mission/values, employee well-being, DEI and technology, they are also making significant strides toward improving the work environment, which leads to increased employee engagement, retention and performance for sustained business success.

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Jill Chapman is a senior performance consultant with Insperity,a leading provider of human resources and business performance solutions.

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Building Houston

 
 

The latest cohort from gBETA Houston has been announced and is currently underway at the Downtown Launchpad. Photo courtesy

A national startup accelerator has announced its fifth local cohort, which includes five Houston companies participating in the spring 2022 class.

Madison, Wisconsin-based gener8tor has announced today the five participating startups in gBETA Houston. The program will be led by Muriel Foster, the newly named director of gBETA Houston, which originally launched in Houston in 2020 thanks to a grant from from the Downtown Redevelopment Authority.

The program, which is designed to help guide early-stage startups find early customer traction, connect with mentors, and more, is based in the Downtown Launchpad, and is free and does not take equity in the participating companies. The cohort kicked off on April 21 and concludes on June 10.

The new cohort includes:

  • Founded by CEO Steffie Thomson a year ago, Getaway Sticks has designed a shoe that gives women the painless support they need using athletic foam to create a shoe that gives women the painless support they need. Getaway Sticks provides the solutions to women’s #1 wardrobe complaint of high heel pain. Since launch, the company has earned over $35,000 in revenue from over 150 customers.
  • Through a combination of software and hardware technology, LocBox is rethinking the shopping experience for online and local purchases. If you shop, ship, or have food delivered to your house, LocBox will make your life easier. Led by CEO Sterling Sansing, LocBox has previously participated in the Texas A&M MBA Venture Challenge.
  • SpeakHaus is focused on equipping young professionals and entrepreneurs with public speaking skills through its on-demand training platform and group coaching program. Since launching in October 2021, SpeakHaus has facilitated 6 corporate trainings and coached 61 business leaders generating over $49,000 in revenue. The company is led by CEO Christa Clarke.
  • Led by CEO LaGina Harris, The Us Space is creating spaces intentionally for women of color, women-led businesses, and women-centric organizations. Since launching in June 2021, The Us Space has created partnerships with more than a dozen community organizations, sustainable businesses, and organizations creating positive economic impact in the City of Houston.
  • Founded in August 2021, Urban Eatz Delivery is a food delivery service app that caters to the overlooked and underrepresented restaurants, food trucks, and home-based food vendors. Urban Eatz Delivery has earned over $88,000 in revenue, delivered to over 2,000 users, and worked with 36 restaurant and food vendors on the app. The company is led by CEO D’Andre Good.

“The five companies selected for the Spring 2022 cohort tackle unique problems that have propelled them to create a business that solves the issues they once faced," Foster says in a news release. "From public speaking, apparel comfort, and food delivery from underrepresented restaurant owners, these founders have found their niche and are ready to continue to make an enormous impact on the Houston ecosystem."

it's Foster's first cohort at the helm of the program. A Houston native, she has her master’s in public administration from Texas Southern University and a bachelor’s in marketing from Oklahoma State University. Her background includes work in the nonprofit sector and international business consulting in Cape Town, South Africa, and she's worked within programming at organizations such as MassChallenge, BLCK VC, and now gener8tor.

The program is housed at the Downtown Launchpad. The five startups will have access to the space to meet with mentors, attend events, and run their companies.

"Creating (the hub) was a little like a moonshot, but it’s paying off and contributing enormous impact to the city’s economy. The five startups selected for the gBETA Houston Spring cohort will continue that legacy,” says Robert Pieroni, director of economic development at Central Houston Inc., in the release. “As these entrepreneurs chase their dreams and create something epic, they will know Downtown Houston is standing behind them. I am so proud of what Downtown Launchpad is already, and what it will become.”

Muriel Foster, a native Houstonian, is the new director of gBETA Houston. Image via LinkedIn

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