4 ways to prepare for Gen Z in the workplace
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.
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.
Jill Chapman is a senior performance consultant with Insperity,a leading provider of human resources and business performance solutions.