4 ways to prepare for Gen Z in the workplace

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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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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Houston startups raise funding, secure partnerships across space, health, and sports tech

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It's been a new month and a few Houston startup wrapped up November with news you may have missed.

In this roundup of short stories within Houston startups and tech, three Houston startups across health care, space, and sports tech have some news they announced recently.

Houston digital health company launches new collaboration

Koda Health has a new partner. Image via kodahealthcare.com

Houston-based Koda Health announced a new partnership with data analytics company, CareJourney.

"This collaboration will aim to develop benchmarking data for advance care planning and end-of-life metrics," the company wrote on LinkedIn. "Koda will provide clinical and practice-based expertise to guide the construction of toolkits, dashboards, and benchmarks that improve ACP programs and end-of-life outcomes."

Koda Health announced the partnership in November..

“Beyond the checkbox of a billing code or completed advance directive, it’s important to build and measure a process that promotes thoughtful planning among patients, their care team, and their loved ones,” says Desh Mohan, MD, Koda's chief medical officer, in the post.

CareJourney was founded in 2014 in Arlington, Virginia.

"I'm hopeful next-generation quality measures will honor the patient’s voice in defining what it means to deliver high quality care, and our commitment is to measure progress on that important endeavor," noted Aneesh Chopra, CareJourney's co-founder and president.

Sports tech startup raises $500,000 pre-seed investment

BeONE Sports has created a technology to enhance athletic training. Photo via beonesports.com

Houston-founded BeONE Sports, an athlete training technology company, announced last month that it closed an oversubscribed round of pre-seed funding. The company announced the raise on its social media pages that the round included $500,000 invested.

Earlier in November, BeONE Sports completed its participation in CodeLaunch DFW 2022. The company was one of six finalists in the program, which concluded with a pitch event on November 16.

Space tech company snags government contracts

Graphic via cognitive space.com

The U.S. Air Force has extended Houston-based Cognitive Space’s contract under a new TACFI, Tactical Funding Increase, award. According to the release, the contract "builds on Cognitive Space’s work to develop a tailored version of CNTIENT for AFRL to achieve ultimate responsiveness and optimized dynamic satellite scheduling via a cloud-based API.

The $1.2 million award follows a $1.5 million U.S. Air Force Small Business Innovation Research award that the company won in 2020 to integrate CNTIENT with commercial ground station providers in support of AFRL’s Hybrid Architecture Demonstration program.

“The TACFI award allows Cognitive Space to continue supporting AFRL’s vitally important HAD program to help deliver commercial space data to the warfighter,” says Guy de Carufel, the company’s founder and CEO, in the releasee. “CNTIENT’s tailored analytics platform will enable HAD and the GLUE platform to integrate modern statistical approaches to optimize mission planning, data collection, and latency estimation.”

Houston airport powers up new gaming lounge for bored and weary travelers

game on and wheels down

Local gamers now have a new option to while away those flight delays and passenger pickup waits at Hobby Airport.

Houston's William P. Hobby Airport is now one the first airports in the country to offer what's dubbed as the "ultimate gaming experience for travelers." The airport has launched a premium video game lounge inside the international terminal called Gameway.

That means weary, bored, or early travelers can chill in the lounge and plug into15 top-of-the-line, luxury gaming stations: six Xbox stations, five Playstation stations, four PC stations, all with the newest games on each platform. Aficionados will surely appreciate the Razer's Iskur Gaming Chairs and Kraken Headsets, along with dedicated high speed internet at each PC station.

The Gameway lounge pays homage to gaming characters, with wall accents that hark to motherboard circuits Crucial for any real gamer: plenty of sweet and savory snacks are available for purchase to fuel up on those fantasy, battle, or sporting endeavors. As for the gaming console stations, players can expect high definition screens, comfortable seating, and plenty of space for belongings.

Make video games a part of your pre-flight ritual. Photo courtesy of Gameway

This gaming addition comes just in time for the holiday rush, when travelers can expect long lines, delays, and are already planning for extended time for trips. As CultureMap previously reported, Hobby will see a big boost in travelers this season — the largest since 2019. Now, those on a long journey can plug in, decompress, and venture on virtual journeys of their own.

Texan travelers may be familiar with Gameway; the company opened its first two locations at Dallas Fort-Worth Airport. The buzzy lounge an industry wave of acclaim: Gameway was awarded Best Traveler Amenity in 2019 at the ACI-NA Awards and in 2020, voted “Most Innovative Customer Experience” at the Airport Experience Traveler Awards, per press materials.

Two new locations followed in 2021: LAX Terminal 6 and Charlotte Douglas International Airport. The first of Gameway's Ultra lounge brand opened in September at Delta's Terminal 3 in LAX.

Gaming culture is a way of life in the Bayou City , which hosts Comicpalooza, the largest pop culture festival in Texas, and is home to several e-sports teams, including the pro esports squad, the Houston Outlaws.

A delayed flight never seemed so ideal for gamers flying out of Hobby. Photo courtesy of Gameway

“Gameway is the real reason to get to the airport early,” said Co-Founder Jordan Walbridge in a statement. “Our mission is to upgrade the typical wait-at-the-gate experience with a new stimulating, entertaining option for travelers of all ages.”

Here's guessing Hobby might just see an increase in missed or late flight arrivals — as travelers simply must beat those big bosses, solve puzzles, or win sports matches in the lounge.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.