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Five ways employers can create an engaging workplace for Gen Z

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Gen Z currently make up 30% of the world’s population, and will account for a huge 27% of the workforce by 2025. Their influence on the development of the modern workplace is only going to continue to drive impact. Afterall, they’re the business leaders of the future. 

It’s no secret that Gen Z is huge advocates of flexible working, pay transparency, company benefits and definitely not working overtime.

But keeping up with these expectations, and having a clear perspective on what is deemed reasonable and ‘unreasonable’, can be difficult. 

A recent Tweet from an employer blew up after interviewing a Gen Z intern candidate who requested a five-hour working day and had high (in the employer’s eyes) salary expectations: 

@sameeracan 

To provide some guidance for employers around how to engage Gen Z candidates, Finn Bartram, HR expert at People Managing People, shares his top tips on how to create and maintain an engaging workplace for the next generation.

Finn comments: “Gen Z are the first generation to grow up in a ‘digital age’ and have been exposed to ‘global content’ from very early on. As a result, they’ve been watching TikTok and YouTube videos on ‘how to get rich quick’ and prioritize self-care first and foremost. So naturally, their ambitions and goals are set in stone from an early age.” 

Understand the reasoning for their expectations 

“It can be easy to dismiss salary expectations which are way above your entry-level pay bracket, however it’s important to question why Gen Z have these expectations in the first place. More often than not, they are well researched and evidence-based. 

Before dismissing these expectations, there’s no reason you can’t do a little desk research and speak to recruiters, to understand what pay grade is reasonable, but still competitive, for a similar role.

If they are requesting to work specific hours, is there a reason why you cannot offer this level of flexibility?” 

Live and breath your company’s core purpose 

“Gen Z won’t take any ‘crap’. If your company doesn’t live up to the values you claim to hold, they will walk. Recent studies have shown that 49% of Gen Z will work for a purpose driven company, and 20% would do so on a lower wage2

It’s vital that you can clearly communicate your company’s core purpose and values, and do so with conviction. Provide evidence of process and cultural strategies that align with this purpose, and how other employees are on board with it too. 

It’s also important to demonstrate your commitment to a broader set of societal challenges such as sustainability, climate change, and hunger.”

Offer inclusive benefits 

“If you are claiming fruit bowls, Friday drinks, and a day off on your birthday are ‘company benefits’, then you may struggle to attract Gen Zs.

“Benefits such as extensive private healthcare, discounted gym memberships, the ability to take a ‘mental health day’ and volunteering days are much more attractive to the younger generation, who prioritise their wellbeing over anything else.” 

Publish a DEI transparency report 

“At the interview stage, don’t be surprised if a Gen Z candidate asks you about your DEI efforts, and even data. 

Diversity is the ‘watchword’ for Gen Z, and it is not just isolated to race and gender, but also to identity and orientation.

If you have not done this, conducting and publishing a DEI report will enable you to implement a DEI strategy, and identify the areas you need to diversify the business. This can then feed into your recruitment strategies and the company benefits that you offer.” 

Clearly outline progression opportunities 

“Last year, a 2022 Lever Great Resignation report stated that 65% of Gen Zers would leave their jobs by the end of the year, and 13% were more than twice as likely as other generations to leave their jobs in the next month. 

Gone are the days of expecting your employees to stick around for five to ten years at your company. To avoid a high attrition rate, ensure you are clearly communicating progression opportunities from the outset, and that there are no blockers in place stopping younger employees from gaining promotions.” 



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