Depending on who you talk to, you can get very different perspectives on Generation Z. However, what cannot be disputed is how essential they’re going to be to the UK workforce. Especially since we have a disproportionately ageing society in the UK, potentially putting pressure on the younger generation to keep the economy healthy.
If you’re a UK business, reliant on a productive workforce, then you’ll likely be looking at Generation Z to help drive the future of your business. Whether you employ three people or 30,000 you know that every person you employ has an influence and an effect on your company.
What Is Appealing About Generation Z?
Generation Z includes those born between 1996 and 2012.
It’s often implied that Generation Z are entitled but the research suggests otherwise. There is a big difference between entitlement and knowing your value. Generation Z do have high expectations regarding their employment (or fair expectations depending on your stance) but they are very willing to work hard when these conditions are met.
Having grown up with smart technology and social media they are not intimidated by new systems, platforms or software and most of them are IT proficient. However, despite their reputation as the Tik Tok generation, they are highly optimistic in general and prefer in-person contact at work.
There’s no doubt that Gen Z has a lot to bring to the UK workforce. So, how can we make sure that we are appealing to the best in a generation as potential employers?
1. Flexibility and Motivation
In a 2019 survey by the Workforce Institute, 33% of Generation Z said they would not work for an employer who gave them no say over their work schedule. Whilst they claim that they are the hardest working generation, Gen Z want to be trusted and able to have flexibility over their working hours and place of work.
Although working-from-home culture is growing generally, the social aspects of work are important to Generation Z who prefer a hybrid approach. Especially favouring in-person training and being in the workplace more in the early days of their job.
Gen Z derives their motivation from feeling passionate about the work they’re doing so are keen to work on projects that inspire them and where they can have real input.
Generation Z were arguably amongst those the pandemic affected most in terms of education and entering the workplace. During the years often referred to as ‘the best of their lives,’ many young people were dealing with studying from home, virtual learning and even entering the workplace online. They were unable to enjoy the essential social aspects of work and education. Furthermore, they suffered and continue to suffer more from anxiety than most other age groups.
Therefore, wellbeing in the workplace is important, not only for these employees but for your business also. A 2021 survey by Deloitte found that 22% of Gen Zs and 26% of millennials had taken time off work due to stress and anxiety following the pandemic. In response, some companies have increased efforts to offer mental health and wellness support.
Of course, offering meditation, yoga, having plants in the office and wellbeing away-days are a great bonus. However, what most employees are looking for is better work and life balance, as well as processes and support when work becomes stressful.
- A Workplace Free Of Prejudice
Generation Z generally take a zero-tolerance approach to prejudice and certainly won’t accept any in the workplace. This includes any discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation and any other bias, whether it is happening to them or others.
Most companies have anti-discrimination policies in place but it is important to make sure these are being enforced. Unconscious bias training can help to support this, but generation Z are alert to statements without action. So if you’re flying a rainbow flag at Pride then make sure you’re LGBTQ+ friendly in practice every other day of the year too.
As an aside, climate change is also a leading concern of Gen Z and they are looking for eco-conscious workplaces working to combat their environmental impact.
- Real Employee Benefits
In the early 2000s photos of Google’s offices, with their gaming rooms, massage chairs, slides and climbing walls circulated and many thought this was the future of company offices. Yet, it hasn’t happened on a massive scale and that’s mostly because employees have other priorities.
Although free food, gym memberships, happy hours and other benefits are a bonus, only 11% of those surveyed by the Workforce Institute saw such things as a priority. By far, paid sick leave, competitive wages and generous holiday allowance were far more important.
Real employee benefits are those that make a real impact and make employees feel valued. Basically, it’s about getting the basics right.
Although the trend has, for a long time, been to change jobs every few years in order to pursue better salaries and move up the corporate ladder, Generation Z is looking for more stability than the former generation.
It is widely assumed this has a lot to do with increased economic uncertainty and the disruption of the pandemic, which has motivated Generation Z to find the right job and put down roots.
So, the good news for employers is that if you’re providing a workplace where Generation Z can thrive, they’re pleased to pledge their loyalty to you.