Gen Z now makes up over 20% of the workplace and only continues to expand. But with attention spans low and social media creating an idealistic world where becoming an influencer or ‘TikTok famous’ is the ultimate life goal, how does this work ethic translate into office life?
Since Gen Z are the first fully digital generation, many young people are continuously consuming content which subconsciously shapes their ideologies and outlook on life. Gen Z have shown a disengagement to the typical 9 to 5 working life, taking to TikTok to create videos expressing their desire to live an easy life. “I don’t want to be a girlboss, I don’t want to hustle,” has become a trending audio highlighting just how turned off from the ‘hustle culture’ Gen Z truly are. Millennials on the other hand have attained the reputation as the burnt out generation, struggling with social, technological and economic pressures.
Gen Z are breaking down this barrier, demanding better working conditions from mental health support to inspirational leadership. With reports of mental health conditions increasing in university students by 450% in less than a decade, Gen Z are adamant not to continue on with these stress levels throughout their working lives. That’s not to say all Gen Zers aren’t interested in working, they’re simply not interested in burnout, plus there’s a high expectation from the workplace.
37% of young professionals under 30 say they voluntarily left a job in 2021. The younger generation simply aren’t as willing as Millennials or Baby Boomers to sacrifice happiness or job satisfaction. And why should they? Gen Z craves value within the workplace and there’s a strong desire to feel fulfilled, with only 41% of Gen Z finding meaning and purpose in their work lives.
What values are important to Gen Z?
Flexibility is key
As much as Gen Z wants to return to the office, this doesn’t mean full time. The pandemic has drastically changed the way all companies work. Many companies had never before considered work from home days let alone a complete hybrid environment but it’s one that needs to stick in order to get your employees to stick.
Sarah Khan of London-based fashion brand, Lalage Beaumont, says “it’s been extremely difficult finding someone who wants to be in the office 5 days a week. People expect a hybrid working policy nowadays.”
Make your company values clear and stick to them
Gen Z are incredibly ignited by current events and therefore want to work for companies that mirror their same morals and values. Don’t just talk about these values by sharing them on a company website; Gen Z are more interested in physical action being taken and a commitment to these values.
Whether it’s a stand against climate change through sustainable office design or a commitment to ensuring their staff have the mental health support they need, make your company values clear and more importantly, demonstrate it, don’t just talk about it.
Provide opportunities for growth and development
As mentioned, Gen Z cares a lot about value. This is both the value they bring to the company but also their own personal values and the sense of purpose they gain from working. Providing long term goals and development plans can help with giving your employees reassurance that they are valued, important and worthy.
Continue to show how valued they are
Gen Z aren’t the most driven by salary. Instead, they want to feel supported and noticed in the workplace. It’s important staff get the right training and support throughout their journey so they continue to feel valued. By encouraging regular meetings to run through progress and improvements, you can better team morale, as well as establishing yourself as a trustworthy leader.
What does this all mean for employers?
Each and every business needs to adapt to current global changes as well as employee feedback. With Gen Z and Millennials becoming a large part of the workforce, it’s key to implement initiatives that your younger employees care about. With a generation of workers who are ready to up and leave when their job satisfaction drops, investing in your people will be the biggest drive for them to stay.