Dubbed the “Great Resignation”, this continuing phenomenon sees companies experience mass cases of workers quitting due to frustration from unideal workplace conditions. At the helm are Gen Z employees. Business Insider’s February 2023 article, ‘Welcome to Generation Quit,’ explains that because they were the first choices for 2020 layoffs, Gen Z workers realised how expendable they were to their companies. Those who did find work, moreover, were overloaded and burned out. And as the frustrations snowballed, more and more Gen Z coped with doubt by finding new jobs. These attitudes persist, as the World Economic Forum cites that 40% of people across six countries are considering leaving their job in the near future.
Although these conditions may seem alarming, Gen Z’s career decisions are motivated by the desire for better workplace practices. If you’re wondering how to attract and retain Gen Z talent, here are some insights into what the youngest in our workforce currently value in the workplace.
Management consulting firm McKinsey’s October 2022 report “How Does Gen Z See Its Place in the Working World? With Trepidation” shows that Gen Z are adamant about protecting their physical health. These employees are the most likely to report physical health issues and consider them an impediment to workplace performance. These health problems may be associated with the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle common in modern workplaces, which include poorer blood circulation, fatigue, and muscle pain.
One way your company can address this is by heightening ergonomics; that means elevating workplace design to be optimal for employee use. You can provide ergonomic chairs designed to encourage proper working posture, improving productivity and overall health and wellness. In particular, the Herman Miller Aeron Chair provides a seat tilt limiter that naturally pivots your shoulders, necks, knees, and hips to reduce body pains. You can also offer adjustable standing tables, like the Fezibo Electric Standing Desk, which encourages employees to change their working position once in a while. Lastly, promote frequent breaks from work to help workers stretch their muscles and improve blood circulation.
Mental health is one of the top priorities for Gen Z when looking for jobs. In fact, a survey by workplace training company TalentLMS shows that Gen Z workers value a more humanistic type of labour. Their research finds that 82% want mental health days, and 74% prefer hybrid or remote work. Additionally, respondents reported that their top reasons for resignation include burnout and lack of work-life balance. As such, you must promote mental wellness by encouraging this balance among your employees.
It’s critical for workplaces to set healthy boundaries on how accessible employees should be after hours to protect their well-being. As much as possible, employees should not be contacted on their personal time. Promote work-life balance by encouraging employees to finish their tasks within the assigned work hours. This can reduce the need for overtime, which can be costly for the company and exhausting for employees. By setting firm boundaries in this manner, you can protect employees’ well-being without sacrificing productivity in the workplace.
An inclusive culture
Employees today want to work with companies whose values they can resonate with. This is proven by the TalentLMs research mentioned above, which finds that 77% of Gen Z consider it essential that their workplace pursues diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts.
You can promote DEI by recognising employees’ diverse needs. Instead of providing everyone with the same benefits, allow employees to choose the benefits most meaningful to them. This is in line with the motives behind the bill mentioned above, which intends to promote a balance between work and private life. For instance, you can cater to the working preferences your employees have. Some may prefer hybrid set-ups to focus on their families, while others may want to work onsite fully since their homes are not conducive to work. Additionally, you should invest in DEI training and programs for all members of your organisation and encourage DEI programs at every level.
These days, growth opportunities are non-negotiable for workers. Online education platform LinkedIn Learning stresses this, reporting that 76% of Gen Z believe that learning is integral to career success. As such, providing learning and career development opportunities can motivate them to stay.
Foster growth by arranging virtual or in-person training sessions, providing mentorship, encouraging peer coaching, and giving access to virtual certificate courses. Survey your workers and ask what opportunities would benefit them. Through this, you can maximise career development in the company.
Although workplaces are being challenged today, Gen Z’s expectations can serve as a blueprint for healthier working conditions. Listening to their preferences can revitalise your company’s policies and enrich your relationship with your youngest employees.