What You Should Know About Your Gen Z Workforce

The recent addition of Generation Z to the workplace has left some employers needing help to adapt. Although the young adults of Gen Z bear some similarities to Millennials, this generation is ultimately its unique animal with plenty of quirks. Here’s what employers need to know about attracting and retaining their Gen Z workforce.

Four unique arms hold up a Gen Z sign signifying Gen Z in the workforceHow is Gen Z Different from Other Generations?

The Pew Research Center uses 1997 as the first birth year of Generation Z with no clearly defined end limit. Other sources place the start of the generation in 1995 or 1996. Either way, they were children during 9/11 and the recession of 2008. The first iPhone was released in 2007, which means Gen Z has effectively grown up with the Internet at their fingertips.

In terms of politics, Gen Z has much in common with Millennials. They tend to be progressive and in favor of social change. They are, however, more racially and culturally diverse than previous generations and more educated overall. They’re more likely to go to college and less likely to drop out of high school.

However, they’re also entering the workforce later in life: only 18% of Gen Z teens were employed as of 2018, compared to 27% of Millennials of the same age in 2002 and 41% of Gen Xers of the same age in 1986.

What to Know about Working with Gen Z

Generation Z has had a rocky introduction to the workforce thus far. Most were between 18-23 when the COVID pandemic hit, meaning that many were graduating and beginning their careers only to face immediate unemployment or a transition to fully remote work.

As such, the Gen Z workforce lacks experience even after several years. We tend to underestimate how much learning comes from in-person mentorship and connection. Often, we pick up on norms and habits simply through osmosis at work. Remote workers and those who struggled to find jobs during the pandemic didn’t have this luxury.

Employers should be patient with their Gen Z workforce. Many are starting their careers in a turbulent industry landscape without adequate preparation. Here are a few good things about Gen Z that can help business owners and managers understand them better.

  • They love to learn. The Gen Z workforce is highly adaptable. Although they may have little experience, they quickly catch on. They also tend to be proficient in technology, making it easy to pick up new software and programs.
  • They value work-life balance. Gen Z values the flexibility that remote and hybrid working arrangements allowed them during the pandemic. Some frustrated employers might see this attitude as a lack of commitment, but all employees (including business owners) would benefit from an environment accommodating life outside of work.
  • They care about ethics. Gen Z is deeply concerned with doing what’s right. They will work incredibly hard for a company whose mission they believe in. You can harness their passion by showing them how their work makes a difference in the community or your customers’ lives.
  • They value clarity. Those of the Gen Z workforce who faced layoffs or unemployment during the pandemic are slow to trust. Their first career lesson was that they seemed to be disposable. Ensuring clear communication and transparency around decision-making will put them at ease and foster a more open company culture.
  • They are in tune with their mental health. They are more likely to see burnout coming and be able to head it off, but employers must be willing to listen and work with them to adjust within reason. Benefits like additional time off or mental health support can help your employees stay happy and healthy long-term.

Ultimately, with some guidance, the Gen Z workforce can improve your office culture. Sign up for a complimentary video coaching session here to learn more about motivating your valuable Gen Z employees.

Coach Dave

Dave Schoenbeck
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