Gen Z now makes up 30% of the world’s population. Of course, this also means an influx of Gen Z in the workplace. By 2025, members of this generation will comprise a quarter of our workforce.
This new wave of employees demands very different things from their employers than their predecessors. They have higher expectations and ignoring those, or being stuck in your ways under the guise of “tradition” puts you at risk of ending up like the steam engine or horse-drawn carriages.
If you want your business to survive, you need to engage Gen Z in the workplace sooner rather than later. They’re the future leaders, decision makers, and investors that could one day influence the fate of your business. The sooner you show them that you value their input, the sooner you’ll experience the benefits of a multi-generational workforce.
So, how do you engage Gen Z in the workplace? Here are 5 ways you can do just that:
Show diversity matters
Gen Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation ever. Half of its members identify as a racial or ethnic minority.
That means they care about what you’re doing to make your business more diverse. It’s not enough to just say you support diversity, or that your company is diverse. You need to prove it.
Some ways to do so include updating your hiring processes, creating ERGs, sharing employee stories on your social media pages, supporting a range of charities, or by getting your leaders to speak up about causes that matter to them.
On a deeper level, you need to embody diversity. You need to support employees who report a colleague for their behavior, whatever that may be. Don’t assume because they’re reporting their manager it’s because they don’t get along.
You also need to educate everyone within the business on things like microaggressions. Not everyone knows or understands how microaggressions can seep into everyday life. Just because they’re unconscious or unintentional, that doesn’t mean they’re not harmful.
HR teams need to work to address them, and not just because it’s key to engaging Gen Z the workplace. Ultimately, it’s just the right thing to do.
Update your hiring process
So you want to show them that you really are committed to it.
You can do this by offering different types of hiring based on candidates’ preferences. For instance, you could provide information in both video and written format. Are there ways you could make your hiring process more attractive to jobseekers with disabilities?
Less than a quarter of disabled people were employed last year, despite many of us being perfectly capable of working. We simply need to know our employer can work with us and not against us.
Consider what accommodations you can make to your hiring process, as well as to your workplace more broadly. And speak about it early and often. People with disabilities are likely to think your organization is not for them unless you show/tell them how you’ll welcome them.
And even if a prospective candidate doesn’t have a disability, they’re more likely to warm to your business if they can see that you enable different ways of working.
Also consider how inclusive your hiring team is. Is everyone from the same age group? Are they all from the same ethnicity? How can you broaden their experiences and backgrounds to get a more balanced view? It’s important to empower everyone to thrive, including Gen Z in the workplace.
Grow your groups
Unfortunately, more than a fifth of Gen Z in the workplace says they have no friends at work. Whereas baby boomers are nearly twice as likely to make most of their friends at work.
This is a huge generational difference. Businesses need to work to change this. Loneliness in any guise can come with significant short- and long-term health problems.
You could start by growing (or, if you don’t have any already, creating), employee groups. These communities give employees somewhere to get to know new colleagues outside of their immediate teams.
They can connect with people who have similar backgrounds or interests to them, helping expand their friend group and reducing the damaging impact of loneliness.
Offer career advancement opportunities
76% of Gen Z-ers feel that upskilling is key to their career advancement. And 67% want to work somewhere they can learn skills that will advance their careers.
So, if you don’t offer them this, there’s a high chance you’ll lose the interest of the next generation.
Gen Z switches jobs at a rate that’s 134% higher than before the pandemic. Millennials switch jobs 24% more. For boomers, that number is just 4%.
So, the more you can do to engage Gen Z in the workplace now, the sooner your business can grow and modernize to stay ahead of your competition.
Provide in-person training
Only 14% of employees want online training. 63% prefer in-person training. I can see why. It can be challenging to focus on an all-day training exercise, especially if that training is done at home.
Many trainings are hard to pay attention to, let alone when you’re getting bombarded with email and Slack notifications.
Offering training in person gives employees a chance to meet their colleagues and get away from the office. This can help with idea generation and clearing the cobwebs away, as my nan used to say.
If employees go to an external training session, it allows them to meet people from outside of the company but with similar goals or roles to them.
As well as providing them with the chance to make friends, this can also allow them crucial networking opportunities that may advance their careers further down the line.
Gen Z is the future of the modern workforce. One day, they’ll be the decision makers. The sooner you make your business attractive to Gen Z in the workplace, the more likely they are to rave about your business online. This will then attract more candidates from this next generation and all the benefits that can bring.
Ready to make your employee experience more attractive to Gen Z in the workplace? Look no further than Workrowd. Our user-friendly platform gives Gen Z one-stop shopping for all your employee programs, groups, and events.
That way, they can tap into what’s important to them from day one and easily form close connections with colleagues. Plus, real-time analytics let you know exactly what’s contributing to a positive experience for Gen Z in the workplace.