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3 Ways Companies Can Get Ready for Generation Z in the Workplace

March 11, 2019

Is your organization prepared for the next generation of job candidates? In 2017, Generation Z started entering the professional workforce. By 2025, they will represent nearly one in three workers worldwide and represent a total workforce population of nearly two billion. [1]

Companies that understand how Gen Z’s workplace needs and wants differ from Millennials, will have an advantage. Gen Z employees are hyperconnected to technology and set high standards for their careers and what they expect from companies— from opportunities for growth to overall culture.

As organizations look to integrate Gen Z with their existing multigenerational workforce mix of Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Millennial employees, they need to understand this new generation’s workplace preferences. We’ve identified three workforce initiatives that organizations can consider as they look to prepare for this incoming generation. [2]

91% of Generation Z said technological sophistication would impact their interest in working at a company. [2]

1. Identify Growth Opportunities

Like past generations of young professionals, Gen Z is looking to start their career on the right foot. Gen Z wants to do this by experiencing multiple areas of opportunity in a short period of time. Being able to experience work in this way will help them chart their path and customize their role within their organization.

A next step for organizations to take is to think about their early career experiences that Gen Z will be exposed to and figure out ways to infuse those early opportunities with exposure to other areas of the business. For example, Dreamworks is letting employees set aside a fixed amount of time to pursue interests that may be outside their primary role [3]. This can help them explore different aspects of the company and broaden their horizons.

2. Emphasizing Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion is increasingly important for organizations and for Gen Z, it’s a crucial consideration. They’re looking beyond just diversity as a measure — they value inclusiveness and forward-thinking core values that organizations live by. They are also socially conscious about key issues at work, like pay equity, diverse executive- and board-level leadership and giving back to the community.

This is an opportunity for companies to better understand the current state of their diversity and inclusion efforts, identify key gaps and put solutions in place. This is also a good time to survey and educate current employees as attitudes and behaviors regarding inclusion involve everyone — not just leadership.

“One of the first things that companies can do is get employees involved in the change that they want to see, as soon as possible,” says Theresa Harkins, VP of Client Success and Engagement Solutions at Inspirus. “It could be a group of key influencers, who can understand the case for change. It’s a solution-setting mindset that can’t be a top down decision and then pushed throughout the organization. It has to involve changes that are going to stand the test of time and be absorbed by the organization.”

3. A Holistic Take on Health and Well-being

While past generations looked to find balance between work and life, Gen Z seems more interested in a work life blend. The newest generation in the workplace is competitive and more open to having work and life be quickly shifting priorities. That said, they also have a better pulse on their own health and are highly aware of workplace wellness initiatives, such as on-site fitness and activity groups.

Organizations should look at tangible ways to make work-life blend more attainable for Gen Z, while setting clear boundaries for helping younger employees find the right blend. For example, J.P. Morgan Chase and other large banks have insisted that employees avoid working weekends to reduce potential burnout [4]. Regardless of blend or balance, organizations can help by providing a clear framework of expectations to new employees.

Rewriting the script on job descriptions: When it comes to roles within a company, Gen Z is all about customization. Not only are they interested in forging a career path that involves strengths and interests, but 56% of Gen Z would rather write their own job description instead of taking on a generalized title [5]. Gen Z is also very motivated and self-driven, as 76% view themselves as the owner of their careers and professional advancement. [6]

As your organization starts hiring and engaging more Gen Z employees, the most important approach to bringing them into the fold is to listen to your employees and to become an ally to help them navigate their emerging careers.


[1] mccrindle.com.au

[2] www.shrm.org

[3] www.forbes.com

[4] www.wsj.com

[5] www.shrm.org

[6] www.prnewswire.com

Topics: employee motivation, employee engagement, generational diversity, multigenerational workforce, inclusion