Generation Z (aka Gen Z, iGen, or Zoomers) are the most recent generation to enter the workforce, known for their digital literacy and concern for social responsibility. Born after 1995, Gen Z are familiar with the fast-changing tech landscape of the modern world, and the social and environmental issues that come with it.
With one in two Gen Zers predicted to graduate with a University degree, they are tipped to make up 27% of the global workforce by 2025 and are the first generation of workers to prioritise purpose over pay.
Following the onset of the global pandemic, the priorities of employees have shifted to value flexibility and positive workplace culture. The workforce is now experiencing a war for talent, with employers facing a competitive landscape for recruiting and retaining employees.
It’s important for recruiters to focus on creating a workplace that attracts valuable Gen Z employees, and fosters both their professional and personal development.
Here’s how to do it.
1. Embrace digital
As a generation raised online, Gen Z are digital natives. The digital world influences almost everything they do, from how they socialise through to how they carry out day-to-day tasks.
To retain Gen Z employees, it’s important to provide them with the right tools. This includes adopting digital-first practices, cloud-based file management, and automated processes wherever possible.
Gen Z employees learn best through visual means, like watching videos and engaging with interactive content, so keep this in mind when you are facilitating employee training and induction for new starters.
2. Adopt purpose-driven values and practices
One of the defining features of Gen Z employees is their dedication to social and environmental causes. Climate anxiety drives the employment decisions of many Gen Z workers, and over 50% of Gen Z consumers ensure a brand aligns with their values before they purchase from them. Gen Z employees expect authenticity and transparency, and aren’t afraid to call out companies who aren’t making an effort to improve their social and environmental impact.
There are a few ways a business can shift to adopting purpose-driven practices. This can include donating a portion of profits to a social cause or charity, promoting employee volunteering days, and introducing a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program.
Implementing green initiatives within the office is also becoming increasingly vital, and involves smart office design, reusing and recycling, monitoring electricity and water usage, and committing to global certifications – such as becoming Carbon Neutral Certified and B Corp Certified.
Many coworking providers use wellness and environmental impact to drive their office design. Most coworking spaces include features such as carbon offsetting, natural light and plants, eco-friendly cleaning products, and recycling programs. This makes utilising coworking spaces the obvious choice for many employers looking to attract Gen Z employees, as they can rely on their coworking provider to implement green initiatives in their workspace.
3. Promote an inclusive workplace culture
Gen Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation of workers, and are more likely to be the children of immigrated parents.
With almost 70% of Gen Z employees more likely to apply for a job at a company that promotes diversity in their recruitment, fostering an inclusive workplace culture is imperative.
Creating an inclusive workplace involves more than just communicating your efforts in job listings. People teams need to regularly train staff on bias and cultural differences, as well as actively focus on recruiting employees from diverse backgrounds at all levels – including senior and executive roles.
Make an effort to regularly update company policies, feature diverse imagery in marketing and advertising materials, and provide inclusive facilities like prayer rooms and spaces designed for employees with a disability.
4. Support flexible and hybrid work arrangements
If you’re yet to implement flexible and hybrid work arrangements and still expect employees to be physically present in the office from Monday to Friday, there’s a high chance you’ll have trouble attracting Gen Z talent.
Flexibility at work is now an expectation rather than a bonus, and Gen Z employees value companies that trust them to work remotely and promote a healthy work/life balance. The days of hustle culture are long gone and have instead been replaced with an understanding that employee performance should be measured on their output of work, rather than their time spent sitting in the office.
It is important to keep in mind that Gen Z employees are fairly new to the workforce and benefit from collaborating in person and learning from their peers. Adopting a hybrid work model that sees your employees come into the office a few days a week provides the happy medium of promoting flexibility, while also fostering a collaborative team culture.