Today’s offices embrace multigenerational workplaces that demonstrate a diverse age range.
Gen Z employees are more prevalent, and employers must adapt to their desires to prevent turnover.
Gen Z’s priorities are the byproduct of environmental stressors, like maturing amid the COVID-19 pandemic and increased social awareness.
Gen Z — describing people born from 1997 to 2012 — is plugged in and vocal about how workplaces could and should accommodate them. What does this look like and do these demands yield the fresh perspective they aim for?
Why Gen Z Employees Are the Way They Are
Every generation comes with stereotypes — some born out of truth while others are sweeping statements lacking nuance. Millennials grew up alongside technology as it developed at a reasonably slow pace. Gen Zers are digital natives, growing up surrounded by tech accelerating faster than humanity can keep up with.
Artificial intelligence is ubiquitous to Gen Z and keeping up with the next internet trend is second nature. Employers must know the root cause of these assumptions before being able to navigate them productively. These are some of the most well-known stereotypes of the generation that employers must challenge before catering and adjusting to their needs empathetically:
- They are entitled.
- They need instant gratification.
- They have too high of expectations for brands, engaging in “social justice warrior” behaviors.
- They quiet-quit.
- They have a poor work ethic due to laziness.
- They have short attention spans because of constant media exposure.
- They are addicted to tech and cannot handle real-life interactions.
Technology is an inarguable influence. Widespread information access — and overload — is another factor in their passionate activist mentalities, lobbying for fair employee treatment and diverse workplaces. They see how previous generations have been passive to less-than-fair working conditions.
They seek to modernize, or go the solopreneur or influencer route to develop financial independence. The fresh perspective will make companies more flexible, inclusive and sustainable for growing generations.
What Gen Zers Want from Employers
Distilling the priorities of Gen Zers reveals an overlap of all generations. They want security and contentment from their workplace, meaning their job cannot control their happiness or choices.
Around 27% of Gen Zers say remote work is a necessary offering. They want this to create more flexibility in their life. Gen Zers do not want to commute or deal with workplace politics — especially when they know of versatile online tools that could enable them to work from home. Under this Gen Z desire are hidden corporate boons. The perspective will help organizations save millions in unnecessary office utilities while progressing toward necessary digital transformation.
Companies must provide comprehensive onboarding packages that care for employees’ health, professional progression and financial security. For example, wages should consider inflation and cost-of-living increases. Gen Z employees will quiet-quit and even boycott places of employment that provide meager pay by engaging in influential online discourse that could cost corporations in reputation disruption.
Gen Z employees will also be the face of more progressive work policies. From rewriting employee manuals with gender-neutral pronouns to engaging in environmental, social and governance policies, employers must publicize how they create accepting environments that acknowledge unjust disparities and societal prejudices. If businesses don not leverage this novel point of view, they will not hire young employees or keep Gen Z customers.
These behaviors signify what companies must do to hold Gen Z’s interest in tenured relationships. They are the most diverse and educated generation in history, with almost half being ethnic or racial minorities surrounded by post-collegiate, metropolitan guardians. Corporations cannot trick workers into low wages, minimal benefits packages, inflexible scheduling, or dismissive social and environmental commitments anymore.
How Employers Can Appeal to Gen Zers
Based on their priorities, Gen Z employees want fair pay, good benefits and a flexible work-life balance in a thoughtful, diverse workplace. How can organizations integrate these ideologies into their operations?
A way to appeal to Gen Z employees is to embrace the social internet. Businesses must adopt technology and take advantage of Gen Z's digital intuitiveness. Making their job relevant to this landscape will make them more attentive to their role — especially in marketing-, creative- or public relations-centered roles.
Organizations can see this based on their brand recognition with Gen Z audiences. Brands would not have found success without Gen Z voices and strategies. If they can make customers aware of their products and services, then employers can do the same to keep Gen Z employees committed to their responsibilities.
Transparency is a cornerstone of any Gen Z-inspired business change. Here are some examples from a wide array of corporate subjects Gen Z employees keep their eyes and ears peeled for:
- Job descriptions with exact salary numbers — no ranges
- Accessible data demonstrating their commitment and progress to become more eco-conscious
- Benefits that protect LGBTQ+, minority, neurodivergent and otherwise marginalized populations
- Publicly disclosed alignment to political figures or social issues, namely on equality
- Disclosures on how companies will collect, use and protect employee data
- Explanations of communications channels to managerial or stakeholder individuals to express grievances that will lead to action
By choosing values-based operations, workplaces’ foundational standards will change to a more ethical model that aligns with the personal sentiments of Gen Zers and subsequent generations as they lean toward more progressive, impactful business structures.
Gen Z Employees Are Making Workplaces Listen
Corporations that listen to Gen Z concerns will have a competitive advantage. They will be ahead of the curve in having high employee morale and workplace contentment. These businesses are more likely to solidify long-term employee relationships because they offer a practical and supportive work-life balance that challenges toxic workplace treatment and expectations.
Frequently Asked Questions
What defines Generation Z?
Generation Z describes individuals born from 1997 to 2012. They're known for being digital natives, meaning they have grown up with rapidly advancing technology, and are highly connected and informed due to widespread access to information.
What are the most prevalent stereotypes about Generation Z?
Gen Z is often labeled as entitled, needing instant gratification, having high expectations for brands, tending to “quiet-quit” jobs, having a poor work ethic, having short attention spans due to constant media exposure, and being addicted to technology.
What does Generation Z desire from workplaces?
Gen Z desires security and contentment from their workplaces. They seek flexibility such as remote working, comprehensive benefits packages that include fair wages and job security, and more progressive work policies. They also value diversity, transparency, and a company's commitment to social and environmental issues.
Why is embracing digital technology important for employers when it comes to Gen Z?
Gen Z employees have grown up in a digital world, so businesses must adopt and leverage technology to appeal to them. This is particularly important in roles related to marketing, creativity, and public relations where Gen Z's digital intuitiveness can significantly contribute.
How does Gen Z's demand for transparency manifest in business practices?
Gen Z employees look for transparency in various areas, such as precise salary figures in job descriptions, clear data on companies' eco-friendly efforts, protections for marginalized populations, public alignments with political or social issues, and transparent communication channels for expressing grievances.
What does “quiet-quit” mean?
“Quiet-quit” refers to the action of leaving a job without making a fuss, often because the employee feels undervalued or underpaid. Gen Z employees are known to engage in this behavior if they're unhappy with their compensation or the company's culture.
How can companies prevent Gen Z employees from “quiet-quitting”?
Companies can prevent Gen Z employees from “quiet-quitting” by providing comprehensive benefits packages that respect employees' needs, paying fair wages that take into account inflation and cost-of-living increases, offering flexible work options, and aligning with Gen Z's social and environmental values.
How is Gen Z affecting diversity in workplaces?
Gen Z is the most diverse and educated generation in history. Their demand for workplaces to respect diversity and inclusion is causing businesses to rewrite policies, create more inclusive environments, and acknowledge and address societal prejudices.
How are Gen Z employees changing the concept of work-life balance?
Gen Z employees prioritize a balanced work-life dynamic where their job doesn't control their happiness or personal choices. They highly value remote work, which allows them to achieve this balance, reduce commute time, and avoid traditional workplace politics.
What is the impact of Gen Z's activist mentality on businesses?
Gen Z's activist mentality results in their demand for fair treatment of employees and diverse workplaces. They're vocal about these issues and are willing to leverage online platforms to express dissatisfaction or promote change. As such, businesses are being urged to modernize their practices or risk losing Gen Z employees and customers.