How to cater for generation Z

Brett Hill

Brett Hill

Generation Z (those aged 18 to 24) now outnumber Millennials and account for 32 per cent of the global population, but they are the workers that employers understand the least. Businesses need to learn how to engage and retain Gen Z, or risk alienating this new and important generation of talent.

Almost half (48 per cent) of employees who quit their job in 2018 left their role because it was not what they thought it would be.

Among Generation Z employees this figure is even higher, with three-quarters (73 per cent) quitting a role because it did not meet their expectation.

This is a clear warning for businesses that Gen Zers are prone to switch jobs if they are unhappy.

Gen Z at most risk of becoming disengaged in the workplace

To avoid these workers becoming totally disenfranchised, employers need to accommodate the newest generation who boast very different wants and needs to the generation before them, Millennials.

The most common assumption made is that Gen Z are just like Millennials, but Generation Z have their own set of values, defined by living through tough economic situations.

Uniquely set apart from any other generation in the workplace, Generation Z have been connected to the digital world since birth, growing up, their lives have been entwined with technology, social media and smartphones.

They are the true digital natives; with all the information they have ever desired quite literally available at their fingertips.

Entering a workplace where there is a lack of communication will feel completely alien to this cohort.

Generation Z are more likely to save than spend their wages, and are risk-averse and cautious when it comes to decision making, having grown up during an economic downturn.

Gen Z tend to place much greater importance on diversity and the environment than Millennials. They are the most diverse generation to date, and do not identify themselves in clearly defined categories, but rather have a much more fluid sense of themselves.

Getting the best out of Gen Z

As Gen Z enters the workforce, they not only bring different skills and ideas but new expectations and ways of working, putting businesses in the uniquely challenging position of needing to adapt to an unknown generation of workers.

Understanding characteristics is one step, but to go even further it is a good idea for businesses to put together and analyse a profile of their unique workforce and then look at how to truly engage Gen Z within this.

It is important that employers adapt communications and wellbeing initiatives within the range of Gen Z’s needs. For example, offering tailored support for health and wellbeing can be a great way to show Gen Z they are recognised as individuals.

Furthermore, employee benefits should not be standardised or necessarily employee-wide.

To appeal to Gen Z, businesses need to be creative and develop something which this group can tailor, such as offering personalised DNA testing – looking at an individual’s genetics in relation to improving areas such as nutrition, fitness, wellness, stress and sleep.