How employers can meet needs of Gen Z workers

To build a Gen Z ready work environment, organisations must prioritise flexibility, which is a non-negotiable for this generation.

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The emergence of Gen Zs into the workforce marks a pivotal moment for organisations worldwide. Gen Zs, like every other generation before them, have a unique point of view. They are digital natives who grew up in the era of rapid technology development and have a strong sense of social awareness.

These attributes have influenced their requirements for an ideal workplace. They demand work flexibility, technology integration, social responsibility, sustainability, and ethical business practices. It is therefore necessary for organisations to recognise and leverage these attributes to create a Gen Z-ready workplace that allows them to thrive and empowers them.

Questions about the work ethic and contributions of Gen Z in the workplace have sparked considerable debate.

Some people characterise them as entitled, unmotivated, demanding and difficult. However, these sweeping generalisations and misconceptions fail to capture the true essence of Gen Z. This is a generation with an entirely unique perspective on careers, how to define success in life and in the workforce and life in general.

According to the Deloitte's "2024 Gen Z and Millennial" report, Gen Zs highly value work-life balance, want purpose-driven work that aligns with their values and value mental health at the workplace. Additionally, a report by McKinsey highlights that Gen Zs place a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion when deciding where to work.

These insights debunk the notion that Gen Zs are solely motivated by financial rewards and instead reveal a generation driven by a desire for meaningful work and a positive impact on society.

Flexibility at the workplace

To build a Gen Z ready work environment, organisations must prioritise flexibility, which is a non-negotiable for this generation. This is because many started working during the pandemic era, which significantly shaped their experience.

This period forced a global rethink of traditional work structures, compelling organisations to adapt swiftly to remote work and flexible arrangements amidst widespread lockdowns and social distancing measures. Remote work became a necessity and accelerated the integration of technology in facilitating flexible work environments.

Organisations must therefore embrace flexibility to enhance the employee experience of Gen Zs and support their long-term business needs.

Gen Zs want to work with organisations that are aligned with their values of social responsibility and sustainability. The 2024 Deloitte report found that Gen Zs prioritise sustainability, social responsibility, and ethical business practices when searching for employment.

It further says that Gen Zs feel that organisations are best positioned to drive social change to address matters such as climate change, environmental conservation and societal challenges. By aligning with these values, organisations can create a workplace that connects with their desire for purpose-driven work.

Inclusivity and diversity

Gen Zs view these as non-negotiable pillars that define the essence of an organisation. Their concept of diversity includes gender, race, ethnicity, neurodiversity, people with disabilities and a diversity of ideas, experiences and backgrounds. Inclusivity on the other hand transcends a fair paycheck. They want to feel a sense of belonging and value environments where their unique insights are acknowledged and appreciated.

According to a 2020 "Handshake Network Trends Report", around half of Gen Z employees would quit jobs that do not meet their equity expectations. By Investing in cultivating a diverse environment, advocating for equity and fostering an inclusive culture, organisations can create a workplace that encourages innovation and growth for Gen Zs.

Mental health and work-life balance

Coaching, in recent years, has emerged as a comprehensive and effective tool to help organisations embrace the change that this new generation requires to succeed. It can be a very effective tool to address the unique demands of Gen Z by providing a safe space for individuals to set goals, develop self-awareness, and navigate challenges. This approach aligns perfectly with Gen Z's openness to mental health and preference for personalized growth.

Gen Zs are poised to become a dominant force by 2025 with Forbes Magazine estimating they will make up 27 percent of the workforce and one-third of the global population. They have played a significant role in pushing the boundaries of what is expected from employers, and they will continue to do so.

They can thrive in the right workplace environment that looks past damaging stereotypes on their character at the workplace.

Organisations that listen and adjust their strategies will have a more satisfied, productive, and agile workforce that is better prepared to adapt to the changing workplace dynamics.

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