Navigating a multigenerational workplace gives me the chance to interact with team members from several age groups. Every week, I speak or meet with baby boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Zers in offices across the country. I gain useful insights from each one, and I thoroughly enjoy having all of them on our company team.
Within the past couple of years, an increasing number of Gen Zers have joined our company. The fast-growing Gen Z cohort includes everyone born after 1997. Gen Zers will comprise 27% of the global workforce by 2025.
Hands down, Gen Zers are the most diverse generation to ever be part of the workforce. They bring a vibrant new energy to my company and the workplace. Here’s a snapshot of their work-related values and priorities.
Gen Zers evaluate a potential employer in different ways than previous generations. These young professionals do pay attention to the traditional salary and benefit considerations. However, a company’s values and morals (and how the business puts them into action) are far more important.
Not surprisingly, Gen Zers aren’t just paying lip service to this philosophy. Less than 20% of this group would work for a company that doesn’t share their core values. Stated another way, they want to work for a socially conscious employer that “walks the talk” every day. If the company doesn’t stack up, these young employees are likely to find one that does.
Many of these young employees started off their careers in a hybrid work environment. Older Gen Zers may have worked remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. In other words, they’re accustomed to a workplace that offers autonomy and flexible work schedules. They expect employers to continue offering those perks.
In reality, Gen Zers have taken it a step further. They often balk at eight-hour workdays, preferring to establish a work schedule that suits their preferences. They also don’t want to be required to come into the office every day. In their view, they can perform their jobs from any location with a good Internet connection.
Despite their young ages, Gen Zers are not easily fooled. They’ll see right through an employer who makes promises about company transparency but doesn’t follow through.
In my company, we believe that transparency comes first. We freely share our values and priorities with all our team members. We always keep them posted on current and upcoming projects. And, we encourage feedback on every aspect of our operations. My door is literally always open to our team members.
I also think a flow of employee-focused initiatives is key. Some offerings pertain to skills development while others involve good old-fashioned fun. Together, they encourage transparency and good communication, and that helps everybody win.
Gen Zers place a high value on career advancement opportunities. Over three-quarters of these young professionals view skills development programs as the best way to grow in their careers. Most Gen Zers would exit their company if they didn’t think it offered adequate career growth programs.
Employers can keep Gen Zers engaged by offering diverse skills development options. These offerings should include exposure to varied disciplines within the company. With numerous choices available, employees can pursue the opportunities that most intrigue them. Over time, Gen Zers will become higher-value team members in every respect.
Working hard toward a predetermined goal can bring amazing results. In fact, my company’s talented team members meet — and exceed — their goals every day. While this certainly supports business growth, it also provides employees with a sense of accomplishment.
However, I’m also aware that non-stop work can lead to increased stress and eventual burnout. When that occurs, a team member becomes progressively more unhappy and unproductive. This mindset can gradually affect other areas of their life.
Gen Zers have seen the effects of job burnout on their family members and friends. These young professionals are taking steps to avoid this undesirable outcome. Specifically, they are clearly stating that they want (and expect) a better work-life balance. They want to spend quality time with their families and friends. They also want plenty of free time to pursue other interests and devote time to social causes.
However, some employers might think Gen Zers’ work-life balance preferences mean they don’t want to work as hard. This is very often not the case. To achieve mutual agreement on this key point, both parties should engage in a “meeting of the minds.” Then, employers may learn that Gen Zers want to work when they think they’re most productive.
Looking at the bigger picture, rested and focused team members are more confident in their jobs. More confident employees are more creative and productive, and they are better collaborative partners.
Therefore, Gen Zers’ good work-life balance preferences can translate into more job satisfaction and career longevity. From a personal standpoint, I look forward to having them on my team for the long term.