As the workforce evolves, Gen Z, the new wave of professionals, is making its mark. Born between 1997 and 2012, Gen Z brings fresh perspectives, innovative thinking, and unique workplace expectations. Comprising 30% of the world’s population, they are projected to grow to 27% of the workforce by 2025. Are organisations ready for Gen Z's expectations and demands?
To tap into Gen Z's potential and create a thriving work environment, businesses must understand and adapt to their needs. In this article, we discuss strategies to meet Gen Z's workplace expectations and foster an environment where they can excel, maximising your business's benefits from this talented generation.
What’s in this article?
- Gen Z’s digital native perspective
- What does Gen Z want from their careers?
- How to meet Gen Z’s expectations in the workplace
Gen Z’s digital native perspective
Gen Z brings a unique perspective to the workplace that is shaped by their experiences and interactions with technology. Unlike previous generations, Gen Z has never known a world without the internet, smartphones, and social media. They are the first true digital natives, growing up in a hyperconnected world where technology is an integral part of their daily lives.
Seamless digital experiences have become the norm for Gen Z. They expect efficiency, convenience, and user-friendly interfaces in all aspects of their lives. The instant access to information and fast communication they have grown up with has influenced their desire for streamlined processes and immediate results. Consequently, they bring these expectations to the workplace as well.
Gen Z value work-life integration and want flexibility in how and where they work. They want the autonomy of remote work arrangements and the ability to collaborate virtually.
What does Gen Z want from their careers?
Understanding Gen Z’s expectations can help employers to attract, engage and retain Gen Z talent. But what do Gen Z want from their careers?
- Purpose and meaning - 77% of Gen Zs believe it’s important to work for organisations that share their values. They want to be part of something larger than themselves and contribute to a greater purpose.
- Growth and development - Continuous learning and development opportunities are important to both Gen Z and Millennials, with a quarter of employees aged 16-34 prioritising training and development as a key motivator. They want jobs that provide avenues for skill-building, career advancement, and personal growth.
- Work-life balance - According to Deloitte, 49% of Gen Zs prioritise work-life balance as their top consideration when selecting an employer. They value their wellbeing more than previous generations and seek environments that support their personal interests and maintain a healthy integration of work and personal life.
- Authenticity and inclusivity - Gen Z values diversity, equality, and individual differences. 83% of Gen Z candidates consider an organisation's commitment to diversity and inclusion as a significant factor when choosing an employer. They seek companies that prioritise inclusivity and belonging and provide equal opportunities for individuals from diverse backgrounds.
- Technological advancement - As digital natives, Gen Z is comfortable with technology and expects workplaces to leverage advanced tools and platforms. They appreciate organisations that embrace digital transformation, providing them with the latest technologies to enhance their productivity, collaboration, and efficiency.
- Entrepreneurial opportunities - Gen Z appreciates organisations that encourage an entrepreneurial culture, encourage creativity, and provide opportunities to take risks and make an impact.
- Authentic communication - Open and transparent communication is very important to Gen Z employees, as they expect honest feedback from their managers and colleagues. Environments where clear expectations are set, and regular communication is required enable them to freely express their ideas, opinions, and concerns.
How to meet Gen Z’s expectations in the workplace
To meet Gen Z's workplace expectations, employers must understand and adapt to their unique preferences and values. Prioritising career development, collaboration, diversity, and work-life balance is crucial. These strategies foster engagement, promote growth, and encourage long-term commitment.
- Provide personalised career development
- Promote diversity and inclusion
- Adopt a collaborative and team-oriented approach
- Support a healthy work-life balance
1. Provide personalised career development
Gen Z values flexibility, variety, and continuous learning over traditional careers. To support them, organisations must invest in tailored training and development programmes that align with their passions. Providing regular feedback and inviting open dialogue can empower Gen Z employees to thrive and contribute their unique talents.
Gen Z appreciates transparency and managers who support their individual career paths. Understanding how their role contributes to the business’s success and aligns with their long-term goals motivates them. This makes them more productive and promotes job satisfaction, and higher retention rates.
2. Promote diversity and inclusion
Gen Z is the most diverse generation in history, and they expect the workplace to reflect the same level of diversity and inclusivity that they experience in their everyday lives. To meet these expectations, organisations should prioritise diversity and inclusion across hiring, employee development, and operations.
This involves actively seeking diverse candidates during recruitment processes, providing unconscious bias training, and implementing policies that promote equal opportunities. It's crucial to create an environment where Gen Z can express their authentic selves, including gender identity, without discrimination.
By prioritising diversity and inclusion, organisations can not only attract Gen Z talent but also cultivate innovation, creativity, and collaboration.
3. Adopt a collaborative and team-oriented approach
Gen Z thrives in collaborative work environments that promote open communication, cooperation, and effective teamwork. They value opportunities to collaborate with peers, contribute ideas, and work together on projects. It promotes creativity and allows them to achieve better outcomes through diverse perspectives.
Organisations should implement collaborative tools and technologies such as project management software, messaging platforms, and virtual meeting solutions to enable seamless communication and collaboration regardless of location or time zone, aligning with Gen Z's familiarity with digital platforms and instant connectivity.
However, despite the benefits of collaborative tools that facilitate remote work, it’s important to recognise the value of getting Gen Z employees to return to the office. The physical workspace offers unique opportunities for face-to-face interactions and spontaneous collaboration that can’t be fully replicated online. Being in the same physical environment creates a sense of camaraderie, strengthens relationships, and allows for more immediate feedback.
4. Support a healthy work-life balance
Like Millennials, Gen Z values work-life balance and seeks employers who prioritise their wellbeing. They want control over their schedules and a healthy integration of personal and professional lives. Gen Z chooses employers who support their need for time off and overall fulfilment.
At FDM, we offer an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), which provides confidential counselling to assist our consultants in managing their personal and work-related challenges. We recognise that supporting the wellbeing of our consultants is essential for their overall satisfaction and productivity.
To attract and retain Gen Z talent, employers should create a work environment that promotes work-life balance and wellbeing. This includes setting boundaries, encouraging self-care, and providing resources for stress management and mental health. Prioritising Gen Z's wellbeing demonstrates an organisation's commitment to its employees.
For Gen Z, personalised career development and a diverse workplace are crucial. Investing in training programmes, establishing apprenticeship programmes, and embracing a tailored approach can attract and retain Gen Z talent while improving overall retention and team morale. Taking a proactive approach to reducing attrition is essential for long-term success.
At FDM, we recognise the importance of adapting to the needs of Gen Z in the workplace. We have developed comprehensive training and development programmes that allow our Gen Z consultants to thrive in their careers. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion ensures that all our employees feel valued and respected, fostering a culture of belonging.