The stats are staggering: 61 million Gen Z professionals are entering the workforce and by 2030, Gen Zers will compose 30% of the workforce. For these professionals, working is about more than wages: 70% prefer to do something meaningful rather than make a lot of money. There are multiple incentives that organizations can offer to appeal to Gen Z employees to improve employee engagement.
Here are five ways organizations can motivate Gen Z employees in the workplace.
1. Work-life balance
We’ve entered a time in society where much value is placed on the time spent outside work. Although Gen Zers desire to make a difference in the workplace, these employees strive to follow their passions outside work as well.
To deliver this valued work-life balance, organizations must offer adequate paid time off and make it easy for employees to use that time, and managers must lead by example by taking time off themselves. Gen Zers want to feel valued as people. Convey this message by encouraging employees to take time off to reduce burnout, providing self-service tools that allow shift swapping when needed, and giving them access to their schedules as far in advance as possible. Offering benefits that support work-life balance will help foster an employee-centric culture where people feel valued.
Gen Zers want to feel valued as people at work.
On average, a Gen Zer will use five screens a day. This generation doesn’t remember or know life without a cellphone or high-speed internet. Technology has enabled them to receive information instantly through search engines and digital information, and thus they expect immediate answers to their queries. It’s no wonder Gen Z students’ attention spans are an astonishing 8 seconds, 4 seconds less than those of millennials.
Gen Zers expect technology to continue to be a part of their everyday life both inside and outside the workplace. Almost all (98%) own a smartphone, and nearly 23% expect text messaging to be an essential part of workplace communication. Gen Zers use technology to perform most daily tasks in their personal lives. To maximize engagement with this generation, it’s crucial that workplaces provide modern technological tools for their workers.
With Gen Z, organizations are working with highly skilled individuals who are looking for a sense of purpose, managerial recognition, and continuous feedback on performance.
In addition to managerial feedback, Gen Zers also value the recognition of their peers. Organizations can implement peer-to-peer or team member programs geared toward building connections and trust between employees. These initiatives empower Gen Z workers to drive positive change in their performance and for the organization. It is also important to grant employees the opportunity to contribute their input. Creating space for the employee voice will allow people to feel valued and appreciated.
4. Career growth
Gen Z wants to see clear career pathways and opportunities for growth. A recent study of younger nurses found that 43% claim the opportunity to grow professionally through career advancement was a crucial factor impacting the work environment.To address this motivation, work environments can provide training opportunities, as 36% of younger nurses chose career advancement training as the most helpful type of employer education.
Performance reviews are especially critical for this generation, as Gen Zers thrive on receiving feedback. Many are joining the workforce directly from an environment where they received it constantly—school. Transitioning from an educational setting to a position where opportunities to make measured improvements may only be provided annually could be discouraging. Keeping the lines of communication between managers and employees open can help.
A recent study found that 60% of Gen Zers want multiple check-ins from their manager during the week; of those, 40% want the interaction with their boss to be daily or several times each day. Implementing technologies that automate feedback provides an opportunity to grant this feedback with ease. Providing mobile communication tools to the workforce is also vital, as they keep them connected to their managers, each other, and the organization.
5. Visibility and insight
It’s difficult to empower employees without giving them visibility and insight into their work. While employees of every age want to know how the work they do makes an impact, that’s especially true for younger generations. They work long hours and want to see the results of that work via performance indicators. Visibility is critical to providing those insights. Visibility into real-time data can also help with the performance management of employees, not to mention talent management and retention.
Fueling the Future
Gen Zers will play a large role in shaping the transformation of the workplace. Their comfort level with technology, emphasis on work-life balance, and focus on personal and social values are factors that will have a significant impact on the future of work. It will be important for organizations to understand and respond to the unique perspectives and needs of this new generation. This is a critical step to remain competitive.