Now more than ever, Generation Z (Gen Z), born between 1997 to 2012, is challenging the standards of the workforce. As a generation of hyperconnected individuals, teeming with thought-provoking ideas and career-driven digital awareness, Generation Z is pushing workplaces to evolve.
Throughout the course of the pandemic, one thing that has remained consistent is Gen Z’s propensity to move and seek out greener pastures. According to Work Design Magazine writer, Brandon Lacic’s article “Surprise! Youngest Workers Need the Office More,” In a survey of 5,000 employees, it was discovered that Gen Z is twice as likely to leave their job in the next 6 months than previous generations.”
The question is then: how can employers retain and keep Gen Z workers interested? The first step is to consider what Gen Z workers seek in the workplace.
According to Salma Siddiqi of Work Design Magazine, who wrote about this in her article, How Workplace Design Can Help Attract Gen Z, “the onset of the pandemic brought a shift in the culture of work-life balance. It was also the moment when many Gen Z workers began their careers. As a result, Gen Z workers demand more flexibility from their employers.” They want the ability to choose a hybrid model, where they can maintain the demands of their personal life, while also gaining needed collaboration and human interaction from the workplace.
Steelcase presents the same idea through their Making Hybrid Work Better blog post, which features tech leaders including Corporate Vice President for Modern Work at Microsoft, Jared Spataro. In this post, he states “The employees who went home in 2020 aren’t the same as those coming back to the office in 2022. They have great expectations for what they get out of a job and flexibility has become a non-negotiable. Making hybrid work will require a new cultural mindset, as well as the right technology and space to enable every employee to contribute, regardless of when, where, or how work happens.”
In a similar article presented by Steelcase, Creating Hybrid Culture, it is stated that “in a recent Steelcase webinar, Prototyping future of work, nearly 59% of the 1,000 attendees said the biggest benefit of hybrid work is the ability to attract and retain talent.”
With the change in mindset from Gen Z entering the workplace, the need to understand and embrace this cultural shift is a must. The demands of flexibility, as well as technology, will only continue as time goes on.
Mental health awareness is another quality that Gen Z workers are seeking. Siddiqi stated in her article that “Gen Z is highly attentive to patterns of burnout, and by incorporating “wellness rooms”, offices can hold space for employees to take well-needed breaks during all that they are juggling.”
Privacy booths and other collaborative work areas help provide these workers with diverse choices and moments of peace.
Further insight into Gen Z’s mindset of a workplace is stated in Laci’s article. He states that “Gen Z values the office more as it is a resource tool for them to complete tasks that arise throughout the day. Gen Z also wants to contribute their voices in the office—for them, it is the place to be seen, heard, and make an effective change.”
A switch in the mindset of how we view traditional workspaces is integral to retaining Gen Z workers. Companies must evolve and work together to meet the ever-changing needs of their workers. By incorporating culture, space, active listening, and candid conversations with employees, the workplace will retain key performers.