5 Ways to Help Generation Z Thrive at Work

Here are ways you can support Generation Z employees — the youngest cohort to enter the workplace.

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Entering the workforce in the age of the Great Recession was tough for Millennials. Thanks to the pandemic and the economic crisis that came from it, Generation Z (or Gen Z) — the youngest generation in the workforce — have had a similar introduction into the working world.

Many Gen Zers graduated amid the remote learning bonanza that was 2020, and many members were just starting to launch their careers. Then the COVID-19 pandemic derailed everything from job offers to internship opportunities.

Thus, an important question has arisen for employers, leaders, and managers: How do we help Gen Z thrive in the workforce? From general advice for the generation, to tips for navigating this moment in time specifically, here’s how you can help the youngest members of your team or company make the most of their burgeoning careers in a time of chaos.

1. Make sure they have access to mentors

At all levels of work — but especially in the early stages — most people want and need solid mentorship.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot, some things remain the same. At all levels of work — but especially in the early stages — most people want and need solid mentorship. Having mentorship is often critical for advancement.

It’s not nearly enough to expect your workers to be happy simply with the fact that they have a job. Young people naturally still have their long-term careers in mind, which means that they’re still looking for paths toward advancement just like everyone else. As much as possible, ensure that your Gen Z employees have a mentor or, at the very least, have clear and uncomplicated access to mentorship options and opportunities. When talent starts to feel like they’re on a dead-end road, they’ll start looking for the door.

2. Connect them with financial resources, especially if your company offers them

The pandemic has created financial anxiety for so many people. Plus, many people come into their first or earliest jobs with little to no broad understanding of finances. Particularly for those who are making decent money out of the gate at, say, a company that gives them stock options or other financial incentives, figuring out how to make the most of that money is essential.

Does your company offer some kind of financial assistance or have relationships with other companies or organizations that offer financial services? Then be sure that the Gen Zers on your team and at your company know that the resources are there and how to access them.

Even if your company doesn’t have its own financial resources, it doesn’t hurt to come up with a list of places where your employees can go if they feel like they need financial help. From understanding money to quelling the stress and anxiety that can come from it, helping Gen Z employees find their financial footing can go a long way — especially these days.

3. Take mental health seriously

Speaking of stress and anxiety, Gallup’s recent State of the Global Workplace that looked at the impact that the global pandemic has had on the world of work found that U.S. workers are among the most stressed in the world (alongside Canadians). Gallup found that 57% of U.S. and Canadian respondents feel stressed on a daily basis compared to the 43% of global workers who feel daily stress.

This compounds the fact that anxiety in general is increasing for adult Americans under 50 years old. Not only can stress impact productivity, but it can also make people feel like it’s them — rather than their stress — that’s causing them to underperform or otherwise feel like the job isn’t a fit for them. Many then could quickly find themselves looking to leave.

If you want happy, productive, and satisfied employees, you have to take care of their mental health. This is especially true among Generation Z (and Millennials) who consider mental health at work to be a top priority.

If you want happy, productive, and satisfied employees, you have to take care of their mental health. This is especially true among Generation Z (and Millennials) who consider mental health at work to be a top priority.

4. Invest in technological advancements

Gen Z is a generation of digital natives. They don’t remember a time before the internet and much of the technology that colors our daily lives (think smartphones) existed.

That means that, in general, they’re naturally good at technology and not only comfortable learning and working with it, but they expect their jobs to be streamlined and supported by technology.

To truly help Gen Z thrive at work, you’ll want to be sure that you’re investing in the technology necessary to help them do their jobs well and more efficiently. From small restaurants finally making the leap to a digital POS system to more advanced content management systems and more, ensuring that your workers have the technological tools they need to do their best is key.

5. Bake in as much flexibility as you can

Even before the pandemic, Gen Z was known for insisting upon flexible work arrangements. From a desire for a healthy work-life balance to the ability to work from home when necessary, Gen Z was all about flexible work options well before the pandemic.

Now, after a year of remote work, the need for flexibility has never been clearer. We all have a myriad of needs to meet in a given day — from personal needs to caregiving requirements and much in between. So, the more work is able to accommodate those needs (rather than compete with them), the better.

Plus, with all the tech advancements mentioned above, increasing flexibility through remote working should be a breeze.

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