Surprising 2022 Workplace Perks Gen Z Wants

Surveys show that these are the perks that companies can offer to recruit and retain Generation Z employees.

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Surprising 2022 Workplace Perks Gen Z Wants

Here's what you need to know:

  • Free meals have become a trending workplace perk
  • Gen Z appreciates a more relaxed dress code
  • Office parties and games in the office appeal to Gen Z
  • Gen Z wants access to coaches, mentors, and online courses
  • Coworking spaces and open office layouts appeal to Gen Z's collaborative spirit

The job landscape has changed dramatically in a short period of time. Not only has the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged industries and forced countless companies to adapt, but the sociopolitical climate as an ever-evolving whole continues to change what people want out of their workplace.

Not long ago, Millennials were the up-and-coming generation that long-time professionals were most focused on accommodating. They were the generation at the core of countless corporate studies and stressful HR meetings.

Now, though, it is Gen Z that commands the spotlight. But what does Gen Z want that is different from older generations? There are more answers to this than you may have expected.

Certain surveys have shown that Gen Z folks care far more about pay and benefits than they do about a company’s values or mission. However, that is not to say they don’t enjoy or even prefer certain workplace perks.

As an HR manager, it is in your best interests to stay abreast of what younger professionals want from their workplace. That includes perks and other non-essential (but still desirable) features you can tack on to a job offer to maximize appeal.

You can then use that knowledge to craft job listings and offer that appeal to this demographic without alienating or discouraging other age groups. Creating jobs that appeal to professionals across demographics is difficult but achievable.

As the older side of Gen Z graduates college and enters the workforce, many companies are finding out what this youngest generation wants from their workplace. That includes figuring out what actually sweetens the deal for these applicants. Remember that workplace perks and workplace benefits are different.

Don’t worry if this seems overwhelming. There is a reason HR teams are constantly asking these questions and switching up their approaches when hiring new talent. This is the level of care and research that must go into making a wise, informed hiring decision.

Read on for some surprising workplace perks that Gen Z wants.

This one is surprising because of how in-demand it is. Grocery delivery company Peapod published a survey showing that almost 70% of people who had free food available to them at work were “very happy” in the office. The survey also showed that 48% named free meals as a major factor in whether or not they would take certain jobs.

This really highlights the aforementioned difference between perks and benefits. It is true that employers technically do not have to offer free food at work, but doing so may attract happier, more motivated workers. That alone makes offering good perks worthwhile. Just because you are not required to offer workplace perks does not mean you should dismiss them or consider them less important.

Relaxed dress code is a home run with Gen Z

This one is less surprising for this age group but still worth discussing. A November 2021 survey conducted by Y Pulse found that a casual dress code was the 2nd most desirable workplace perk among Gen Z. The only perk that young people said was more appealing (in this particular study) was free food in the office.

The thinking behind this seems to be: “If I do good work and behave professionally, does what I wear matter all that much?” Considering the generation we are talking about, this makes a lot of sense.

Obviously, this logic does not always carry over to formal events such as conferences, seminars, or any other kind of networking event. But for everyday workplace activities, why not? Implementing workplace perks that make the overall experience of being in your office more comfortable is always worth considering.

Just remember that discretion is still key here.

Office parties remain desirable for Generation Z

Companies have been throwing holiday office parties for a long time. They are a well-known aspect of corporate life. Like with the free meals perk, though, this one is a bit surprising because of how many people value it.

As you may have guessed, the social aspect of office parties is part of what appeals to Gen Z the most. A pleasant, fun, somewhat relaxed workplace seems to be in while stuffy, no-nonsense offices appear to be a standard of the past.

Gen Z wants access to coaches and mentors

Given that Gen Z makes up the youngest portion of the world’s population, it may be somewhat surprising that these younger professionals hold access to coaches and mentors in such high regard. But select studies have shown that these youngsters pay a great deal of attention to whether or not mentorship is part of a job offering.

A 2021 Zety survey of over 200 Gen Z adults revealed that 71% of these young workers want their workplace to offer some kind of coaching or mentorship program. They want the support and wisdom that accompany having a good, carefully selected mentor.

Make mentoring a big part of your professional development programs. Build it into how you develop and nurture talent at your company. The difference could be huge.

Make online courses available to retain Gen Z workers

Let’s face it: The further into the digital age we venture, the more we will rely on technology and the internet in our personal and professional lives. So, like everything else around us, our workplace perk preferences will reflect this shift. Helping develop these programs could be a huge step toward making your workplace more geared toward Gen Z workers.

The aforementioned Zety survey found that access to online learning was the 2nd most popular workplace perk among Gen Z workers. It makes sense: many of these people likely used online programs in grade school and in college. With that in mind, they may be more comfortable with learning something online. It may be worth implementing programs that engage them in this way.

Opinions seem to differ about whether or not fostering a playful internal culture is productive. But given the many ways that workplace culture is shifting, it isn’t surprising that games in the office have become more appealing to the younger generation than they were to prior age groups.

The idea that a workplace should be fun is a tough 1 for many employers. Many resist these types of workplace perks because they view them as distractions or pointless expenditures of company funds.

The traditional take on fun in the office often sounds something like, “You are here to work, not goof around.” That line of thinking may still work in more rigid internal cultures, but not for many small businesses.

Sometimes, just having games available can signal to Gen Z that you know how to take your work seriously and have a good time. It does not have to be an “either or” scenario. In fact, it should never be an “either or” situation.

Fortunately, though, you have some say in these decisions. As an HR manager, you have a hand in setting the tone and helping foster a more pleasant company culture.

What’s your biggest 2022 HR challenge that you’d like to resolve

Answer to see the results

Coworking spaces appeal to Gen Z’s collaborative spirit

Coworking spaces are workplace perks that indulge the collaborative spirit of passionate, motivated, and productive professionals. As Gen Z transitions from college into the workforce, they are going to be searching for ways to shake things up and do things better.

This is worth paying attention to, especially if you want to craft job posts aimed specifically at this demographic. Offering coworking spaces as a workplace perk could help you do that.

It is worth noting that, like with most workplace perks, coworking spaces are really only as effective as the people using them. One of the things you need to examine as you consider including this perk is whether or not your team would thrive in a coworking space. That should be the first thing you consider before making that call.

Gen Z prefers open office spaces and layouts

This one is similar to the previous perk in that it reflects Gen Z’s desire to work together. Access to their coworkers is a huge deal for them. The idea of a corner office or a small but cozy cubicle does not seem to fit the Gen Z idea of a productive workplace.

Gen Z wants an open, collaborative environment in which they can shine together rather than apart.

They want an open, collaborative environment in which they can shine together rather than apart. Younger Millennials also seem to share this mindset.

As this article illustrates, we have to start thinking differently about what Gen Z wants out of their workplace and why they want those things. These people grew up in a different world than every generation before them and have different expectations because of that. It is your job to make sure you are crafting job offers that reflect your knowledge of and respect for Gen Z’s mindset. It is a huge key to hiring them.

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