6 Ways to Make Gen Zs Feel Welcome in the Workplace
Generation Z, or ‘iGen,’ the generation born between 1996 and 2010, are entering the workplace in full force.
Ready to feel old? Generation Z, or ‘iGen,’ the generation born between 1996 and 2010, are entering the workplace in full force. Maybe you babysat an iGen kid back in the day; well now, members of this hyper-networked, tech-savvy generation are about to be your new employees, coworkers, and – dare we say – even your bosses. But iGen employees want more than simply a successful YouTube career. (Although some of them want that too. Who doesn’t?)
Here’s how to best support your Gen Z staff:
1. Have Good Tech
iGen practically emerged from their mother’s womb with an iPhone in hand. And none of them are going to want to come into an office with rusty old computers that look like they haven’t been updated since the MS-OS days. According to a survey by Dell, 91% of young people said the quality of the technology would affect their job choice. Time to upgrade those busted old landline phones (and please, throw away your fax machine.)
2. Allow for Remote Work
The line between home and office has grown increasingly thinner; iGen expects to be able to work from home, or from a coffee shop, or even from vacation. Having good video-conferencing software and an effective intra-office messaging platform like Slack, as well as a generous work from home policy, can go a long way with the work-from-anywhere cohort.
3. Teach Soft Skills
At the same time, spending more time on social media and less time interacting face-to-face can mean that iGen are worse at “soft skills” like people-managing, conflict resolution, communication and problem-solving. Having a strong HR department that helps employees develop these skills, as well as patient managers ready to lead by example, is important in helping them adjust.
4. Prioritize Diversity and Tolerance
Of course, the importance of diversity isn’t just limited to iGen, and hopefully this is something your workplace is already doing. But research shows that iGen is the most progressive generation yet, rejecting labels around gender and sexuality and actively trumpeting the importance of racial and ethnic diversity. Having hiring practices that prioritize diversity, and making sure your workplace emphasizes acceptance – for example, having gender neutral bathrooms, and creating a safe work environment for people of all identities – is essential to catering to an era of newly-woke young people.
5. Battle Burnout
While BuzzFeed may have dubbed millennials the Burnout Generation, mental health issues like anxiety and depression are on the rise amongst Gen Z. (When you spend that much time on your phone reading about how the world is burning, how can you not be anxious?) That’s why prioritizing work-life balance is key. Offering liberal vacation policies and providing mental health-resources and are key to battling burnout in this new generation of super-stressed workers.
6. Give Back
iGen tends to be more concerned with giving back than their selfish millennial predecessors. Having grown up with the climate crisis front and center, many are especially attuned to the issues facing our world. Practicing corporate social responsibility, having ethical business practices and creating a company that actively works to do good in the world can go a long way to impressing your youngest employees. Plus, it’s just the right thing to do.
Photo courtesy of Hannah Busing.
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