By 2025, the World Economic Forum predicts that Generation Z (Gen Z) will comprise a significant one-third of the workforce. This shift necessitates a new approach to attract, manage, and retain these young workers. While Gen Z brings remarkable technological expertise, they often lack essential soft skills like in-person communication and interpersonal dynamics. In this changing landscape, companies must adapt their strategies to effectively engage with Gen Z employees, who have been further shaped by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Embracing Digital Natives
Gen Z is undoubtedly a generation of digital natives, well-versed in technology and online communication. However, their reliance on digital communication has affected their interpersonal skills. COVID-19 amplified this trend, altering the way we interact in the workplace. To effectively manage Gen Z workers, companies must meet them where they are – in the digital realm.
In return, Gen Z can provide valuable insights into social media and emerging AI tools. Companies should capitalize on these skills and anticipate future technological advancements, understanding that Gen Z's comfort with change is a significant asset.
Cultural Alignment is Key
Gen Z seeks companies that align with their personal values. In fact, a misalignment between company values and personal values is a top reason Gen Z employees leave their jobs. Unlike previous generations, they prioritize a company culture that reflects global responsibility and addresses mental health concerns.
Traditional perks like office ping pong tables no longer suffice. Gen Z values an organisation that genuinely invests in the world and actively supports its employees' well-being. Employers must adapt their cultures to accommodate these evolving expectations.
Investing in Mentorship
Flexibility and remote work remain important to Gen Z, but career development and mentorship also weigh heavily in their decisions to join or leave a company. Companies must integrate professional development and mentorship opportunities into their culture, signalling a commitment to their employees' growth.
This investment benefits both parties. Younger Gen Z employees gain valuable career guidance and exposure to new technologies, while older employees can learn from Gen Z's tech-savvy perspectives. Mentorship is a two-way street, with Gen Z employees capable of mentoring their more seasoned counterparts on emerging technologies.
Managing and engaging with Gen Z in the workforce presents both challenges and opportunities. Their digital expertise, combined with a commitment to global values and mental health, make them a unique asset for companies willing to adapt. By understanding their needs, embracing their technological skills, and aligning with their values, organisations can create a workplace where Gen Z can thrive, contributing to the future success of their businesses.