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Report: Gen Z Expects More from the Workplace Than Previous Generations Did

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Sep 19, 2022

Step aside, boomers, millennials and Generation Y. Generation Z has arrived in the workplace and is bringing its own expectations and values to it, according to Fast Company, relying on a  report co-authored by the Network of Executive Women and Deloitte.

This cohort, born between 1997 and 2012, will comprise almost 30 percent of the global workforce, according to the World Economic Forum. Known to be tech-savvy, connected and frequently expecting instant feedback (if not gratification), this generation blurs the line between work and life—and wants something in return.

Employers had better accommodate them. But how?

“These workers prioritize social activism and stability,” the article states. “They value training and leadership programs, human connection, and an authentic company culture—and they want to invest in a job that invests in them.”

The Deloitte report elaborates: "The core values of the generation are reflected in their prioritizing social activism more than previous generations and in the importance they place on working at organizations whose values align with their own. ... Companies must demonstrate their commitment to a broader set of societal challenges, such as sustainability, climate change and hunger. Not only must companies have strong ethics, they have to demonstrate they take action consistent with their ethics and values, and this action must be front and center of their brand for prospective Gen Z buyers and employees to see."

The Deloitte report notes that "Gen Z has arrived replete with a set of stereotypes and generalizations: Gen Zers are tech-dependent; they want to experience new adventures, not just buy things; and they’re less loyal to brands. As the first digitally native generation, it’s touted they prefer digital communication to avoid face-to-face interaction, they’re harder to reach because of their short, 'eight second' attention span and they’re focused on authenticity in a brand." Yet the report advises companies "not to fall for the myths and stereotypes: Whether you’re talking about gender and ethnicity or modes of learning, Gen Z refuses to fit into neat little boxes."

While warning about such stereotypes, the report still found that members of this Generation "approach the workplace in a very different way than did earlier cohorts. To appeal to them will require organizations to truly personalize career experiences (the way we think about personalizing offers we make to customers)." To accommodate them, employers need to be ready to provide personalized, mobile and immediately available technology at all times.

Employers should also note what makes sites such as Netflix, Spotify or Amazon so popular; the personalization that users think is normal. In the workplace, that could mean an individualized work schedule or health benefits options.

That last point leads to the importance that this cohort puts on mental health, which employers can address through work-life integration—an important distinction from work-life balance. This is entirely consistent with being connected all the time, working anytime from anywhere and eradicating the boundaries between work and life.

“The employer trusts the employee to get the work done; meanwhile, the employee is happier, healthier, and more present across the board,” the article states.

To attract members of this generation, employers also need “more robust training and leadership development, with a real and tangible focus on diversity:” according to the Deloitte report.