5 Ways Gen Z Workforce Satisfaction Can Help All Other Generations of Workers

If we meet the needs of the younger working generation, we are likely to meet the rest of the workforce as well.

Gen Z is a force to be reckoned with, and not just back home. These tech-savvy, self-aware young people have incredible clarity about what they want at work. The good news is that if companies can cater to the younger generation of workers, they will most likely cater to the needs of the rest of the workforce as well.

While there are certainly times when relating to people based on their generational characteristics, in general, it is counterproductive to create elaborate, generation-specific systems for dealing with workers of different ages. That’s why a reference generation like Gen Z can help employers understand what workers of all generations expect from their employer.

A new study published by TalentLMS, a learning management system backed by Epignosis alongside BambooHR HR software, highlights five key areas where meeting the needs of Gen Z also means meeting the needs of older generations. We’ll take a look.

1. Training beyond the job itself

The lack of a healthy work-life balance hurts workers of all ages. For Gen Z, stress and burnout rank second among reasons for leaving a job (42%). The study also found that 91% of Gen Zers have at least one symptom of stress, and more than one in three find it difficult to cope with pressure and stress at work. Eighty-two percent want mental health days and 28% say it’s hard to maintain a good work-life balance.

Perhaps that’s why this generation places such importance on workplace training that goes beyond hard skills into areas like mental health, soft skills, and life skills.

Leadership/manager training is a top priority for 49% of Gen Z, just ahead of soft skills training (48%) and mental health training (47%). Gen Z wants to lead and they need the support of their employer to develop those abilities.

The study also found that 64% of Gen Z workers feel satisfied with how their upbringing has prepared them for work. Nearly 3 in 10 have not received on-the-job training, but the majority of those who have received training from their employer are satisfied with it (73%).

Offering a wide range of relevant training, beyond the framework of the position itself, will meet the needs of both the youngest and all others.

2. A winning corporate culture

As the big quit continues, a great work culture has become a major driver of employee recruitment and retention. Among Gen Z workers, 77% want to work for a company that is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and 73% believe people should be able to express themselves freely, authentically and spontaneously at work. Seventy-six percent want to work in a company with caring, friendly and socially responsible people. And really, what generation wouldn’t?

On the other hand, 19% of Gen Z workers see not having meaningful relationships with co-workers as a reason to quit. This also applies to their interactions with their boss; the main trait Gen Z workers value in leaders and managers is empathy and honesty.

Social and environmental actions are also important elements of the corporate culture. Fifty-eight percent want their company to be more environmentally friendly, and 68% prioritize employment with an employer who is actively involved in social causes.

3. Flexibility and connection

Flexibility has become a workplace imperative for employees of all generations, and again Gen Z is operating like a weathervane with 81% saying it’s important to them. But flexibility doesn’t necessarily mean working 100% remotely; in fact, in-person socializing with co-workers is valued by 7 in 10 Gen Zers. Nearly 6 in 10 believe socializing is also important in the virtual work environment.

The study notes that for many young workers who launched their careers after March 2020, remote work is the only job they know of. Perhaps that’s why 73% of Gen Z workers say they feel lonely sometimes or always, and 44% agree that working remotely can make them feel lonely and disconnected.

Feelings of loneliness and disconnection can hurt any worker, not just Gen Z. Investing in relationships and supporting employee relationships can make a big difference in how your company experiences the big quit.

4. Competitive salary and opportunities for advancement

If we’re being honest, we’ll admit that pay is the number one reason we show up to work every day. Competitive wages hold a special place with every generation of workers. And even though Gen Z seems to place the least importance on their salary of all generations, it’s still the top reason they would consider quitting their current job (54%). At the same time, the study found that 59% of Gen Z workers feel fairly compensated for the work they do.

Of course, compensation is intrinsically linked to a worker’s contribution. Gen Z understands this and is highly motivated to move up the ladder, which may help explain why 49% want training in how to lead effectively. A lack of opportunities for career advancement is believed to lead one-third of Gen Z workers to quit their jobs. That’s hardly surprising for a generation just beginning to rise through the ranks, but that goes for the rest of the workforce as well. Which generation wants to be stuck in a bind?

5. Stimulating and passionate work

Most people want to do work they care about, something that makes a positive difference in the world. For Gen Z, not doing a job they are passionate about is the third most common reason they would quit their job (37%).

And that’s why it should worry managers when 64% of Gen Zers say it’s easy to perform the tasks expected of them in the workplace. If the job is too simple, your staff gets bored. Managers should raise their expectations of what young workers can offer and give them expanded assignments. In most cases, they will be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Trendsetters

As the Gen Z comments included in the study demonstrate, this generation already knows very well what they want and how they want it. When organizations provide more of what young workers need to thrive, they will see the benefits of increased engagement and retention, not only among these young workers, but also among older demographics.

As their numbers and prominence grow, Gen Z is poised to set the trends that could shape the employment landscape for decades to come. If the big quit has your organization scrambling to find skilled workers, start with a profile of the youngest generation working today to determine what talented workers of all generations actually want.

Michael A. Bynum