Gen Z has a bad rap. 

In fact, 40 percent of employers avoid hiring Gen Zers. And 54 percent of Zoomers aren’t engaged with their work, making them the most disengaged generation in the workplace. 

Thirty-four percent of them are even planning to leave their jobs in the next two years. 

So what’s going on? 

There seems to be an underlying issue here. And with Gen Z predicted to make up 30 percent of the workforce by 2030, it’s an important one to address.

In our latest webinar, HiBob’s Alyx Gilham and Marc Douch talked to Silver Cloud HR’s Head of People, Elly Tzouvanni, and to Eight Road’s Head of Talent and Ecosystem, Lucy O’Brien.

They all shared their insights on Gen Z, how to meet their needs, and how doing so can change your workplace for the better.

A misunderstood generation

Gen Zers have suffered a marred reputation, but they’re a misunderstood generation that’s had a rough start to their professional careers. 

After all, they entered the workforce during the pandemic, a financial crisis, and amid massive tech layoffs. They’re a generation that longs for security after such an uncertain beginning to their careers.

Add to that the low rates of engagement and high rates of turnover among Zoomers, which seem to suggest that many employers neither understand them nor address their needs in the workplace.

However, despite the challenging start to their working lives, Gen Zers have the potential to change the way we work for the better.

The untapped potential of Gen Z

Lucy O’Brien emphasizes what this talented generation has to offer: 

“Gen Z brings a fresh perspective to the workplace and an entrepreneurial spirit. 

“They’re generally smart, creative, and they seek opportunities for growth and impact. They think outside the box, they find innovative solutions to problems—use all of that. It’s all really rich. 

“And given they’re going to be such an important part of the workplace over the next six years, it’s really important that we listen to this generation in particular… Look at all of the great things that should be relished that we’re getting from this generation, rather than holding on to the negatives, which is where the press doesn’t do us any favors.”

Listening to, understanding, and addressing the needs of Gen Z team members will give you the advantage. By creating an employer brand that’s attractive to this generation you’ll have access to a talented pool of applicants.  

And because Gen Zers want security, by meeting their needs you’ll have team members who are more likely to stick around for the long run. 

But what does Gen Z need exactly?

5 things Gen Z needs in the workplace

  1. Community

Gen Zers want to feel a sense of community because they missed out on connecting with others during the pandemic. That’s why 60 percent of them prefer coming into the office four to five times a week.

Offering regular office social events, team-building activities, and team resource groups are great ways to promote social connection.

But this connection doesn’t only have to be in person. You can provide technology that promotes greater collaboration and communication while your people work from home too.

  1. A clear path for professional growth

Zoomers have a keen desire for professional growth. They want to know that they have a clear path to follow.

Giving Gen Zers a clear career path can include lateral moves to different departments as well as linear progression.

You can support Gen Z’s desire for professional growth by setting up job levels, regular performance reviews, and formal mentorship programs—so they know exactly what they need to do to reach their career goals.

Gen Z team members can also benefit older generations in the workplace. Elly suggests “reverse mentoring, where some of the younger workers mentor some of the board members in the organization. That could be quite a powerful initiative.”

  1. Wellbeing

Wellbeing is important to Gen Zers—56 percent of them feel their jobs have an impact on their health. They want to work for companies that help people feel and perform at their best. 

Zoomers—and all other generations within your organization—will appreciate having flexible working hours, work-life balance, and access to mental health resources such as mindfulness apps or meditation workshops.

  1. Alignment with personal values

Nearly half of all Gen Z professionals choose their roles based on their employer’s mission, values, and impact on society. 

They’re a passionate generation that wants to make a difference. It’s important to them that the company they work for aligns with their values and makes some kind of positive impact on the world. 

And if an employer doesn’t follow through on their values, Gen Zers are willing to walk away—even without another job opportunity lined up.

That’s why it’s important to be clear on your organization’s mission and values—and walk the talk—to attract and retain Zoomer team members. 

  1. Different management styles

Gen Zers don’t want a boss who tells them what to do—they want someone who inspires trust and loyalty through their leadership qualities. A leader who gives them the autonomy to carry out their work.

But they also want guidance to reach their goals and perform at their best. 

When it comes to managing Gen Z, it’s all about mentorship and leading by example. Zoomers want more out of work so they want more out of the people that lead them. 

Listen to Gen Z

Zoomers are a passionate generation that cares about their work and their impact on the world. Organizations that take the time to listen to them and understand them will have an advantage over their competitors.

“If you take some of these learnings on board and implement them within your organization in the way that some of the panelists have suggested … you’re differentiating yourself and your company in the market,” Marc says.

“What you start now is going to have a material impact on your success as an organization for the long term as well.”

This article is based on the webinar “Gen Z in the workplace.” Watch the full webinar to learn how to create a work environment where Gen Z thrives.

Ruth Stern

From Ruth Stern

Ruth is a content manager at Hibob. When she isn't working, she spends her free time planting flowers in her garden and playing the piano.