Sustainability

5 Ways Gen Z May Impact Your Workplace

Positioning your business for long-term success may depend on embracing this generation's societal expectations around benefits, company culture, and more.

By Inc.Arabia Staff
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Gen Z--the youngest generation in the workforce--is primed to change the business landscape. Think: redefining work perks, shifting company culture, and changing business practices in general.

Those changes, of course, aren’t really the work of just one generation. Benefits, life-work balance, and cultural expectations have been evolving ever so gradually for decades. Gen Z is simply the first age group to enter the workforce and reflect the full range of those societal expectations.

The businesses that recognize what’s underway may be better able to strengthen and grow right alongside every generation--Gen Z included. Many businesses already know it: According to recent research from Principal®, 41 percent of employers say they expect Gen Z’s differing expectations to upend traditional workplace benefits by 2030.1

Curious what to watch for? These five areas offer some cues for your business’s resiliency.

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1. Sustainable, socially responsible practices

From social media activism to grassroots movements and major political stages, Gen Z tends to be vocal and passionate about sustainability and social responsibility. They hold corporations accountable for their actions--and in many cases expect the businesses they work for to do good, too. In fact, 74 percent of Gen Z employees say it’s important for them to work at a company with policies and practices that align with their personal beliefs.2

That doesn’t mean surface-level change, but authentic adaptations that prioritize both areas. Those may include:

  • Adopting renewable energy sources
  • Reducing waste
  • Seeking ethical sourcing options
  • Supporting or partnering with local charitable organizations
  • Providing opportunities for employee community involvement and paid volunteer time off

2. Personal well-being and flexibility (life-work balance)

Gen Zers report they struggle with mental well-being more than double other generations3 and 49 percent of young employees desire additional mental health benefits.That means destigmatizing those struggles and the care that’s needed.

That shift may also benefit your bottom line: 36 percent of young employees say mental health impacts their productivity and performance.Businesses are increasingly adding benefits to help such as:

  • Employee assistance programs
  • Health insurance policies that cover mental health
  • Flexible work schedules
  • Holistic wellness programs

3. Employee perks for financial well-being

Gen Z faces unique financial challenges: They struggle with their overall financial situation 70 percent more than other generations3 and many lack financial literacy skills. Beyond compensation, there are broader ways employers can shift support.

  • Auto-enrolling employees in a retirement plan with employer-match incentives
  • Providing personalized financial planning resources
  • Assisting with student debt payoff
  • Offering an emergency savings program
  • Subsidizing common expenses such as caregiving, child care, or continuing education

4. Inclusive workplace culture

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies are not new, but Gen Z does tend to put more emphasis on them than older generations.2

In fact, 74 percent of Gen Z employees say it’s important for them to work at a company that prioritizes DEI.2 That may include:

  • Surveying employees on company culture to establish a benchmark
  • Formalizing a DEI policy
  • Creating employee resource groups
  • Ensuring all benefits support diverse individuals and family structures, such as gender-neutral parental leave

 5. Technological integration

These digital natives--sometimes referred to as Zoomers--are generally proficient with tech and eager to leverage it for efficiency, productivity, and creativity. That probably aligns with your current and future plans: 56 percent of companies invest at least a third of their expendable income on technology.5

Beyond new computers and software, though, tech can help your ways of working stay up to date through accessible internal communications, streamlined processes, or even modernized employee benefits such as:

  • Investing in a team focused on innovation
  • Asking team members what tech would improve their work lives
  • Exploring ways to use new generative AI products
  • Offering digital versions of common work perks such as telehealth services or digital financial wellness programs

Gen Z has already had some major impacts on society as a whole. As this generation continues to age into the workforce, businesses will find it even more essential to progress accordingly. Attracting and retaining incoming talent--and positioning your business for long-term success--may depend on it.

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