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What Does Gen Z Want In A Workplace?


So many business blogs are still focused on what millennial workers want from their employers — but millennials have been in the labor force for about 15 years; they comprise most of the workforce, to include the majority of management positions. These days, it is millennials doing the hiring, and they need to learn about the next generation entering the talent pool.

Gen Z, or zoomers, were born between 1997 and 2012. Raised on the internet and skilled with social media, the oldest zoomers are looking to establish themselves in their professional roles.

So, how should organizations adapt to attract these new workers?

Build Strong Company Values

Zoomers want to know that the work they are putting into a company is going to support the values they hold most dear. Organizations with clear and strong values are more effective at aligning their workers with business goals, so that everyone benefits. Some of the values most important to gen z include:

  • Authenticity
  • Stable mental health
  • Community support
  • Flexibility
  • Freedom of expression
  • Reliable self-improvement
  • Transparency

Company values are communicated best through branding and corporate culture. Business leaders should find ways to enhance the values that appeal to zoomers, so they can attract top talent from the new generation.

Personalize Roles for New Hires

Zoomers have a particular set of skills, and they want to apply those skills to help businesses grow. In the past, employees have needed to adapt to fit available positions, but gen z wants employers to alter the role to suit the worker’s needs and abilities. Business leaders should talk to prospective new hires about what they expect the job to look like before they make an offer. Then, zoomers and their employers can work together to build the perfect set of responsibilities to leverage their strengths and support their weaknesses.

Partner With Universities to Funnel Talent

While millennials might have fallen out of love with the idea of higher education, gen z continues to value education as a means of gaining skills and connections to support them in their future careers. Organizations can channel career-minded gen z talent into available roles by partnering with universities. This can be particularly useful in garnering diverse talent, like women and racial and ethnic minorities, whom gen z prefers to be surrounded by in the workplace.

Create a Career Lattice.

The career ladder is out; the career lattice is in. Zoomers want more control over the direction of their careers, and a straight ladder gives them little opportunity to experiment with different skills and responsibilities. A career lattice allows for horizontal and diagonal movement as well as vertical movement, so gen z can try out similar roles in different departments.

Unfortunately, most modern workplaces are not structured to support lattice moves. Business leaders need to create systems to allow workers to move to different fields without compromising their pay or status. Then, an organization can continue to capture the talent of the new workforce even as gen z explores different career opportunities.

Offer Mentorship Programs With Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers

Zoomers don’t like the idea of being managed; instead, they want to be able to contribute their knowledge and skills to an organization on their own terms. Still, gen z benefits from guidance through more experienced workers. Participation in mentorship programs might be offered to zoomers as part of a recognition program, rewarding excellent skill, high performance and unwavering dedication with one-on-one coaching from trusted business leaders. Members of the millennial, gen x and baby boomer generations should approach zoomer workers with respect while also offering practical career counsel to win their loyalty and admiration.

Make Your Industry More Attractive

Research shows that gen z is infatuated with careers in entertainment and tech, though some are looking for jobs in business and healthcare, as well. Unfortunately, not all organizations fit into these attractive industries, which means they might miss out on the bulk of zoomer talent. As much as possible, businesses in unappealing industries should work to ameliorate their brands to the zoomer audience, and the easiest way to do this is through social media marketing. With eye-catching and engaging content, any company can garner a zoomer following on social media.

To many organizations desperate for labor, gen z might feel like the great white whale. However, with some strategic changes to corporate structure and culture, zoomers will apply to a business in droves.