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November 08, 2022

Hiring & Training Gen Z: Insights for Success

Generation Z is changing the workforce with its unique expectations and values. If managers want to attract and retain top talent while avoiding employment liability pitfalls, they’ll need to navigate some common issues that can arise when hiring and training Gen Z workers.

Getting to Know Gen Z

Pew Research defines Gen Zers as people who were born after 1996. Using this cutoff date, the oldest Gen Zers were born in 1997 – making them 25 in 2022. That’s old enough to have graduated from college and entered the workforce. The World Economic Forum says Gen Z will account for 27% of the workforce in OECD countries by 2025.

The Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey found that Gen Zers’ top concerns are cost of living, climate change, unemployment, mental health, and sexual harassment. Many don’t feel financially secure, and 43% say they’ve taken on a second job.

Job Satisfaction Is Low

Many Gen Zers who are entering the workforce are pessimistic about their opportunities. McKinsey & Company’s American Opportunity Survey found that only 37% of Gen Z respondents believe most people in this country have economic opportunities. Only 56% say they feel fairly recognized and rewarded for their work. More than three in four Gen Z respondents said they were looking for a new job, which was almost double the rate of respondents in other age brackets.

Work-Life Balance and Mental Health Support

Many Gen Zers entered the workforce during the pandemic – a period characterized by remote work, elevated stress levels, and mental health issues. This has helped shaped the generation’s views and expectations.

Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trend Index found that 53% of employees are now more likely to prioritize health and well-being over work than they were before the pandemic and 47% are now more likely to prioritize family and personal life. More than half of all employees said they are thinking about switching to hybrid or remote work in the next year. Among Gen Z workers, flexibility is especially important, with 77% saying they’re more likely to engage with a post on LinkedIn if the company mentions flexibility.

In addition to flexible and remote work arrangements, Gen Z employees also want mental health support. TalentLMS says more than one in three Gen Z employees finds it challenging to cope with stress at work and 82% say it’s important to have mental health days.

Diversity and Inclusion

Previous generations may have considered topics like politics to be taboo in the workplace; Gen Z has a different opinion. Social activism is common, and many Gen Z workers want their employers to take a stance on key social, political, and environmental issues.

A study by Zety found that 72% of Gen Z workers would consider quitting if their values clashed with those of their employers on social issues like racial justice and gender equality.

Many employers have been focusing on diversity initiatives and showing support for social causes. However, these strategies can backfire.

For example, initiatives that focus on hiring and promoting minorities could result in claims of discrimination against white men. According to HR Dive, a jury awarded $10 million to a white male executive who claimed he was terminated because of his race and sex.

Lawsuits can also occur when values come into conflict. According to NBC News, Kroger will pay $180,000 to settle a lawsuit involving two employees who claimed religious discrimination after they were fired for refusing to wear a logo they said resembled a Pride flag.

Putting It All Together

Whereas some workers might be willing to leave their personal beliefs at home and put up with a stressful work environment in exchange for a paycheck, Generation Z is less inclined to do so. This generation has high expectations and is often willing to quit if employers don’t meet these expectations.

  • A well-rounded benefits package can provide the mental health and well-being support that Gen Z craves.
  • A toxic company culture could send Gen Z running. Consider how to reduce stress and show workers they are valued.
  • Many Gen Z workers want their employers to take a stance on social issues. Gen Z jobseekers may view companies that don’t take a stance poorly. On the other hand, companies that take a stance could alienate workers and customers with different values.
  • As employers embrace diversity, they also need to be aware of how their initiatives could backfire and result in claims of reverse discrimination. EEOC discrimination laws prohibit race- and sex-based discrimination against anyone, not just minorities.

Are you having trouble hiring and training Gen Z workers? Heffernan Insurance Brokers can help you put together an employee benefits package to support your recruitment efforts. Learn more.

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