Generation Z (Gen Z) accounts for a growing percentage of the global workforce. According to Pew Research Center, they are also more ethnically and racially diverse than any previous generation. For employers, this makes meeting the needs and wants of Gen Z workers a unique challenge, with significant pay-offs in the form of improved attraction and retention.

What Gen Z Wants

Gen Zers want to feel safe being their true selves at work; this includes the ability to express their values and personal identities. They also want to see their values reflected in their employer. For Gen Z, this may mean choosing to work for organizations with similar values over higher-paying positions. In fact, Gen Z workers value salary less than every other working generation, although it’s still the most important determining factor when deciding on a job. Other values that Gen Z wants to see reflected by their employer include honesty, transparency (e.g., pay transparency) and work-life balance, including mental health initiatives and job flexibility.

Retaining Gen Z 

Employers who embrace the needs and desires of Gen Z employees may experience improved retention, loyalty and satisfaction from this demographic. Consider the following initiatives to attract and retain Gen Z workers:

• Prioritize mental health. Organizations can create a positive mental health culture by making mental health resources and programs readily available, training managers to be empathetic, 

• Allow flexible work options. Gen Z employees tend to look for jobs that fit their life, not the other way around. They seek jobs that focus on employees as people and encourage work-life balance.

• Provide career development opportunities. Younger workers highly value professional growth and learning opportunities. Employers can cater to this need by prioritizing internal promotions and creating mentorship programs to foster interpersonal relationships and development opportunities among employees.

• Encourage connection. Employers should encourage relationship building in their organizations by creating employee resource groups among individuals with similar backgrounds, hosting informal gatherings (e.g., picnics or companywide softball games), and promoting collaboration, communication and inclusion.

• Establish pay transparency. Gen Z and millennial workers value transparency because it holds employers accountable for providing similar wages for similar roles, builds trust and helps them easily see if they are being compensated fairly.

Employer Takeaways

Like every other demographic, Gen Z workers have unique expectations for their employers. Employers who can understand and capitalize upon the expectations and desires of this talented young generation may experience improved attraction and retention of Gen Zers.