Are Gen Z employees calling all the shots?

Gen Z employees are starting a revolution in the corporate world and we believe they are just about to bring sensational changes to work-life balance!

Gen Z and Millennials make up nearly half of the workforce in the United States - according to the World Economic Forum, millennials comprise roughly 37% and Gen Z 12% at the conclusion of 2021. And they are entering the scene boldly, making demands that differ vastly from their predecessors. While we are in the midst of so many reactive economical changes, the reality is that the success of many organizations directly depends on the performance of these generations. The quality of their performance is ultimately correlated with their quality of work-life. This begs the question, why do these generations become the punch line of every joke, when really they are revolutionaries demonstrating self-advocacy in the workplace

If you categorize what it is this population is seeking from an employer, above all, Gen Z and Millennials want an employer who cares about their wellbeing - 66% of Gen Z according to a LinkedIn survey. This spans far beyond establishing a wellness program or providing a monetary stipend to go towards an employee’s gym membership. Are health benefits being offered at no additional cost to the employee? What are the policies for vacation, parental leave, and paid time off? This would include things like office culture, or if the company is remote, how does culture factor into a digital office community.

Looking at the wildly ambiguous criteria that could define workplace wellbeing, these younger, influential generations are highlighting a few important areas. They want ethical and transparent leadership. Whether scorned from misinformation regarding student loans during their collegiate years, or apprehension to trust large corporations after witnessing the crash of 2008, trust in the employer, the organization, and the mission as a whole is essential for full buy-in. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a positive shift in internal communication and organizational camaraderie.

Gen Z employees want leaders who support a diverse and inclusive work space. This is no longer just “nice to have,” but rather it’s imperative to their core values, and they’re making that statement by where they choose to work. Young people want to feel respected, as well as appreciated for their unique characteristics and contributions. This kind of respect and recognition needs to be apparent from all directions - managers, peers, policies, and leadership.

Younger generations want meaningful and thoughtful opportunities to be coached and developed. Stepping away from traditional black box training programs that can feel sterile and outdated, there’s a demand for personalized and specific development opportunities. These employees don’t want to simply learn a skill set necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of their current job, they want opportunities to acquire new skills and nurture strengths that may prepare them for the next step in their career.

There’s a newfound sense of urgency from this generation that is often mistaken for entitlement. They aren’t content to sit idle in the same job for decades on end, and to a greater extreme, they aren’t willing to settle for traditional 12-month review periods in order to receive any sort of verbal or financial promotion. There’s a push to offer feedback in real time, and find more realistic intervals in which these employees can receive recognition and raises for their efforts in the short term. While this may seem like a total disruption to the work culture as we know it, there’s a positive impact here for the business. When employees feel seen and supported, including being rewarded for their efforts, their performance is elevated and loyalty towards the company increases.

These generations are the future of any organization, and while their demands may be unorthodox in comparison to traditional methods, at some point, one side of the system is going to break - whether we drive them into an entrepreneurial existence, with zero desire to work for any organization, or the organization bends and finds ways to evolve in order to live up to the high standards these individuals are establishing.

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