• Patrick Jones - Sr. Project Analyst

Ways to Improve Gen Z Employee Engagement

A quick scan of your organization’s workforce will probably find that the fastest growing sector is the increasingly diverse Generation Z segment. Generation Z is broadly defined as the generation born after the mid-90s, though exact years may vary. This group outnumbers millennials and now makes up a significant portion of the workforce, as more and more enter it each year. As such, improving employee engagement among Gen Z is increasingly important.

A common assumption about Gen Z is that they are very much like their millennial older siblings. However, Gen Z has its own set of unique goals, challenges, and characteristics that distinguish it from previous generations. Organizations that recognize and take action on these differences will be able to improve engagement, commitment and productivity from this rapidly growing segment.

A closer look at Gen Z

While there is no definitive year that marks the beginning of Gen Z, they are all people born and raised with the internet and digital media firmly established around them. They are technologically savvy, generally very comfortable with mobile communication, and have a robust understanding of different technology platforms.

In addition to being comfortable with technology, some common traits across Gen Z are:

Diversity: Gen Z is the most diverse generation in history. They do not aspire to diversity as a goal, but rather have grown up with it and expect it to be reflected around them.

Flexibility & Balance: This generation’s familiarity with mobile communication implies that the traditional routine of a 9-5 workday is increasingly alien to them. Gen Z places a greater importance on blending work and life through remote options as well as a flexible schedule.

Entrepreneurship: The impacts of the financial crisis and successes of online startups have had a powerful influence on Gen Z. Compared to previous generations, they are much more likely to say they wish to start their own business and place less value on low-risk, stable career paths.

Tips to Drive Employee Engagement for Gen Z

Transparency and Purpose

Gen Z are used to being able to access information on demand and tend to look deeper into issues that they care about. As employees, they will expect the same from their organizations and will gravitate towards authenticity and openness. They are better engaged by organizations that provide transparent decision-making processes and clearly connect employee tasks to larger goals.

Leverage Technology

Keeping Gen Z engaged in their workplace means incorporating modern communication and productivity software into their routines. This generation is much more likely to build relationships and collaborate digitally than other groups. Tedious manual processes and outdated systems also prove especially frustrating to Gen Z. Organizations can boost employee engagement by providing automated processes, collaborative software and a culture that is open to continuous upgrades and changes.

Increased Social Responsibility

Research at Deloitte points to increased social consciousness as a defining trait of Gen Z. Beyond working for a successful organization, Gen Z strongly value working somewhere that makes a positive impact. They are strongly motivated when these positive impacts align with the core goals of their organization. Communicating a mission that has social responsibility at its core can increase loyalty and employee engagement. Even small steps, like investing in a committed recycling program or periodic charity drives, can help boost morale.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Gen Z employees highly value personal freedom and are willing to question established ways of doing things. They prefer a workplace that focuses on objectives and increasing the room for innovation in the processes. One area where this is especially pronounced is their desire for remote work options and flexible schedules. Organizations can better engage Gen Z by creating defined targets while allowing workers to customize the processes as long as they deliver results. They can de