6 tips to inspire Generation Z

From mental health and well-being, to climate change and the gig economy – these 7 findings can help you to inspire Gen Z in the workplace today.

Abbi Melville • 
6 tips to inspire Generation Z

Before your organisation can attempt to inspire Generation Z, you’ll need to define exactly who this fresh and dynamic demographic group is. Pew Research Centre has been one of the leading commentators on generational dynamics, and in 2018 their analytical human resources software helped to identify the emergence of Generation Z, which were those people born in 1997 or later.

Defining generational groups and subsequent generational personalities is not an exact science: there exist inconsistent attitudes within generational groups, and many similar outlooks exist between different generational groups. But, given what we know about the outlook of Gen Z from the preceding 5 years of statistical research, here are some tips to inspire this specific generational group.

1. Embrace mental health and well-being.

Research tells us that Gen Z is more likely than any other generation to report mental health concerns, with 50% of them feeling anxious or stressed all the time. Climate change is their leading concern, followed by disease prevention and healthcare, and unemployment.

Yet, their mental health needs are not being met at work: 84% of Gen Z surveyed last year believe that their current benefits package on offer is not suitable for their needs and instead want more well-being-related offerings available within their human resources software. It’s not surprising as the same research found that benefits packages are mainly designed for people aged between 45 and 54.

If you want to inspire Gen Z, their mental health cannot be an afterthought but needs to be the central fulcrum of a well-being-led HR benefits offering tailored to their needs, and of course made accessible via online human resources software.

2. Develop climate-friendly business policies.

Although Deloitte found that climate change was the Gen Z worker’s biggest mental health concern, 66% of them stated that the environmental improvements seen during the pandemic make them optimistic that climate change can be reversed.

Gen Z is much less optimistic about the impact of business on climate change: 58% of Gen Z fear business commitment to dealing with climate change will be reduced as leaders deal with post-pandemic challenges.

This represents an opportunity for businesses to inspire Gen Z. If you can develop and publish high-profile, high-commitment climate-friendly policies in your online human resources software to cover suppliers, clients, and HR, then you can win the hearts and minds of Gen Z.

3. Working in the office excites Gen Z!

Given all the commotion around working from home, it’s at first glance surprising to see Gen Z bucking this trend with a Deloitte study finding that Gen Z wants to spend more time in an office setting in this post-pandemic era. Many even expressed excitement at the idea of experiencing a formal work environment.

But it is not that surprising when you think about it really: homeworking favoured older workers with their own properties, comfy home offices, and established networks, and who were already experiencing commute and office fatigue. The Gen Z homeworking experience was less salubrious, characterised by long working shifts in isolation in bedsits or bedrooms with their social contact with colleagues being mainly restricted to a variety of social human resources software tools.

As a result, research shows that Gen Z is twice as likely to feel isolated working from home. This, therefore, is another great opportunity to inspire Gen Z. By building an exciting and energising office-based experience you will attract and engage Gen Z workers who frankly have had enough of the loneliness of full-time homeworking and want to feel part of something bigger.

4. Show you are tuned in to the gig economy.

Research from Wonolo reported on PRNewswire shows that all generations are well-represented in the gig economy and that Millennials are the largest pool of gig workers present in their human resources software system. But this picture is rapidly changing in favour of Gen Z who are showing the sharpest increase in hourly earnings between 2019 to 2021 on Wonolo’s gig work platform, and now make up 22% of jobs completed versus 8% 2 years ago. Gen Z is moving to gig work to earn extra money to pay off student debt and live entrepreneurial lives. If you want to engage and inspire Gen Z, funnel some of your work via gig economy platforms, which is the online human resources software that is currently giving you the best access to Gen Z.

5. Develop a culture and practice around values and ethics in tune with Gen Z

49% of Gen Z have made career path and employer choices based on the ethics and values of the encompassing organisation. A large proportion of Gen Z left their jobs or started new careers after reflecting on their values and aspirations following the pandemic. Gen Z is taking action to drive the change they want to see in the world, and if you build a value and ethics-based culture in tune with Gen Z, they will be inspired to realise their work and life ambitions with you.

6. Develop your own in-house pulse survey and find out what makes Gen Z tick

There is a lot of high-quality external data in the marketplace about Gen Z attitudes and preferences, but some of the best and most actionable data may be staring you in the face in the form of existing Gen Z employees. Using sophisticated human resources software-powered pulse surveys you can effortlessly gather intelligence on your  Gen Z population, enabling you to fine-tune your HR strategy to create a more inspiring offering.

The research revealed considerable overlap in sentiment between Gen Z and Millennials, which means that your attempts to motivate Gen Z may also inadvertently inspire millennials too. The only Gen Z preference that might actively conflict with the older generation is Gen Z’s hunger to work in the office versus the older worker’s indifference or even fatigue for this. However, these opposing needs can be easily reconciled by adopting a flexible hybrid work approach supported by online human resources software. By developing mentoring and even reverse-mentoring programs, you can encourage a more effective integration of Gen Z into the workforce and the evolution of the pre-established workforce.