In early December, the British Council for Offices NextGen Midlands hosted a panel discussion about Generation Z (those born between 1997 and 2012) and the Workplace – how to attract, retain, nurture the next generation of workers.
The committee was joined by a host of BCO members and guests, including our very own Managing Director and co-founder Angel Gaskell, taking part in an informal yet thought-provoking discussion. Alongside Angel were Orangebox’s Research and Insight Manager Nathan Hurley and Rob Valentine, the Director of Leeds and Birmingham Bruntwood.
So, how do you attract Gen Z…
A general theme that occurred throughout the discussion was how to build an attractive and compelling company offer. The option of flexible working, alongside location and connectivity, came out on top with 28% ranking work-life balance as their top career priority. Making it easier to commute and creating a work-life balance for all employees is a satisfying aspect, not only to Gen Z but all employees, which is why it should be high on any business owner’s agenda.
It was recognised that the pandemic has been challenging for all, but for Gen Z many felt like they didn’t get the chance to be as hands-on with their roles as they would have liked, that’s why they want a workplace where they are included in the conversation and given the responsibility to contribute.
With working from home becoming the norm in the last 18 months, 40% of people would consider walking out of their job if full-time work in the office was made mandatory. Especially Gen Zers, who aren’t scared of leaving careers or companies that are not in alignment with their own moral code or are not working in society’s best interests.
Companies are requested to offer Gen Zers benefits that encourage a healthy lifestyle and greater well-being such as paid time off, mental health days and activities that create a sense of community. Not only are these benefits a great tool to attract and retain Gen Z, but applicable to the wider workspace too.
In The Deloitte Global 2021 Millenial and Gen Z Survey, 49% of respondents said they have made choices on their career path and potential employers they’d like to work for based on the organisation’s values and ethics.
But the all-important question, once you’ve got them, how do you retain them?
Being equal in terms of gender, sexuality, race and ethics within the company structure were found to be important, as well as growth and diversity.
Technology is another factor. Growing up known as ‘Digital Natives’, Generation Zs are efficiently working across multiple digital platforms in both work and social environments. It has always been an integrated part of their everyday life, which is why it’s important to give them access to the latest tools and let them lead on technology-based initiatives.
Companies who ignore Gen Z morals and values run the risk of being ignored while those who embrace it will be able to successfully attract and retain Gen Zers.
The final step is to nurture…
The Digital Natives have their own way around technology. They are fluent in digital communication, social media and technology as most of them grew up with mobile phones and Google – 92% have a digital footprint. Therefore, they need access to fast and efficient platforms in and out of the office. So a workplace that struggles with that may find it difficult to nurture their fresher talent.
Millennials and Gen Z want the same things at work, flexibility and wellbeing. However, Gen Z has moved these from being a workplace perk to a workplace norm.
Finally, some interesting points discussed at the conference lead to the outcome that Gen Z, and beyond, look for a place of experience and a reason to commute; a place that refreshes, restores and inspires daily.
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