When Oliver took a corporate job after graduating from college, the company flew him and other new employees out to their headquarters for training and to learn about the company’s culture and development opportunities. However, Oliver’s initial excitement and confidence faded as he found himself alone to figure out how to do his new job.
Oliver’s story captures a common sentiment of Gen Zers at work—feeling disconnected, unprepared, and uncared for despite the best intentions of their bosses. Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2012, are digitally savvy, entrepreneurial, socially conscious, and comfortable voicing their opinions on social media. Popular Gen Z-led trends like #ActYourWage, #RageApplying, and #QuietQuitting illustrate a pressing need for leaders to rethink how to cultivate a more supportive and positive work environment for Gen Zers and all employees.
What Gen Z wants at work
In March, we shared What Gen Z actually wants at work based on our survey of 2,000 Gen Zers and 600 bosses. In brief, Gen Z wants to be heard, supported, seen for who they authentically are, and given the space and opportunity to thrive as they develop their personal and professional selves. So, how can leaders continue cultivating better working relationships with Gen Z and help them achieve their individual goals?
We collaborated with Gauge to ask influential Gen Zers this very question. We heard from over 130 racially and ethnically diverse Gen Z employees who shared ideas for what their boss and/or employer could do to help them thrive at work.
Employees who do not feel like they are growing their career with their current organization are 2.5x more likely to leave for another organization in the next 12 months.
Here are three Gen Z-approved strategies and ideas to elevate your workforce experience and help Gen Z employees thrive.
Why rethinking support for managers matters
Employees who are satisfied with communication from managers AND senior leadership are 4.3x more likely to have a positive overall experience. Trust and effective communication with leadership exhibit the strongest positive influence on workforce experience metrics.
Gen Z is transforming and disrupting the modern workplace. Unlike other generations, Gen Zers seek employers with policies and cultures supporting their mental health, personal well-being, and professional development. This demonstrates the actual value of experience to one’s organization and makes the case for investment as a chief experience officer (CXO).
Employers can demonstrate their investment in helping Gen Z succeed by putting new technology to work, processing data at scale to better understand and measure experiences, and designing and implementing solutions like the ones presented here.
Amelia Dunlop is the chief experience officer for Deloitte Digital, where she helps companies tackle their toughest problems and develop winning strategies that combine innovation, creativity, and digital strategy. Amelia is also the author of Elevating the Human Experience: Three Paths to Love and Worth at Work and co-author of The Four Factors of Trust: How Organizations Can Earn Lifelong Loyalty—both bestselling books. She received Consulting Magazine’s 2020 Top Women in Technology Award for Excellence in Innovation.
Alicia Serrato is a senior design researcher and strategist for Deloitte Digital. Trained in organizational psychology, behavioral science, and human-centered design, she helps leaders understand workers like they do customers and design workforce experience solutions that cultivate trust and loyalty.