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06 September 2023

Virtually Human: Enhancing Employee Value Propositions for Gen Z  

By Jan Iverson
Virtually Human

The youth between 10 and 24 years old account for almost 1.8 billion individuals, making Gen Z the largest generation of people in history. Also, the youth between 15 and 24 years old make up around 34% of the global labor market.

Gen Z workers increasingly influence workplace dynamics, reshaping conventional employer-employee relationships. An analysis from the consulting agency Oliver Wyman provides insights into how Generation Z employees perceive their professional lives and employer relationships, relative to workers from other age groups. 

It’s clear that HR professionals must continue to evolve to wear many hats: from recruiters to mentors, therapists, mediators, and change facilitators. To lure this emerging workforce, organizations will need to reimagine all aspects of work, from office layouts to benefits, policies, and organizational culture.  

Boomers and Gen Xers should see Gen Z not as disruptors but as catalysts for broad improvements in workplace benefits and standards. While meeting Gen Z’s expectations might appear daunting, this generation brings unmatched digital acumen and a heightened drive for meaningful impact.  

Here are key considerations for companies looking to adapt: 

Capitalizing on Gen Z’s Entrepreneurial Zeal 

Gen Z’s entrepreneurial tendencies are fueling the rise of remote and gig work. To retain this group, companies must respect their aspirations for diversified career paths. Embedding structured, incentivized “side projects” within the work setup can keep these younger professionals engaged. 

Health and Well-being are Non-Negotiable 

Gen Z is keenly aware of how work environments impact their well-being. They are more prone than previous generations to prioritize this or even quit if conditions aren’t favorable. Features like wellness rooms, mental health services, and paid leave can go a long way in retaining this discerning talent pool. 

Women’s Empowerment: Beyond the Wage Gap 

Gen Z women are not just looking for pay equity; they are also seeking advancement opportunities, greater recognition, and personal fulfillment. A purposeful effort to ensure women feel acknowledged and valued can foster the development of emerging leaders within this group. 

Addressing the Phenomenon of “Quiet Quitting” 

Enhanced pay, growth opportunities, and well-being initiatives can help companies retain Gen Z employees who might otherwise disengage and silently seek other opportunities (“quiet quitting”). A culture of open dialogue, bolstered by proactive management, can make employees feel valued and less likely to depart. 

Transparency is Imperative 

Skepticism runs high among Gen Z employees. Being transparent about performance reviews, pay scales, job roles, hiring processes, and benefits can build trust and negate a “grass-is-greener” mentality. 

Flexibility is a Must-Have 

Hybrid and remote work options are increasingly becoming a non-negotiable demand for Gen Z. Employers can further enhance this by offering virtual team-building activities to cater to those who prefer remote work. 

Gen Z

Key Insights: 

  • The study reveals that a significant 62% of Generation Z employees are on the hunt for a new job, even as they maintain their current positions. This sentiment is closely mirrored by millennials, where 60% are similarly exploring new employment opportunities. 
  • In contrast, only a third (30%) of Baby Boomers are considering leaving their current roles for new opportunities. 
  • Furthermore, nearly half (45%) of Gen Z workers are supplementing their income through side projects, either formal or informal. Additionally, 37% believe they are not adequately compensated for their contributions to their primary job. 

Jan Iverson is Head of Studio at FS Studio and an award-winning product leader with over 20-years of extensive experience in digital media and marketing, with a specialization in the design and development of AR, VR and 3D activations: mobile apps, games, LBE, sales tools, digital twins; with XR cross-platform content development, and a track record of success in leading award-winning digital creative teams. Virtually Human is her bi-weekly series