August 06, 2019
As Generation Z enters the workforce, employers should take note of this group’s unique traits and strengths. Gen Z includes those born roughly from 1995 to 2010 and makes up about 32% of the U.S. population. This year, Gen Z surpassed Millennials as the largest age demographic in the United States.
With exposure to financial struggle during the Great Recession, this generation has adapted to become fiercely competitive and independent, according to research from McKinsey & Company. If businesses want to attract more Gen Z employees, they should recognize and meet their needs for a productive workplace. That means understanding their motivations, optimizing their strengths and reflecting corporate values that resonate with them.
Members of Gen Z are logical and analytical thinkers. Motivated by job security, these workers are intensely focused on developing relevant skills and outshining their peers. They are more independent than their Millennial counterparts. Additionally, growing up in the fast-paced digital era has made Gen Z great at handling multiple tasks at once. However, despite being tech-savvy and independent, Gen Z workers still value in-person interactions and meetings.
Changing the physical layout of the office to better meet the needs of Gen Z can support their productivity. Recently, there was a shift from traditional cubicles to open office layouts. Those open layouts are optimal for Millennials, who enjoy a communal office spirit. Gen Z workers, on the other hand, are less focused on teamwork and enjoy having personal space to work and think. Employers should consider a mix of cubicles, open space and private rooms or offices. Enclosed breakout rooms provide a place for teams to hold meetings or workers to escape office distractions. With this hybrid layout, Millennials and Gen X workers still have access to their preferred work styles. The location of the office will also be a factor for members of this generation. Having an office in an urban, walkable environment will contribute to better employee satisfaction.
Beyond physical attributes, there are other ways to engage Gen Z workers in the office. They value access to services, such as ride-sharing apps and food delivery. As the Gen Z demographic continues to grow, it is important for company values to be reflected in the workplace. For instance, if a company is keen on sustainability, then the workplace should provide avenues for recycling, install a gray water system, or become LEED certified. The most successful companies will take even further action by partnering with waste-conscious and energy-efficient vendors and suppliers.
As recruiting and retaining top talent continues to be a focal point for companies, catering to Gen Z workers will be a worthy investment as they can positively improve workplace culture. Businesses can reap financial benefits from higher employee retention rates when all employees have a functional space to be productive. Implementing these changes in the workplace will help companies address the different styles of each generation in today’s diverse workforce.
Brian Zurek specializes in the leasing and sales of office properties throughout Phoenix on behalf of private, institutional, entrepreneurial and developer clients.
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