However, effectively caring for Gen Z requires a deep understanding of the struggles this diverse cohort faces today — and the unique expectations this generation has of their employers. Here, we will delve into the aspects of care that matter most to Gen Z, and five strategies employers can use to deliver care across the employee experience.
1. Lead with your core values, and put inclusion first
For the most diverse generation, an employer who does the right thing is not simply a “nice to have” that enhances the employee experience — it’s a core component of care. Just over half (51%) of Gen Z say Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs are must-haves to feel cared for, and they’re also looking for employers to take a stand on social and environmental issues.
Employers can adapt to these growing needs by crystallizing their core values, including their stances on sustainability, social issues, and commitment to inclusion, and clearly communicating these values in internal and external communications.
Crucially, these efforts must be backed by action, including rolling out DEI programs that meet employees’ needs and taking steps to reduce negative environmental impact across the organization.
2. Cultivate a supportive culture with a clear sense of purpose
A compelling and supportive culture is a central aspect of employee care — one that is especially important to Gen Z.
Compared to employees across all age groups, Gen Z is 10% more likely to say a supportive and empathetic culture is a “must-have” for employee care, and they’re also 16% more likely to seek out organizations with a positive company purpose.
Employers can cultivate a culture of support by training managers to recognize employees’ hard work and acknowledge the team’s contribution to the organization’s mission as a whole. Organizations should also look for opportunities to help team members focus on the most meaningful work — for example, by investing in technology that automates tedious tasks — to instill a sense of purpose for all employees, including Gen Z.
3. Create paths to advancement to form long-term relationships
The youngest generation is also the most forward-looking, and career advancement is top of mind when it comes to employee care.
Half of Gen Z employees say training and upskilling initiatives are “must-haves” for demonstrating care, and they also want more opportunities to build professional relationships inside and outside of work.
Organizations should meet these needs by highlighting opportunities for career advancement at each stage of the employee experience, including during candidate recruitment and evaluation. Employers can train managers to ask employees about their career aspirations and invest in mentorship programs that help Gen Z employees form the relationships they’ll need to develop. Finally, they can encourage managers to suggest opportunities for younger talent to learn new skills, including opportunities for horizontal and vertical growth.
4. Embrace emerging benefits and address affordability
Benefits play a central role in the employee experience. And Gen Z, in particular, finds their employers' offerings falling short. Benefits satisfaction is markedly lower among Gen Z than across other generations — roughly 10% lower than Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers — contributing to a downward trend in benefits satisfaction overall.
This trend may stem from Gen Z’s heightened expectations of their employers. The innovative benefits of today are becoming the must-have benefits of tomorrow, and the youngest generation is more likely to see emerging benefits as essential to employee care.