Photo Credit: Shingi Rice on Unsplash
By Anthony Onesto, Chief People Officer at Suzy; author, Gen Z & Future of Work
In my book, The New Employee Contract - How to Find, Keep and Elevate Gen Z Talent, I explore what companies need to do to hire, motivate, and train the next generation in the workplace. In addition, I discuss the larger macroeconomic environment in business, the shared experiences that impacted Gen Z, and how they have influenced what they expect in the workplace.
This post will share some of those expectations based on Gen Z's values and norms. I am not saying that you have to do every one of these things perfectly, but the better your focus on them, the greater the chance of your organization competing to recruit, motivate and train them.
90% of your company's value is based on intangible assets, so to increase your company's value, you will need to hire the best and brightest of this generation.
A More Human Company - what does this mean?
- 21st Century Job - not Taylorism
- Employees are seen as humans, not machines
- They are not only data points
- Measure performance - quality versus quantity
- COBRA effect on corporate metrics
Mission matters - what does your company stand for? Do you have a bigger mission? Is your mission something that aligns with what this generation finds essential?
Flexible job design and a sense of control over their work - if I can get my job done well in 6 hours versus eight or via remote versus an office - why not? The ability to be flexible against workplace norms that didn't directly impact efficiency or quality will be questioned.
Co-Creation - while I am not advocating building job descriptions together, this generation wants to be able to work together to develop their growth and jump on opportunities to level up their skill sets in different ways. Think of how gaming mechanics work these days with systems like Roblox or Fortnite.
Climate change - what is your company's position on climate change? Do you think about your company's impact on climate change and how your company plans to help contribute to a better planet?
Work-life balance - all work and no play don't work for this generation. They are not lazy or looking for a "free ride." This generation is fiercely loyal and hardworking, but this generation is about more than just the corner office. moving up the corporate ladder or their title. One myth is that they all want to be social media stars or influencers, but this is not true.
Health and wellness - having almost instant access to information via mobile, this generation is careful about what they put in their bodies. They also prioritize physical and mental health since it has proven essential for long-term productivity and performance.
Safety and security - given all the shared experiences of economic declines, climate change, and social and political unrest they have experienced, this generation strives for safety and security.
Take a second, honestly assess how you are doing and score your company around these recommendations. Then prioritize at least one of these main buckets to improve upon this year.
You have some time, but this generation will be about 30-35% of the workforce in a few short years, so you need to start now and prepare for the future of work and the Gen Z perspective.
About the Author
Anthony Onesto is a leading expert on culture, human resources, and talent. Anthony joined the Suzy team to help scale and drive its mission and vision around culture, talent, and human resources. Anthony brings a unique approach to Human Resources, using design-thinking principles to build a human-centered organization. Most recently, Anthony worked as the General Manager for U.S. operations of a global innovation, media and education company called Konrad Group. Prior, Anthony spent time leading the U.S. strategy and operations for SmartUp, a SaaS learning and development startup. He has years of experience in scaling and building culture, human resources, and talent for fast growth technology and innovation companies, including Solidstreaming, Fresh Direct, Zeta Interactive, Big Fuel, and Razorfish. In 2015 he founded Ella Adventures, a company that produces a comic book and cartoon series called Ella the Engineer. The purpose of the comic is to encourage young girls to pursue interests in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and Entrepreneurship. He is also a board advisor to well-funded and high growth tech startups like Namely, Rolepoint, Talentrackr, and Makerspace.NYC, who have collectively raised over 100m in venture capital.