I’m Aimee, I’m a digital marketing apprentice and I’m a part of Gen Z. I have written this article to help leaders understand the best ways to engage their Gen Z employees. I have combined detailed research with my own experience to create 6 tips & tricks on how to engage your Gen Z employees.
Generation Z (or Gen Z as we’re called - those born between 1997 – 2012) have begun to change the way in which businesses run. We are the first generation brought up on the internet and social media, as digital natives. Knowing how to engage employees—including those in Generation Z—can be a challenge. Companies should recognize the differences between Gen Z and other employees. This will ensure success in engaging the newest generation of talent and your future leaders.
Here are a few ways to engage your Gen Z employees:
- Leverage great technology
Gen Z are digital natives who thrive on social media and digital communication. Incorporate modern technology to help us communicate, collaborate, and build relationships with others. Some examples of employee engagement tools that will support Gen Z employees include:
- Collaborative tools - Slack, Miro
- Digital learning. Personalise learning and work at your own pace - Google digital garage
- Online meeting software - Zoom, Teams, Google Meet
- Employee feedback technology
- Support growth and enhancement
Gen Z employees are driven and ambitious. We value opportunities for career growth. Two-thirds of Gen Zers said that their goal in life was to make it to the top of their profession. Show your commitment to our growth and development to keep us engaged. Provide opportunities for us to advance. Here’s a few ways you could do this:
- Provide visible & accessible career path options within the company
- Offer leadership training
- Prepare employees for greater responsibilities
Showing us that you trust us to grow the company is extremely important. There can be times that Gen Z aren’t respected by our leaders. This causes us to lose respect for the business itself and that’s where retention issues can creep in.
When I was 18 I worked for a well-known fast food chain. They would give me a lot of daily responsibilities which had a large impact on the store. But they wouldn’t take any of my ideas seriously. Ideas that would increase workflow & engagement as well as customer satisfaction. They said I “didn’t know what I was talking about”. I had worked there for 2 years, they popped in maybe once every 4 months. I did know what I was talking about. Their constant down-playing of my ideas was one of the reasons why I, and so many others my age, left.
- Encourage transparency
Gen Z can use technology to find out anything they want to know about your company. Even at the interview stage. As employees, they will be further engaged by a culture that encourages transparency. A few ways to increase transparency within your company include:
- Encourage direct, honest communication from leaders
- Provide clear goals / expectations
- Give employees ways of getting to know each other
- Share your culture on social media openly and often
When applying to jobs, I always check the reviews from people that work / have worked there. It’s the best way to get an insight into what it’s like to work there before you’re already in.
I had used Glassdoor to look at one of the company’s I was thinking of applying to. The reviews weren’t great. Apparently the company’s culture was toxic. I decided to apply anyway, thinking I would use this to practise my interview skills. They did offer me the job but ultimately, I turned it down. I had no intention of working in a toxic environment. By being transparent with their employees, this company would have solved their culture problem and I might have made a different decision.
- Celebrate diversity & inclusion
It’s important to celebrate the diversity in the workforce. Gen Z is the most ethnically diverse generation yet. Making sure you are showing us you care about D&I is important to keep them engaged - our expectations are high in this area. Do this by:
- Showcasing the company’s approach on social media
- Allow employees to share their interests, special skills, etc.
- Create a safe and inclusive workspace, where diversity is celebrated
A big thing I look for when applying for jobs / opportunities, is the company’s stance on D & I. I, along with many Gen Zers, don’t want to work with people who share the exact same views or opinions as me. It’s important to grow your own knowledge by being around those who are different to you, in their experiences and their viewpoints. This is the best way to succeed. A company that celebrates their D & I is encouraging their employees to challenge each other and grow. This can create an extremely engaging environment.
- Highlight the company mission
When employees feel aligned with the company mission, they are more engaged. Generation Z is no exception. If your company is aligned with the interests and passions of Gen Z then they are more likely to be engaged. Highlight your company mission in:
- Company-wide & departmental meetings
- Small team discussions
- The company newsletter
One company I worked for loved to brag about their mission, but they wouldn’t actually use it internally. It was like a false promise, used to make them seem more progressive than they were. Not only was it a toxic environment, but the values of the company seemed to be changing constantly. This made it very difficult to be engaged at work and ultimately was a reason I chose to leave.
- Provide regular feedback
Gen Z expects feedback frequently. This could be an effect of the immediacy that digital platforms provide. 66% of Gen Z employees said they needed feedback from their supervisor every few weeks or more to stay at their job. They appreciate regular feedback as it allows them to keep on track in the workplace. Consider:
- Regular performance reviews
- Scheduled 1:1s
- Opportunities to interact with senior leaders
- Ongoing coaching from managers
We also expect to be able to provide feedback. So creating an opportunity for us to have a clear voice in the organisation is key to continued engagement.
I’ve both given and received employee feedback in previous roles. It was very interesting to see the reactions from the different generations. Those in Gen Z would ask for feedback more regularly. I did as well. I thought it would be beneficial for my growth to find out how I could improve. Regular two way feedback is a key part of our ways of working at Space HR and I really thrive from this approach.
Gen Z are just beginning their careers. As they begin to take up larger portions of your company, it will become more and more important to keep them engaged. It’s a good idea to see how your efforts have worked with an employee engagement survey. The results you get will help you to align your tactics with the employees to ensure a better engagement rate.
Our employee feedback survey allows you to explore engagement in extra depth. We can help you identify your Gen Z population (and others), to understand their specific engagement needs and where you might need to take a new approach to ensure you’re getting the maximum engagement and performance boost for your efforts.
If you’d like to understand more about how we can help you with team retention, engagement and performance, you can find out more about the work we do here: www.spacehr.co.uk.