Balancing work life and personal life can be a struggle for anyone of any age. Across older and younger generations, we can observe unique experiences that different generations have had when it comes to balancing work and personal life. But what do these generations expect when it comes to work-life balance?
- Baby boomers (anyone born from 1946 to 1964) – often stay with a single employer for longer periods of time (often for life)
- “Generation X” (1965-1980) – known for challenging typical workplace structures; credited with helping push better work-life balance across society.
- Millennials (born between 1981-1996) – typically place more emphasis on their life outside the work environment and more alternative ways of working, such as telecommuting, digital marketing options, as well as casual dress.
However, the question remains. Where does Gen Z, the youngest generation (born between 1996 and 2012, depending on your source) fit into all of this? Working with Gen Z employees can provide a fresh, unique experience to the workplace. As long as business owners understand the values younger generations have in regards to their workplace.
The most important thing to understand is that the Gen Z generation (also known as “Zoomers”) are hard workers. Studies conducted at the Workforce Institute at Kronos, Inc. actually conclude that Gen Z is the hardest working generation of all the generations to come before them. The problem, however, is that many “Zoomers” don’t think that they’re adequately prepared to enter the workforce. According to the study, less than half of the recipients believe that their high school and college educations have prepared them for the workforce.
Overall, Zoomers also place a higher emphasis on their own mental health and work-life balance than generations before them. So they often expect their employers to do the same.
Working with Gen Z
Many young “Zoomers” believe they are not prepared. However, they’ve been cited as bringing fresh, unique perspectives into their workplaces. In an article published in Forbes, Ashley Stahl has described Gen Z workers as having expectations that align with their values and personal morals.
“Diversity, equity, and inclusion are increasingly relevant in the world of work, and these issues are particularly important to members of Gen-Z,” Stahl says. Considering that Gen Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in history, according to NPR, this shouldn’t come as a complete surprise. Gen Z has reported facing large amounts of discrimination in their workplaces. Both in regard to themselves and with their coworkers.
Acknowledging the facets of discrimination in a workplace can make this diverse generation more willing to remain with a company. Taking measures to ensure workplace discrimination does not take place.
Bringing Gen Z Values Into the Workplace
Understanding “Zoomers” means understanding their expectations and what makes them tic compared to generations before them. They’re the biggest audience for social media networks such as TikTok. This is why so many companies and brands have been utilizing the app to target this generation of customers – and employees. Each generation before them has had unique work-life balance perspectives. However, Gen Z employees can both challenge and enhance a workplace with their fresh perspectives and high expectations.
When appealing to Gen Z workers, it is important to appeal to their values. Retaining Gen Z workers is relatively simple:
- Make mental health and work/life balance a talking point.
- Understand where they’re coming from in terms of their educational backgrounds and their diverse expressions of sexuality, ethnicity, and so on.
- Value their perspective
Gen Z is a picture of the changing world. In order to ensure that they remain loyal workers, businesses need to be able to reflect the change that is taking place within the world that affects workers directly. Like any workplace, the better a business connects with its employees, the more likely those employees will want to stay.