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Generation Z Is Here. It’s Time to Rethink Your Talent Development Strategy. Part 2 of 3

Generation Z Is Here. It’s Time to Rethink Your Talent Development Strategy. Part 2 of 3

They’re extremely diverse – and struggling. Your workplace could be the answer.

Last week we explored some of the unique characteristics of Generation Z and how they are likely to affect your workplace. We touched upon the impact of a multigenerational workforce, and the importance of feedback. There’s a lot more to unpack about this youngest generation, so let’s dive a bit deeper on matters of diversity, psychology, and technology.

Generation Z is the most diverse generation our country has ever seen. One in four is Latino. Roughly half is a racial or ethnic minority, compared to 38% of Millennials of the same age bracket. Their diversity reaches beyond ethnicity: Generation Z is the first to embrace concepts of gender fluidity, with some states considering adding an ‘X’ option to M and F on the driver’s license application to accommodate non-binary new teen drivers.

Think for a moment. Is your business truly ready for this degree of diversity? Maybe it’s non-binary bathrooms or offering your conflict of agreement policy in Spanish. Either way, nearly all businesses have some work to do to make incoming talent feel welcome, appreciated, and respected. Diversity and inclusion training is a great way to advance these concepts in your current workforce. It’s also a good idea to examine whether your current leadership manifests the diversity you hope to see in your future workplace.

What about the mind frame of Generation Z? It’s challenging to read the tea leaves on how the psychological state of teens and young adults will unfold into adulthood, but it certainly provides food for thought. A Pew Research study found that roughly 70% of Gen Z members regard anxiety and depression as a major problem among people their age in their community. Some researchers are quick to link this spike in depression and anxiety to the ‘always on’ world of technology foisted upon this generation- jury’s still out here. Regardless, recruiters will be considering young candidates that face a greater internal struggle with the demands of daily routine, and that will likely respond favorably to a more nurturing team and work environment. There may also be particular interest in mental health benefits from this generation, as well as wellness programs that offer mindfulness, stress reduction, and digital discipline.  

Or maybe their anxiety is caused by their financial outlook. A recent Deloitte report claims that the average net worth of 18 to 35-year olds is $8,000, a 34% nosedive from previous generations. Costs of education, food, and housing have skyrocketed, and wages have remained flat for almost two decades. Couple this stark financial reality with a finding that 61% of Gen Zers plan to leave their jobs within two years, and a clear solution is drawn out before us: it’s time to dust off the golden handcuffs and present your company as a leader in compensation. Cash didn’t become king without reason! Offering a competitive salary is a rock-solid start to developing a loyal and energetic company associate.

Next week, we’ll take a third and final dive on the post-Millennial generation to understand how they will likely affect your workplace and your workforce – and what you can do to maximize their positive impact.

Mark Brodbeck, MSW

Director of Marketing at eMentorConnect. Passionate about people intent on elevating others, and other examples of enlightened self-interest. Frank Sinatra said it best: 'It's one world, pal. We're all neighbors.'