Can Hiring Gen Z Help Ease a Return to the Office?

In last month’s Partnership Employment blog, Relocating Offices?  Mindful Choices to Support Employee Wellbeing, we focused on ways to get people, especially Baby Boomers and Millennials, excited about returning to the office.  Relocating or remodeling with employees’ physical and mental health in mind were options designed to tempt the remote-insistent folks to rejoin their colleagues for a more human-centered experience.  However, with continued low unemployment, employers worry about quits if they issue an in-office mandate.  And they have cause to be concerned.  Multiple surveys, like ADP Research Institute’s “People at Work 2022: A Global Workforce View,” show that many workers would look for new employment if they had to report daily to the office.  However, polls and surveys vary widely based on demographics, as we shall see.

Why it is time to hire Gen Z

Gen Z is a demographic group that hiring managers should not ignore as they work to repopulate and invigorate a post-pandemic workforce.  For polling purposes, Pew Research defines Gen Z as those born between now and 1997, and if hiring is a struggle, this group presents many opportunities.

2020 Census data shows there are currently  43 million 15 – 24-year-olds, 17 million of whom are adults ready to enter the job market.  These are energetic and technology-savvy young people, many of whom lack real work experience but are eager to learn.  So, what do these young adults bring to the table?

A Pew Research article written by Michael Dimock entitled “Defining generations: Where Millennials end and Generation Z begins” describes some generalized information about this unique demographic group:

  • Gen Z is the most plugged-in and technologically connected of any previous generation.  However, Dimock points out that “dramatic shifts in youth behaviors, attitudes, and lifestyles – both positive and concerning”  have resulted and need to be studied. 

Other experts observe this “iPad generation” may feel isolated and lonely because of a lack of human interaction.  This, and a difficulty setting boundaries for work at home, could help explain why Generation Lab research showed that 40% of college-age and graduate employees prefer to work at work!  (cited in July 2022 ZDNet article).

  • Unlike Millennials, whose experiences with 9/11, war, and recession influenced their economic and political choices, Dimock observes that social disruption is almost normalized for Gen Zers.  Therefore, is Gen Z possibly more adaptive to change, an advantage in a dynamic workplace?

Unfortunately, surveys about Gen Z’s work location preferences are all over the map.  Like the 40% statistic above, some polls show the same desire for flex or remote work as Boomers and Millennials.  However, what is clear is that employers have an opportunity to hire and begin to shape the future workers of tomorrow and that begins at the office!

Therefore, what are some selling points to Gen Zers that could both attract and reinforce the benefits of an in-person workplace while also giving older, pro-remote employees a reason to return? 

Tips for rebuilding a multi-generational in-office environment

  1.  Update your workspaces.  Check out our October blog, Relocating Offices?  Mindful Choices to Support Employee Wellbeing for some fresh ideas.
  2. Hire new Gen Z employees eager to learn, grow, and work on-site. 
  3. Gen Zers want to be in the loop regarding opportunities, promotions, and campaigns.  So educate them on your company’s mission, social relevance, and the importance of cohesive teaming. 
  4. Proactively help ambitious young people connect to a career goal and build professional networks.
  5. This generation craves mentorship.  Guiding younger workers on how to navigate the policies and intricacies of the business environment gives Boomers and Millennials a reason to return to the office.  It is also an excellent way to onboard and upskill a younger, less experienced workforce. 
  6. Gen Zers like to have fun!  So planning regular offsite retreats, informal meetings, and events can help repair the isolation and loneliness Gen Zers have experienced over the past two years.

Your workplace can be a thriving on-site community again!  If you need help rebalancing or rebuilding your staff, why not contact Partnership Employment’s expert recruiters?  We can help you find and get access to the best young talent not averse to in-person work.  Collectively, our partners offer decades of recruitment industry experience, great candidates, and creative ideas to help you manage flex demands, enhance worker productivity, and reduce hiring costs.  Contact us today!