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Generations in the Workplace: A Look at Gen Z

Generation Z, Deloitte tells us, is poised to surpass Millennials as the “most populous generation on earth.” They’re now approaching one-third of the world population and they are also, Deloitte says, the most diverse generation ever.

They also value diversity. “Diversity is the watchword for Gen Z,” Deloitte says: “Diversity matters to them through many dimensions, not just isolated to race and gender but also related to identity and orientation. Companies that can better represent the spectrum of differences in their external branding/marketing are much more likely to diversity their talent pipelines.”

That is, or should be, important to employers of all kinds whatever the state of the economy. Generation Z represents the future of your organization. Attract and engage them now and you’ll build a loyal workforce that will hopefully serve you for years to come. Fail to do so and you’re likely to be left in the dust by your more inclusive competitors for top talent.

The Yin/Yang of the Employment Marketplace

Employers today operate in an employment marketplace that is confusing to say the least. Amid what has been tagged as the “Great Resignation,” and the phenomenon of “quiet quitting,” some large employers, like Microsoft and Amazon, are laying off employees en masse.

So is it an employer or an employee market? It depends.

A quick look at U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the wide variation in unemployment across industries. While total unemployment dropped by 612,000 from December 2021 to December 2022, certain industries have significantly lower unemployment than others.

That means your employment experience, opportunities, and challenges, are likely to be different from those of other employers. Despite those differences, though, across all industries and geographies, diversity—and, importantly, inclusion—matter more than ever.

Beyond Diversity, Lack of Inclusion Drives People Away

Diversity, as we’ve seen is important to Generation Z – more so, perhaps than to other generations. But as we’ve also seen through our work, diversity is not enough. It’s not enough to hire people who are diverse if, after they’re hired, they don’t feel a sense of inclusion.

That’s a risk that organizations have long grappled with for employees from a wide range of demographics. It’s a risk that now applies to Generation Z. As you seek to attract and hire employees from this generation, you must also be taking steps to retain them. That requires inclusiveness and, yes, equity—and belonging.

So, yes, make sure your corporate and employer communication materials convey the diversity of your workforce and your customers, and your commitment to diversity. But also make sure that you’re thinking beyond diversity to inclusion because that’s what really matters.

To avoid a revolving door among your Gen Z (and other) employees, make sure that you’re:

  • Including them in critical conversations related to not only the work that they do, but the work that your business does and who you serve.

  • Recognizing that there is diversity even among members of the Gen Z cohort! Don’t make assumptions about your Gen Z employees based on what you see or hear in the media. Get to know them and what’s important to them.

  • Listening to what your employees are telling you—regardless of how new they may be to the workforce, or how limited their understanding of your industry may be now. Their unique perspectives are important—and they want to be heard.

  • Putting your biases aside. We all have them.

We’re expecting great things from Generation Z. But in order to reap the benefits that this newest workplace generational cohort has to offer, you must be inclusive. Inclusion matters. What steps are you taking to engage these employees and minimize the risk of losing top talent?

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Are you tired of inclusion, diversity and equity learning that doesn't link to business? Are you tired of tactics that don’t drive business results? InclusionINC has inclusion and strategic consulting that link inclusion to employee engagement, productivity, innovation and retention, moving inclusion beyond tactics to a critical business strategy.


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