3 Key Strategies to Support Gen Z Employee Wellbeing in the Workplace

Gen Z

As the newest generation to step onto the professional stage, Gen Z employees bring an exciting blend of fresh perspectives and high expectations. Born between 1997 and 2012, these individuals have grown up in a technologically interconnected world, which brings both opportunities and challenges to their wellbeing. Given their distinctive qualities compared to previous generations, employers must grasp the significance of nurturing the wellbeing of Gen Z employees in the workplace. By bridging the gap between Gen Z and other generations, not only can they cultivate a positive and harmonious work environment but also enhance productivity and retention rates.

Gen Z

1. Nurturing Work-life Balance

Fostering work-life balance is not just a buzzword but a vital component for nurturing the wellbeing of Gen Z employees in the workplace. To embark on this transformative journey, employers must prioritise mental health. Imagine a workplace where counselling services and mindfulness programmes are easily accessible, providing strong support for Gen Z employees manging their overall wellbeing. A great example is The Walt Disney USA, which offered sunrise yoga classes in front of Cinderella Castle as part of their “Be Well” initiative, encouraging cast members to prioritise personal wellness and reduce stress. As Gen Z values both mental and physical health, employees from other generations may also be influenced and participate in such programmes.

However, the pursuit of work-life balance doesn’t end there. The key is embracing flexibility as a catalyst for harmony. Gen Z employees value the freedom to choose when and where they work, as long as they meet their goals and deadlines. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies implemented hybrid models and customisable working hours. Continuing and refining this approach will allow Gen Z employees to balance their personal and professional lives effectively, reducing stress and burnout. Spotify, for instance, offers employees the choice to work from the office, home, or a hybrid combination. They also support those without office access by providing co-working space memberships.

Transparency plays a vital role in serving as the beacon of trust. Employers who openly communicate work-life balance policies and expectations cultivate a healthy equilibrium between work and life, while transparent practices demonstrate the organisation’s commitment to supporting the holistic wellbeing of employees.

2. Encouraging Open Conversations

Another crucial strategy to support Gen Z employee wellbeing in the workplace is to encourage open conversations that address macro-social movements and systemic issues that matter to them, including racism, discrimination, sexual harassment, sustainability and climate change, etc. It is essential for employers to acknowledge and engage with the topics that resonate with them.

To facilitate these conversations, organisations could consider establishing employee resource groups (ERGs) and communities. ERGs focus on specific themes and provide a platform for like-minded individuals to come together, share experiences and discuss important topics related to their identity or shared interests. Successful initiatives by large organisations include Expedia Group. They have implemented a diverse range of Inclusion Business Groups (IBGs) with thousands of employees engaged in chapters around the world. For example, “Pride” provides educational opportunities and a positive and supportive environment for LGBTQIA+ employees, while “VETS” raises awareness and offers mentorship and career growth for veterans and their supporters.

RAPP London, a global creative marketing agency under Omnicom, offers communities and clubs such as “Opt to Act” (its climate action committee) and “NextCo”, which encourages junior employees to come together and form a board. These initiatives allow Gen Z employees to engage in open discussions and collaborate on initiatives that drive positive change within the company and beyond.

By creating a safe and supportive space for these conversations, employers show that they are putting effort into listening and understanding the perspectives and concerns of Gen Z employees. This fosters a sense of belonging and empowerment as employees feel valued and heard.

3. Providing Learning Opportunities

Supporting the wellbeing of Gen Z employees in the workplace also involves acknowledging their drive for advancement. To meet their aspirations, it is crucial for employers to provide clear guidelines for career progression and personal growth.

One effective approach is to offer learning and development opportunities that empower Gen Z employees to enhance their skills and knowledge. This can be achieved through various initiatives such as training programmes, workshops and mentorship opportunities, demonstrating their commitment to Gen Z’s long-term success. An example would be WPP Group’s “NextGen Leaders” initiative, a global 10-week learning programme designed for Gen Z employees within the network. This programme provides a structured and comprehensive learning experience that equips them with the skills and insights necessary to thrive in their careers. It combines interactive sessions, practical assignments and 1-1 mentoring sessions, fostering growth and a sense of purpose among participants.

In addition to initiatives targeting existing employees, L’Oréal Hong Kong offers the “L’Oréal Ignite Programme” for university students, enabling them to explore career paths in the beauty industry through projects, workshops and networking opportunities. Outstanding candidates during these sessions may even have fast-track opportunities to enter internship or Management Trainee programmes. These initiatives offer industry exposure to potential Gen Z employees before they enter the workforce, benefiting both the individuals and the company. By engaging with students early on, companies can attract top talent, establish their brand and streamline the recruitment process.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it’s time to go beyond the traditional playbook and provide a wide range of resources and support that cater to the unique needs of this generation. Ultimately, it is the combination of these elements – prioritising mental health, fostering open conversations and providing learning opportunities that cultivate an ecosystem where Gen Z employees can truly thrive. By investing in their wellbeing, employers unlock their boundless potential, leading to remarkable outcomes. Let us embark on this journey together and shape a future where employee wellbeing is not just an aspiration but a tangible reality.