What’s up, GenZ?

Diverse team of gen Z software developers working in office focus on Asian young man with colored hair using computer in foreground

In a world where 57% of the latest generation (GenZ) dreams of social media stardom – the traditional employer’s promise of free cupcakes on Monday morning is fading… fast.

The generation Z (born between 1997 and 2012) – is unlike any other generation. It is a generation that shows almost 0 interest in climbing the corporate ladder:

GenZ has the highest turnover rate among employers. The Great Resignation rages on with this generation.

And by 2025, Gen Z is going to be 27% of the workforce and one-third of the global population.

So if you’re not alarmed… and make no changes today, you may have very few people left working for you next year.

Let’s look at what’s going on, and what you can do – as an employer- to keep this generation working for you – and working hard.

The problem on your hands

Let’s dive in:

Around 75% of Gen Zers consider the availability of mental health resources as a top factor when choosing which companies to work for.

Yet, beneath the surface of Instagram-worthy workplaces, there’s a pressing conversation about mental health that’s begging attention. Alarmingly, 85% of GenZ turn right back to their employers and choose not to use the same mental health benefits they’re provided.

The reason, they say? Lack of understanding of how to use benefits.

This generation could not be bothered to figure out “benefits” that come as long PDFs and boring ‘mental health’ apps- from you- their employer. That’s too tedious for a generation that’s enamoured by 10-second-long videos on Tiktok.

Imagine this: GenZ employees are sitting there, scrolling through TikTok, and you’re handing them healthcare-benefit PDFs and boring apps like ‘Here, help yourself buddy!’

And they’re going… ‘Can I get some healthcare with a side of dark memes, please?’

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Expecting them to deep-dive into benefits is like expecting your grandma to win a Fortnite tournament.

They’re not looking for a tweak here and there; they want a total makeover, TikTok style. Infact, 1 of 5 Americans reportedly consult TikTok before their doctors when seeking treatment for a health condition. The top reasons are accessibility (37%), affordability (33%), and approachability (23%).

One 25-year-old fellow Gen Zer explains this: ‘It’s like being handed a map when you just need a GPS. We’re navigating through all these complicated healthcare options, but what we’re really looking for is something direct, user-friendly, and in tune with our digital-first lifestyle.”

So… what now?

Enough about the problem. Let’s talk about what you can do as an employer, today:

First: Stop touting free-cupcake-Monday as the solution. GenZ sees a 9-5 as a means of funding a more fulfilling life outside the workplace – they don’t want free cupcakes inside the office, they want the financial means to buy their own cupcakes after work.

Second: Provide an allowance- not benefits. About 22% of GenZ reported using digital mental health tools, but 80% stopped using them after some time, indicating a possible lack of engagement with these platforms.

GenZ has their own way of defining their mental health- it is no longer just a clinical issue, but an informal word that’s thrown around every day in situations. Instead of spending on mental health benefits, you can give your employees a self care allowance: for their yoga class, a dinner with an estranged family member, skincare, or anything they deem ‘self care’.

The theme with genZ is “freedom”- freedom in where to work from, freedom of expression of identity, freedom to choose. Give them freedom in ways you can allow, and they will stick around longer.

Third- and I hate to be the bearer of bad news: GenZ has too many options to stick around for too long, even with your best tries. Craft a business that thrives on that. An example of this: ditch your reliance on long-term employment. Have proactive project documentation processes, so that you’re never dependent on the employee. Hand those process documents to the new employee, say goodbye to the last.

GenZ has unlimited access to outlets for making a living: ecommerce, social media, travel blogging, and everything in between. It’s easier than ever before to register an LLC and start a business in your pyjamas.

You can choose to grumble about the new generation and their attitude to work- or you can play the game just as cleverly. “Adapt or be left behind” is an overused maxim, it needs a fresh twist in 2024. Don’t watch Gen Z rewrite the rulebook. Grab the pen and co-author the next chapter with them.

About the author:

Ananya Jain is the founder of FullCircle Technologies Inc., the leading mental health startup for GenZ that’s received significant attention from the press and investors in the U.S. Ananya and FullCircle have been featured in Yahoo News, Forbes, and TEDx. Her story about her own struggles with mental health got the attention of countless people on LinkedIn, and won her the Princess Diana Award.

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