Millennial employees often get a bad rap for being ‘entitled’, ‘lazy’, ‘job-hoppers’ who would rather waste money on avocado toast than save for a house. Meanwhile, Gen Z are often labelled as ‘socially awkward’ and ‘technology-dependent’. As much as the stereotypes are inaccurate and unhelpful, one thing that shouldn’t be underestimated is that there are generational shifts that impact working practices. The recent pandemic has undoubtedly caused a lot of disruption, uncertainty and stress among global work forces. Employees have had to adapt to new ways of working and businesses and organisations have had to quickly implement new processes where possible.
According to recent research, just under four in 10 millennials and nearly half of Gen Z’s say that their mental health has worsened during the crisis. At Achievers, we also recently conducted research looking at whether employees in the UK, U.S. and Australia feel connected to their company’s culture and colleagues during the COVID-19 crisis. The research revealed that more Gen Z (40 per cent) employees felt disconnected than any other age group, closely followed by millennials (35 per cent). It’s crucial that businesses and HR leaders take the time to understand how best to engage these younger age groups within the workplace, and here’s how:
Well-being – health is wealth
Physical and mental well-being are crucial now more than ever before, and with research revealing that younger age groups are finding managing their mental health particularly difficult – it’s important that employers take greater care of their workforce’s well-being. Businesses should look to make mental health a priority, by providing a supportive listening ear where possible. If your employees are not comfortable discussing personal issues at work, encourage them to talk through their problems with a trusted professional.
Recognition and appreciation – sharing is caring
Adopting a culture of recognition will help to make your employees feel appreciated and valued, leading to higher employee engagement – lifting employee productivity and morale. Adopting an employee recognition program will allow you to easily give and receive recognition on a regular basis. Ensure that recognition is timely and avoid waiting until a 6-month or annual review to recognize the work that your employees have accomplished. By spreading recognition and appreciation, your employee will feel motivated and valued within the workplace.
Connectivity – we’re all in this together
It’s unlikely that things will completely go back to normal in the working world anytime soon. Your millennial and Gen Z workforce may be feeling increasingly lonely as their busy social calendars have come to a halt. The stark change may be difficult for some to adjust to, which can lead to feelings of loneliness and boredom. Encourage your younger staff to start a new hobby to help keep them busy during their free time, investigate starting a fitness group where staff can share what they’ve been doing to keep themselves fit.
Click here to find out more about Achievers’ employee engagement platform.