Tips to boost job engagement among Gen Z workers

New engagement strategies are needed to prevent mass turnover among younger workers

A study by employee experience platform Achievers and research company Censuswide has found that a third of workers in the 16-24 age group feel undervalued in the workplace.

One-third of workers from this age group feel undervalued compared to 29% overall, while 32% said their feedback is not listened to or acted upon.

With this group encompassing Gen Z workers, that along with millennials will account for most of the future workforce. Employers must know how to retain them if they want to keep their organisations productive and innovative.

The study revealed that 37% of surveyed workers aged 16-24 said they don’t feel trusted to work remotely. This is compared to 21% overall. The report found this sentiment led to 65% of employees working longer hours and 55% working during or skipping holidays altogether.

With 78% of respondents in this group claiming to be applying or intending to apply for new jobs following COVID-19, employers must find new strategies to combat job dissatisfaction. The report’s top tips for improving employee engagement are as follows:

  • Focus on feedback – make surveys quick and easy for employees to complete using pulse surveys and online listening tools. This was shown to be especially critical during a rapidly changing situation like the COVID-19 crisis, where employee attitudes shifted considerably in response to new developments and public policy decisions.
  • Say ‘thank you’ often – the goal should be to create a culture of recognition that is pervasive at every level and even extends outward to customers. Technology can help to democratise a recognition culture and ensure that it persists as we move to hybrid setups.
  • Value everyone’s views – the report data highlighted generational divides in employee sentiment. Young employees felt the most unsettled and unheard. Workplaces must find ways to ensure every employee feels welcomed, included, supported and connected, using technology to build employee-first cultures.
  • Deliver on diversity -More than a third of respondents (35%) do not feel a strong sense of belonging at work, which can cause innovation and growth to suffer. This insight should instigate a review of how employees are engaged, recognised, and made to feel connected to the company.
  • Pacify your presentees – presenteeism is a clear problem among a sizeable proportion of employees. This indicates a trust issue that companies need to address in order for workers to achieve work/life balance. This involves listening to employees’ concerns through pulse surveys and one-to-one meetings.

Mick Burn, Head of Talent & Organisation Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Infosys Consulting, commented on how to retain talent as COVID-19 recedes: “As workers begin returning to the office, a lot more is changing than the traditional five-day office week. Gone are the days of staying in one role for 30 years. Personal development is a top priority for Gen Z and millennials – especially in the tech sector, where exciting growth opportunities emerge every day. Now, people want to climb the ladder, with or without their current employer.

“To retain valuable employees, companies need to provide opportunities for progression, not just in the form of promotions, but also through meaningful training and flexible roles. For example, young talent doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed into one role or even department. A web developer might want to try their hand at R&D or social media and expect their employer to support them in exploring these options.

“Whilst this may feel like more boxes to tick than is possible for employers, those who get it right will see the pay-off. Innovation is the lifeblood of tech companies, so retaining the bright minds that offer this should be a top priority. By supporting this flexible employee experience, companies are nurturing their most valuable asset.”
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