Workplace Wellness roundup: What Gen Z and millennials expect from their post-pandemic workplace

These generations are more likely to consider employers who are addressing work/life balance and reflecting their values.

Shot of two joyful business people sitting together at desk, waving at webcam at the beginning of a video conference call at night.

Deloitte has released findings from the 12th edition of its Gen Z and Millennial Survey, which surveyed more than 22,000 Gen Z and millennial individuals across 44 countries. As the pandemic begins to take a backseat, the report looks at how the last three years have shaped the workplace trends in these demographic groups, both positively and negatively and their thoughts on the progress employers have made and where there’s still work to do.

“Gen Zs and millennials are striving for better work/life balance. They are also values-driven, concerned about the environment, the state of the world, and the future they see developing ahead of them. They’re looking for employers who can help empower them to make a difference,” said Michele Parmelee, Deloitte global deputy CEO and chief people and purpose officer in a news release. “Organizations that actively listen and help address their needs and concerns will improve business resiliency and implement actionable change in our world.”

[RELATED: Join us Aug. 14-16 in Denver for our Employee Experience & Wellness Conference]

Work/life balance is among the groups’ biggest considerations in choosing an employer. Most remote or hybrid workers (Gen Z 77%; millennials 75%) would consider looking for a new job if asked to work on-site full-time. Both groups also ask for better career advancement opportunities for part-time workers, more part-time opportunities overall, and more flexible work hours, like working a condensed four-day work week.

In the survey, cost of living emerges as the primary societal worry for Gen Zs and millennials. Over half of those surveyed admit to living from one paycheck to another. That number is trending up for both groups — Gen Z moved up from 46% in 2002 to 51% in 2023, while millennials moved from 47% to 52% in the same time span.

Elevated stress and anxiety levels persist among Gen Zs and millennials due to financial and environmental apprehensions, and workplace pressures. These generations are also considering employer mental health support and policies when taking a position and how seriously employers are looking at employee mental wellbeing in driving positive change.

Environmental issues are another area where these groups are driving change. Six in 19 respondents have felt anxious about the environment in the past month, with one in six changing jobs or industries due to those concerns. These groups want to feel empowered within their organization to drive change and influence sustainability efforts.

Why it matters: Younger generations were already pushing back at workplace trends. Without the decades of “this is just how business works” as the older generations have endured and seeing how things could be different due to the pandemic, they’re not willing to keep to the status quo if they feel there are alternatives out there to getting the job done. Forty-nine percent of Gen Z and 62% of Millennials said that their work is central to their identity, pushing the desire for that work/life balance and the knowledge that they are driving positive change in the workplace and society.

These generations are now saying it out loud. They have no problem packing their things and finding new jobs that will address their concerns and needs if current employers aren’t nurturing them and the employee experience is not what they desire. Recruiting efforts were tough in some industries pre-pandemic and have only gotten worse since the beginning of the pandemic. HR leaders need to listen to what the incoming workforce is saying to retain top talent and potentially take a multi-generational approach to employee wellbeing.

Other Employee Experience and Wellness News:

  • About 12 million Americans utilize payday loans annually to make ends meet while paying interest or other fees. Employers can stand out by helping employees navigate their finances by providing supportive financial services.
  • Last year, 30% of the workforce changed jobs and 20% of those left in the first 45 days. Thirty percent more will be gone in the next three years. Increased pay, better management and all the perks may not be the key to retention. It may be better onboarding.
  • In a world where more employees are working completely remotely or hybrid, organizations need to take a closer look at meeting the wellbeing needs of employees. But the needs of one employee aren’t necessarily the needs of another, so organizations need to look at how they improve.

Jon Minnick is the Special Projects Manager at Ragan Communications and will be attending Ragan’s Employee Experience & Wellness Conference in Denver, August 14-16. Will you be there?

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