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Actionable Tips for Attracting and Engaging Gen Z Employees

Gen Z, Gen Z Workforce Study, Georgia Tech, Penn State, Snappy Gifts, Students, Interns, Young Workers, Coworkers
Lauren Nolan
July 12, 2023

A new study from Snappy, completed in collaboration with Georgia Tech University Scheller College of Business and Penn State University, examines how Gen Z is thinking about their careers and motivating factors for being an engaged participant in the American workforce. The study reveals findings and provides valuable insights into Gen Z workers, and how employers can attract and retain this next generation of workforce talent.

Gen Z is comprised of people born between 1997 through 2012. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than 13% of the American workforce is currently made up of Gen Z. And within the next two years, by 2025, Gen Z will account for about 27% of the global workforce, according to World Economic Forum

“As employers seek to attract and retain this next generation of emerging talent, it’s important to understand what motivates them in their careers and engages them in their job. As a leader in employee engagement and recognition, Snappy teamed up with Georgia Tech University and Penn State University to survey Gen Z and uncover findings to help HR professionals attract and engage the next generation of employees,” said Courtney Bock-Hencken, Senior Manager, People Business Partner at Snappy at Snappy.

As Gen Z continues to enter and engage in the workforce, this new generation offers HR professionals an opportunity to reexamine what’s working and where there is room for improvement in recruiting efforts, employee engagement and retention efforts. The Gen Z workforce will continue to grow in size and impact, quickly becoming increasingly important to businesses; they are the future of your organization, so now is a great time to invest in understanding and meeting their expectations, which differ from previous generations.

Here are a few tips and actionable insights based on Snappy’s 2023 Gen Z Study findings for the HR professionals in your organization:

Gen Z employees seek competitive salaries along with work-life balance

According to Snappy’s newest study examining Gen Z, the most important career motivators for Gen Z include–in order of importance–salary and overall compensation, achieving successful work-life balance, opportunities for advancement, self-fulfillment, and have a sense of belonging in their workplace. This data is consistent with Snappy’s 2023 Workforce Study, which also found salary and overall compensation was the most important motivator at work among Gen Z (33.2%). 

As companies create plans to attract and retain Gen Z talent, new legislation requires pay transparency and inflation rates impact cost of living nationwide, it’s more important than ever to offer fair and competitive compensation for employees, inclusive of salary and other benefits. And with work-life balance being of almost equal importance to Gen Z as their overall compensation, there are a number of ways companies can offer creative and generous benefits to their employees in helping them achieve a balanced lifestyle so they can show up to their jobs well rested, engaged, and ready to make their best contributions to the business.

Hybrid work, balancing in-person collaboration and at-home focus time, is highly sought after by Gen Z employees

With a tumultuous last few years navigating complete isolation from our colleagues in 2020, to now finding ourselves in a mostly confusing and unclear road for return-to-office, Gen Z is open about expressing their desires for flexibility in their work schedules and environments. According to the study, Gen Z employees seek, and prefer, opportunities to work at companies with hybrid collaboration, working in-person – or in-office – 63.5% of the time (or 3 out of 5 workdays) and working remotely – or from home – 36.5% of the time (2 out of 5 workdays).

Keeping your work environments and requirements flexible helps all team members feel autonomous and strikes a balance between in-person collaboration and independent work. Giving employees options for their work environments helps them achieve better work-life balance, cutting down on time spent commuting or even opening the door to more transparency, truth, trust and autonomy as we loosen the boundaries of 9-to-5 workdays, giving employees the option to deliver on projects with more flexibility, when it fits their work-from-home hours.

Gen Z workers seek managers and colleagues who communicate well and show appreciation for their contributions

Self-fulfillment and having a sense of belonging in their workplace were ranked among the top motivators at work for Gen Z. Additionally, when it comes to the interpersonal interactions between themselve and their managers, Gen Z reports the most important attributes in a good manager are that they are communicative, supportive, and appreciative of their contributions at work. Gen Z also seeks colleagues who are communicative, friendly, and appreciative of their work.

Given the importance placed on strong communication skills and showing appreciation in the workplace, this is a great opportunity for people teams and leadership to create a company culture that offers ongoing trainings for all employees on improving and refining their communication skills, as well as making gratitude and appreciation the cornerstone of corporate culture.

Receiving gifts from employers makes a lasting impression and impact on employee loyalty, retention, and engagement

When asked how Gen Z wished to be recognized for their contributions at work, receiving a gift was ranked as their top choice, with 1 in 3 respondents (37%) reporting gifts as their #1 choice for receiving employee recognition, and 2 in 3 respondents (61%) ranking gifts as either #1 or #2.

Gen Z reports that gifting in the workplace makes a difference in their morale, engagement, and loyalty, with nearly 9 out of 10 respondents (85%) reporting “I feel like my contributions at work are recognized when I receive a gift” and 7 out of 10 respondents (69%) reporting “I feel like my opinion and point of view are valued when I receive a gift”.

Beyond feeling recognized and valued, Gen Zers with professional work experience who have received a gift from their company also report intending to stay with their employer 15% longer, on average, than those who have never received a gift from an employer.

Given the high financial cost, as well as the lasting negative emotional impact of employee turnover, including lost productivity and lowered morale across the company, creating a culture of gratitude and sharing gifts with employees at key moments in their career such as onboarding, work anniversaries, birthdays, and personal milestones such as engagements, weddings, completing a new degree, and more, all have the potential to reduce turnover and improve employee satisfaction and engagement.

For more information, and to start sharing delightful gifting experiences that deliver gratitude and joy, visit now for your employee and client gifting solutions.

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