A quick scan over the Deloitte 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey and the message is loud and clear: Leaders have some pretty pressing concerns to contend with from their talent in these populations. What is less obvious (but nonetheless true) is that human development is critical to addressing these concerns and stop them walking out the door… let us explain.
There are 4 key areas that Gen Zs and millennials have raised:
1. Struggling with the cost of living and financial concerns
With many living paycheck to paycheck, this is a hard one to ignore and an even harder one to solve – many organisations simply don’t have the ability to hand out widespread pay rises. With an increasing hope of bringing people back into the workplace more regularly and making the most of office spaces, don’t overlook the fact that hybrid working brings financial benefits for your people.
The survey shows that saving money on expenses like commuting, new clothes, dry cleaning suits etc is one of the top reasons that many Gen Zs and millennials prefer hybrid or remote working. Plus, some are taking advantage of remote work to move to less expensive cities.
Making hybrid working, work
What we’ve learned from working with graduates on our leadership programmes is that Gen Zs in particular have not had the opportunities to develop their relationship skills after a largely remote university experience. As Emmi Anderson, a recent Birmingham University graduate, says:
“I realised that after 3 years of being isolated at university, I had formed the habit of keeping myself isolated, not bothering people with emails or questions, and instead thinking I just needed to figure out the answers myself.”
Organisations face the challenge of building a sense of community, belonging and culture with a hybrid workplace – and increasing the speed to competency of new Gen Z hires – but with the skill of Intentional Relationships, this can be overcome. When you teach people how to develop meaningful relationships, they are able to build deep connections with others virtually and face-to-face, so that they not only feel a sense of belonging but feel comfortable to approach people and reach out for help.
And the benefits don’t just end there; with this skill, leaders know how to approach challenging conversations with empathy and compassion, getting the best out of their teams without friction. They are inspiring, with the ability to influence others, get buy-in from other teams and build trust and credibility within your organisation.
So if you’re giving your people the option of hybrid working, embedding the skill of Intentional Relationships is a critical way to ensure they feel connected to your organisation.
2. The Great Resignation signals a breaking point, and an opportunity to reasses how we work
According the report, roughly a third of Gen Zs and millennials would leave their job without another lined up. However, those who feel that their organisation makes a positive societal and environmental impact – and is making efforts to create a diverse and inclusive culture – are more likely to want to stay with their employer for more than 5 years.
It’s difficult for a company’s values to resonate perfectly with each and every employee, but you can get a lot closer if your people know what their own personal values are. At Ivy House, we talk about ‘living from your core strength’. It means having a clear vision, living in your element, being purpose-driven and values-led. What we see from teaching the skill of Core Strength on our programmes supports the findings in the survey – people feel a deeper connection to their organisation when they know their own vision and values, and are more likely to see themselves building a future within their organisation.
Don’t let your organisational values be set in stone – listen to your people and where there are frictions with their personal values; it could help you align them more closely with what’s important to your workforce.
3. Prioritising sustainable choices and environmental action by employers
Climate change and environmental issues are guiding Gen Zs and millennials in all elements of their lives, including where they choose to work. They want to see their employers prioritising visible climate actions that enable employees to get involved.
Every business is looking at how they can make environmentally-conscious decisions. While human leadership won’t make a direct impact on climate change, it can go a long way to how your people feel about the actions you are taking as an organisation.
Environments where people can thrive
Human leaders create environments where everyone feels they belong, individual beliefs and perspectives are encouraged and celebrated, innovation thrives and people are empowered to bring their best selves to work. This is at the core of everything; it is what paves the road to individual and organisational success.
Are your leaders giving people the space to have their voices heard? Are they listening to the opinions of others and taking action to turn them into meaningful changes? Human leaders have clarity and vision, and can communicate these effectively to their teams. A little bit of compassion and genuine interest in the concerns people have about environmental and inclusivity issues can make a big difference.
4. Workplace mental health continues to be an issue
Most people have been affected but stress and anxiety over the last couple of years. Burnout, in particular, is very high among both Gen Zs and millennials and is causing retention issues. More than half of those surveyed agreed that wellbeing has become more of a focus in their organisations, but whether these schemes work is unclear given the mixed reviews on their actual impact.
822,000 UK workers suffered from work-related stress, depression and anxiety in 2020/21. Employee wellbeing has taken a significant hit, with 74% of staff considering they had ‘good levels of wellbeing’ in 2020, to a mere 30% in June 2022*. So why aren’t wellbeing programmes making a dent?
Genuine culture of wellbeing?
Only 4% of talent believe there is a genuine culture of wellbeing within their organisation. This quote from a respondent in our annual survey sums up the sentiment:
“They say one thing and do another. ‘Look after your wellbeing’ and ‘by the way can you cram every minute of every day with Zoom calls’? They’ve missed so many opportunities to show they care. Virtual get-togethers either didn’t happen, were cut short or leaders didn’t show up”.
A pretty stark review. So no, a couple of webinars and a mindfulness session isn’t going to cut it. The truth is, people aren’t going to prioritise their wellbeing if they don’t see it as a priority to their organisation. If people at all levels of your organisation developed the skill of Proactive Wellbeing, the story would be quite different.
This is about learning how to live and lead in a way that enables you and others to stay mentally, physically and spiritually well. When wellbeing is truly a part of your culture, you’ll have role models who proactively look after their wellbeing and that of their team, no matter the challenges and changes they or your organisation face. Your leaders will be resilient, knowing their limits and communicating these to others, avoiding burn out and days lost to stress and anxiety.
Ultimately, with the skill of Proactive Wellbeing mastered, you’ll have an adaptable workforce with the insight and self-leadership skills to deal with change, navigate uncertainty, and bounce back stronger.
All the skills we’ve talked about are part of the Ivy House 7, and are at the core of everything we teach. They underpin effective individuals and teams, accelerate performance and provide the critical backbone that sits at the heart of a successful organisations – and successful organisations retain their talent.
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* Cushman & Wakefield ‘Drivers of Wellbeing report June 2022