The first in a two-part series, we’re looking at how HR can help organizations tailor benefits to meet the new generations’ unique needs.
In this first post, we’re going to take a deep dive into the best employee benefits for Gen Z.
Born between the mid-90s and mid-2000s, Gen Z is the first truly digital generation. Known as digital natives, Gen Z is social media savvy, socially conscious and filled with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Gen Z, in its current state is just entering the workforce, with the first full cohort having left university in 2017. Their youth, connection to the internet, and current place in life means they’re looking for employee benefits that suite their lifestyle and meet their current needs. They want employers who are knowledgeable, understand their points of view, and most importantly, employers who are adaptable.
HR can help organizations develop a flexible culture that aims to work with its multi-generational workforce, creating a great place of work for all employees.
Let’s start with a look at what benefits HR can suggest to best meet Gen Z’s unique needs.
Help with Financial Planning
Human Resources plays a huge role in determining a company’s benefits package. HR is also the department that interacts with all employees at every level. It’s this combo that can help HR lead their company to develop the most ideal benefits package to attract Gen Zers.
For Gen Z, great workplace benefits begin with a focus on financial planning. The average university graduate in Canada left school owing about $26, 000. That was back in 2010. It’s safe to say with the rising cost of housing and higher education that number has increased significantly.
Gen Z is very much concerned with paying off school debt. Providing a benefits package that comprises financial coaching and includes a focus on paying down student debt is one-way HR can ensure their organizations appeal to Gen Zers.
Consider including benefits for Gen Z such as:
- Guidance from a professional on debt consolidation
- Tips for creating and maintaining an emergency savings account
- If possible, the opportunity to pay off student loans through automatic payroll deduction
- Training on financial literacy
Gen Z is renowned for changing jobs, with many saying they plan to work at four to five different companies over the course of their career. However, companies who offer financial benefits, including financial planning and help managing student debt, are more likely to see long-term loyalty from Gen Zers.
Fitness, Health and Mental Health
Generation Z is health conscious. They appreciate a work environment that not only encourages fitness but actively supports it.
And, being that Gen Z is known for its connection to technology, their workout regimens often come from workout apps. In fact, a recent UNiDAYS survey reported that 65% of Gen Zers use workout apps, forgoing expensive gym memberships. The UNiDAYS survey also revealed that Gen Z loves group exercise—so much that they’d be willing to pay for discounted group classes.
What does all of this mean for organizations looking to employ this new generation? A lot.
Companies who want to entice Gen Z to work for them should look to provide benefit packages that include a focus on health and fitness—with the caveat that these benefits need to incorporate technology and affordability.
Maintaining Mental Health
Maintaining mental health is also a top priority for Generation Z. Money and work continue to be the top stressors for most working adults. While both negatively impact Gen Z, personal debt (33%) and housing instability (31%) are also significant stressors they’re dealing with.
Consider offering lifestyle spending accounts—they’re a great way for companies to differentiate themselves from those providing more traditional benefit packages. Lifestyle spending accounts also place an emphasis on employee health.
A lifestyle spending account is a self-insured, private spending plan. It can be used as either standalone coverage or as an incentive for employees. Health conscious Gen Zers can use lifestyle spending accounts to access mental health care, gym memberships and more. Employers only pay for expenses employees claim.
Gen Z is arguably the most socially conscious generation.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is important to Gen Z. They are more likely to engage with organizations who actively work to positively affect society and the environment. These companies also happen to be who they want to work for.
Offering Gen Z volunteer opportunities and a chance to give back to the community while at work is a guaranteed way to appeal to their social responsibility and a benefit they would appreciate, respect and take advantage of.
What truly makes Generation Z stand out is their steadfast belief in individuality. This generation values authenticity, hates labels and believes strongly in being whoever they want to be.
It may seem like a strange suggestion, but cultivating a culture that appreciates and encourages creativity is the best way to meet Gen Z’s love of individuality.
Foster an environment that inspires creative thinking encourages employee engagement, and builds confidence. Companies that embrace new and creative techniques and that demonstrate they’re unafraid of change or moving away from the status quo will greatly appeal to Gen Z.
Cliché as it may sound, Gen Z plays by their own rules. They’re unwilling to stick with something simply because that’s how it’s always been done—this includes fitting into the traditional workplace. Instead, Gen Z expects prospective employers to adapt to their wants and values.
HR can help organizations seamlessly incorporate Generation Z talent into the workplace by modernizing workplace benefits to meet Gen Z's unique needs.