Attracting and retaining talent starts with understanding what employees want.
For Gen Z, which will make up over 30% of the workforce by 2030, priorities are vastly different than generations before them. This generation – thrust into the workforce at the height of the pandemic – has put the focus on mental health and wellness. In fact, 66% of Gen Z workers want a company culture built on mental health and wellness.
To attract and retain Gen Z talent, revamp your wellness program to meet their needs.
A focus on wellness
It’s no secret that Gen Z is more open about their mental health than other generations. Although this was undoubtedly spurred by the pandemic, that’s not the whole story.
“Gen Z grew up in a world that taught them we can only do and be at our best when our lives are in balance,” says Darlene Marshall, an NASM Certified Wellness Coach. “The pandemic, the climate crisis and political unrest are creating a social focus on what really matters for each of us.”
To attract and retain Gen Z, good pay and traditional benefits are no longer cutting it. Your organization needs to be aligned with their social values and lead with integrity.
“As a generation, they’ve observed many instances of social values being undermined by leaders and therefore have low tolerance of it,” says Marshall.
In fact, 42% of Gen Zers would choose to work at a company whose values they align with over one that offers a higher paycheck, according to Lever.
And just having wellness programs isn’t enough – they need to be cutting-edge and helpful at mitigating burnout and improving work-life balance.
“This doesn’t only mean promoting self-care, but addressing the psychological safety and social aspects of the workplace experience,” says Marshall. “That means not only putting the onus on the worker to take care of themselves but leadership and management taking ownership of a burnout-resilient culture they’re creating.”
Wellness initiatives to attract and retain Gen Z
Once you’ve attracted Gen Z with a focus on wellness and mental health, it’s important to “walk the walk” after you’ve hired them. This may mean adding wellness perks, such as mental health days, benefits for mental health support or wellness initiatives to implement across the organization.
Here are three ideas from Marshall to help retain Gen Z with unique wellness initiatives.
Use corporate partnerships. HR pros are experts in a lot of things, but many aren’t wellness experts – and that’s OK. “Corporate wellness partnerships have made creating meaningful wellness programs possible. These partner companies handle the sourcing and scheduling of wellness experts while the HR professional shares what they think their workforce will most benefit from,” says Marshall.
Go digital. With so many different work locations – from in-office to hybrid to remote – using digital wellness resources can help improve accessibility for all employees during work hours and beyond. According to Marshall, “That gives your workforce the freedom to engage when they need to, not only when there’s Wellness Wednesday programming; and the HR professional has the peace of mind that can’t come from just sending a YouTube link in the company newsletter.”
Expand initiatives beyond nutrition. Nutrition and movement are the traditional focuses of wellness programs, but well-being goes far beyond that. “An effective wellness program isn’t only a walking group for lunch – it can also involve things like group wellness coaching, one-on-one offerings, meditation, mindfulness and other more holistic lifestyle choices,” says Marshall.