From one generation to the next, individuals entering the workforce have always sought specific benefits when choosing a job or following a career. Depending on political, social, and most importantly economic climate, workers have had very different demands concerning work benefits. With today’s workforce mostly divided between Baby Boomers, Gen Xs, and Millennials, employers have had to offer a wide variety of work benefits to appease and motivate each generation. However, with the entrance of Gen Zs to the workforce, employers must reimagine and readapt typical work benefits to meet Zoomer demands.
Student Loan Repayment Programs
The concept of student debt repayment programs as work benefits emerged when millennials entered the workforce. When initially introduced, these benefits were very appealing to millennials, but most companies failed to provide adequate support. In 2018, 4% of companies offered these types of programs, and while more are following suit, much more money needs to be allocated towards student debt repayment.
With an estimated 73% of American Zoomers expected to graduate with student debt and a third of Canadian Zoomers with current student debt, regularizing company debt repayment benefits will alleviate significant Zoomer worries. Moreover, 39% of Zoomers express student debt benefits as being very or extremely important in their decision making. With these figures in mind, companies will have to readjust or reallocate benefit funds to not only attract but help their young workers lift a heavy financial weight.
Traditional Perks and Mental Health
Similar to Millennials, Zoomers value benefits with the utmost importance as 60% of them are willing to take a 10% pay cut for better benefits. However, their demands don’t often reflect employer expectations. Zoomers aren't seduced by the more mundane perks like an office gym or ping pong tables but would much rather have traditional perks like retirement plans, insurance offerings, and complete medical coverage.
Part of these demands is a product of their upbringing during the 2008 recession. Witnessing their parents and loved ones endure the financial crash has shaped Zoomers into pragmatic and risk-averse individuals valuing security as a top priority.
Regarding medical insurance, Zoomers are expecting far more mental health coverage. Despite being as tech-savvy and socially connected as they are, Zoomers face an important mental health crisis. Providing medical plans that offer extensive mental health services will play an essential role in attracting Zoomers to your workforce and lead to higher retention rates.
Flexibility and Mentorship
When looking for a job, Zoomers want an environment and an employer that can provide flexibility and independence. This young generation remains hardworking and understands how competitive the job market can be. They meet deadlines and ultimately get the work done while also striving for a healthy work/life balance. By offering flexible hours and flexible office spaces, Zoomers resort to their entrepreneurial nature and don't feel micromanaged, allowing them to do their best work. Providing the technology that allows them to work from home and still collaborate effectively is a huge selling point to this generation. Adapting work hours and ultimately giving Zoomers the independence they seek will also drastically improve retention rates.
Coupled with flexible schedules, Zoomers tend to be very responsive to mentorship. Perhaps above all, this generation places growth and development. By building a mentorship program that helps Zommers identify certain goals and objectives, they will be more motivated to join a company as they envision realistic and achievable career milestones. The help of a mentorship program that puts Zoomers in contact with senior members of their department allows them to feel appreciated, recognized, and incentivized. Growing up with all the information they have access to, Zoomers often feel overwhelmed and unsure of the best course of action. Having someone guide them and who has gone through the same process enables them to focalize a clear career path.