The Ultimate Guide to a Happier Millennial and Gen Z Workforce

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In an ever-changing world, Millennials and Generation Z are slowly becoming the vast majority in the workplace. This new shift by a technology-favoring workforce allows us to take on a new, fresh perspective on what these employees expect at their place of business.

Generation Y and Z are bestowed with the name of the “job-hopping” generation. This younger workforce seems to look for a suitable job environment, that checks all of the boxes.

As someone that is a part of the tail end of the Millennial generation, here’s a little insider insight into what makes a younger worker stay at your company and how to keep them happy!


2020 taught us a few things. One being most important is taking care of your well-being. And if your employee is spending 40-plus hours a week working for you, your company does have some responsibility. We all know job stress and health conditions go hand and hand. It’s up to the company to provide an organizational change to make employee well-being a priority.

According to a recent study, less than 50% of U.S. workers strongly believe their organization cares about their well-being. Source: Gallup

So, what can employers do to improve the well-being of the Millennial and Generation Z workforce?

  • Focus on strengths– Every employee has a set of talents and strengths, use them to your advantage! Everyone feels more confident and comfortable doing something they know how to do and like doing. During the interview and onboarding process, ask simple questions like, “What are you passionate about?” or “What part of the job description appealed the most to you?” These questions will stir up a positive conversation focusing on the strengths behind each talented individual that walks through the door. With your current staff, have a reoccurring conversation about what they enjoy doing and what they would like to do. Communication plays a big part in an employee’s well-being. Another factor to add to the conversation is positive feedback, how you would like the employee to improve and work towards a goal. Encouragement and coaching are received well by the two generations. Focusing on the point of being a mentor instead of a direct line of authority, that way, employees will look to management for brainstorming and self-improvement.

  • Accommodate each employee’s needs- We all have personal problems on occasion and while life must go on and we must still get the job done, there are ways to still help lighten the stress load for your employee. If someone is going through a rough time in life, the last thing they want to think about is their manager asking, “So, where’s this report?” “Can you get this done as soon as possible?” When you have one-on-one meetings or conversations with your employees, ask how they are doing. If an employee is struggling with medical issues, family problems, mental health, or pressure from the job, offer alternatives to offload the stress. Things to consider are PTO, setting back a few deadlines, etc. Let the employee focus on their needs first, and then they will return to work refreshed and ready to take on the next task.

  • Medical plans and other benefits- Now, the entire well-being of your employee can not be justified with a decent medical plan, but it is something to include. Medical plan expenses are on the rise. According to USA Today, inflation is expected to boost annual U.S. national health expenses by $370 billion by 2027, compared with pre-pandemic projections. Investing in a good medical plan keeps your employees happy, healthy, and finically in a good place when medical issues arise. Other benefits such as an in-office quiet or calming room are great for employees to take a few minutes to relax. I’ve seen calming rooms that have bean bag chairs, essential oil diffusers, calm music, and the lights dimmed for a relaxing place to decompress.

Financial Compensation

Inflation is at an all-time high. Millennials and Generation Z are taking employee compensation as a determining factor when applying for jobs and when considering a career change. With these two generations filling a large portion of entry and mid-level positions, we’re looking at lower financial compensation packages.

Some companies are taking inflation into consideration during yearly compensation discussions. “Nearly two-thirds of U.S. employers said they increased their compensation budgets this year due to inflation, according to a recent report from Gallagher that surveyed some 800 companies.” Source: CNBC

Inflation has increased not only housing payments but also the cost of utilities, groceries, and other basic living expenses.

Besides young Americans dealing with high housing costs, rising medical expenses, and so on, they also cannot save for retirement. Why, might you ask? Millennials carry an average of $34,770 in student loan debt, while almost 3 in 4 Gen-Zers will have student loans to pay off, some owing up to $50,000. Source: Forbes

These younger generations are looking into businesses that offer student loan repayment assistance. Others, look for business programs that offer a tax-free student loan contribution that leads to a 401(k) program.

Millennials and Gen Z aren’t turning away from 401(k) plans, especially ones that match. A shocking finding in a study by the IRI (Insured Retirement Institute) revealed that half of the Millennials expect to financially help their parents during their parents’ retirement years. Source: Forbes So a good retirement program might be the golden ticket to a qualified candidate.

Creating a Hybrid Working Environment

Now it’s no new notation that young Americans prefer a work-from-home model. But is that true across the board? Not necessarily. Turns out these two generations are opting for a more hybrid schedule. Forced attendance in the office five days a week is drawing, (even Gen X), workers away from their jobs. The pandemic showed employers and employees alike that many jobs can be done at home, and Gen Y and Z are hunting for those jobs with work-from-home flexibility.

Source: The Washington Post

Many benefits come with a remote or hybrid schedule, including reduced commute, fewer transportation costs, flexible childcare, and more. Millennials are also opting for flexible hours, allowing them to choose when to start work, complete their hours, and finish the day. If they need to take off a half day for an appointment, they have the freedom to do so if they make up the hours.

Companies that open the door for conversation about flexible work schedules help employees achieve a better work-life balance.

Millennials and Generation Z are looking for three key essentials in a job: the company prioritizing employee wellbeing, good financial compensation, and a flexible work schedule. While I didn’t mention everything that these two generations need from a company, the three essentials listed will help your business get a head start! As the 20 and 30-year-olds start becoming the majority in our offices, we need to take a closer look into the needs of employees, even when they may differ from our own. To take a little closer look at some of the differences between these two generations, I suggest you check out our Generation Z vs. Millennials blog.

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(Content Marketing Coordinator)

Ashley is the Content Marketing Coordinator at SAGE. She has a true passion for writing and blogging. In her free time, you can find her dancing ballet, cooking up one of her favorite recipes, or spending time with her husband Joe and puppy, named Pickles.

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