Gen Z knows what they want from employers. And employers want them.

Danielle Ross is a 26-year-old girl who lives in a small town in upstate New York. She describes herself as artistic and creative. She paints in her spare time and has worked as a mermaid for children’s parties, swimming in a tail she made herself.

Ms. Ross, who identifies as LGBTQ, couldn’t imagine working a job that required her to downplay her identity or abilities, so she was thrilled when Legoland New York Resort, a theme park in Goshen, NY, hired her to be his first master builder. Ms. Ross has been given wide latitude to use Lego bricks to create miniature cities throughout the park, tapping into her artistic side and her desire to promote diversity and inclusion.

“I’ve been training people from all races, nationalities, religions and any kind of thing you can imagine, because I want everyone to feel represented,” he said. His miniature figures are blind and plus size. They have prosthetic legs and wear burkas. Recently, he created a Hasidic Jew.

Creative freedom has made Ms. Ross love her job, and that’s the point. Last year, Legoland New York joined a growing number of companies that are working to create an environment that is engaging and challenging for younger employees and one that embraces who they are and where they hope to go. By recruiting workers from Generation Z, born in the late 1990s and early 2000s, employers are seeking to tap into their energy and creativity and offset an acute labor shortage, with some 11 million job openings as of May. , according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Last fall, Legoland began allowing employees like Ross to get piercings, tattoos and dyed hair. A national hotel company has begun experimenting with a four-day work week. Health care company GoodRx allows employees to work not only from home but from anywhere in the country, contracting with an outside company to provide ad hoc offices upon request. Other companies are carefully crafting their employees’ career paths and offering extensive mental health benefits and financial counseling.

The goal is not only to get younger employees through the door, but also to keep them in their jobs, which is no easy task. Surveys show that younger workers are comfortable changing jobs more often than other generations. But with these efforts, many companies have so far avoided the labor shortages that plague their competitors.

“We currently have more than 1,500 employees,” said Jessica Woodson, Legoland’s director of human resources, “and I can safely say that at least half are members of Generation Z.”

At Sage Hospitality Group, which operates more than 100 hotels, restaurants and bars across the country, 20 percent of employees are members of Generation Z.

“We need this workforce,” said Daniel del Olmo, president and chief operating officer of the company’s hotel management division. “We recognize that Gen Z is looking for different things than other generations, and we’re trying to accommodate that.”

After the pandemic began, the company realized that many younger employees wanted a healthy work-life balance. In fact, studies like one recently conducted by the ADP Research Institute show that many employees would quit if an employer demanded a full-time return to the office.

Sage Hospitality is now testing a four-day work week at select properties for positions including cooks, housekeepers and receptionists. These positions have been the most difficult to fill during the pandemic and the company has around 960 open positions.

The four-day workweek has helped, del Olmo said. “Instead of having this negative feeling that I have to go to work because I have to make a living,” he said, “suddenly I want to go to work because I can combine it with my life that I love. ”

Employees at the company’s Denver headquarters can work remotely at least one day a week, and all employees can bring their dogs to work one day a week.

“A team member will watch the dog if an associate has to clean a room or show a guest something,” del Olmo said.

Mason Mills, 26, a marketing manager for one of the company’s hotels in Denver, said the pandemic had changed his generation’s perspective.

“We started to see that while a career is incredibly important, so is living the life that you’ve been given,” he said. “By allowing dogs in the office and having work-from-home hours to meet some of those needs, it shows that the company is evolving.”

According to Roberta Katz, a Stanford anthropologist who studies Generation Z, younger people and older generations view the workplace fundamentally differently.

“American Gen Z, for the most part, has only ever known an Internet-connected world,” Dr. Katz wrote in an email. In part because they grew up using collaborative platforms like Wikipedia and GoFundMe, he said, younger employees began to see work “as something that was no longer a 9-to-5 obligation in the office or in the classroom.”

Andrew Barrett-Weiss, director of workplace experience at GoodRx, which offers prescription discounts, said giving employees that kind of autonomy and flexibility had helped the company close more than one deal. GoodRx offers employees the opportunity to not only be completely remote, but also have a desktop wherever they want to travel in the United States.

GoodRx also provides financial advisors for employees. “A Gen Zer may not have enough money to have an investment account, but they can have this,” Barrett-Weiss said. Fertility benefits and professional guidance are also offered.

“We’re trying to solve big problems in health care,” added Mr. Barrett-Weiss, “so we need the freshest, youngest perspectives we can get.”

Sydney Brodie, 27, an account supervisor at Le CollectiveM, a New York communications agency, was delighted when the company’s owner told her that in July he would provide employees with a house in the Hamptons, where They could interact with each other and with their friends. clientele.

“I was already very loyal to the company,” Brodie said, “but now I think: Why would you look anywhere else?”

He was also given a membership to Soho House, an exclusive private club, partly as a means of networking. “My company sees what I need as a person,” he said. “They are giving me the tools to excel personally and professionally.”

Kencko, a subscription food service focused on fruits and vegetables, focuses on mental health. All employees, as well as members of their household, receive six sessions with a therapist, a not insignificant benefit considering that hourly prices for such services have risen to $400 in some parts of the country.

Other companies are trying to tap into younger workers’ desire to grow their careers. In a LinkedIn survey this year, 40 percent of young workers said they were willing to take a 5 percent pay cut to work in a position that offered career growth opportunities.

That’s why Blank Street Coffee, a chain of 40 coffee shops in the United States and England, makes career growth part of its recruiting promotion, said Issam Freiha, CEO. Employees who want to advance in the company are shown a clear path they can follow.

After Alex Cwiok, a barista on Blank Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, who has a passion for coding, told his manager that he wanted to be behind a computer, “I mentioned it to higher-ups and they finally took me to the headquarters,” she said. “Never in a million years did I think that one day I would be taken out of the field and given a desk and a salary.”

Ms. Cwiok, 27, now handles customer emails and reviews as a Customer Success Associate. She also works on updating the brand’s app.

For baristas who see their work on Blank Street as a side job, the company helps them take the next step. “We use our network of alumni and investors to get people where they want to go,” said Mr. Freiha. “We have a barista on a TV show.”

Blank Street constantly asks its youngest baristas what they want. “We have to keep innovating,” Freiha said. “This generation does not want to work for something that is obsolete.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.