In just one year, Generation Z will account for a quarter of the workforce. Check out the latest blog post from our summer interns, Kylie Mihok and Holly Lippman. As members of Gen Z, they share their insights on what their generation is expecting from their future employers.

How many times a week or even a day do you hear something about Millennials? Companies are constantly targeting this demographic, however, while everyone is buzzing over this age group, Generation Z is silently growing to huge proportions.  Consulting firm BridgeWorks estimates that Gen Z accounts for 61 million people in the U.S., a number that’s already larger than Generation X and two-thirds the size of the baby boomers. The oldest members of Gen Z are entering the workforce, making up 20% of the workforce by 2020 and 75% by 2030. Our names are Kylie and Holly, we are summer interns at Lucky Forks and we are a part of that 20% that is joining the workforce next year. We are excited to be involved at a company that is devoted to making a difference in the evolving workforce. Gaining experience in this industry is showing us what we and many people of our generation are expecting from future employers. The harsh reality is that only 18% of employers are ready for us.

Our generation expects social impact to be a top priority within a corporation. Social impact is defined as being the steps that a business takes in order to better the environmental, social, and economic factors within their workforce. The positive practices that a company undergoes creates a higher quality workplace for employees to excel in. Corporations can participate in these responsibilities by developing ecological efforts, knowing the value of donating services to non-profit organizations, forming a strong social environment, and finding volunteer events that are fitting to the employees. Nine out of ten Gen Z members expect their employer to address these social and environmental issues. These issues have become so valued in the workforce that many Gen Z members use it as a make it or break it factor when interviewing with their future companies.

Kylie’s Expectations:

As I look forward to entering the workforce, one of the most important factors I am looking for within a company, is the alignment of employee values and actions. Up until recently, executives would choose a non-profit organization or a volunteer event that pertained to them, without consulting with the rest of the company. This disconnect caused some employees to not attend these events. As a member of Generation Z, I believe we are looking for companies who have an entire department or a group of employees devoted to social responsibility. This group would understand the values and important interests of their employees. When the company decides that those issues are important to them, they would be able to create an extremely beneficial social responsibility plan. With this plan in place, the company would be able to make the issues of their employees their social responsibility. Doing so would create a sense of pride for the employees making the environment and culture of the company greater than just profit. These are characteristics I intend to focus on when I look for a position after college graduation.

Holly’s Expectations:

When I am interested in a company, like most people, I do basic research on the company. I go on Glassdoor and do a standard search to see the starting salaries, read the reviews on the company culture and see the pros and cons of the company. However, I don’t just stop there, the very next step I take (and the step I consider the most important) is pull up the company’s annual corporate social responsibility plan. I read through it and ask myself, “do my values align with this particular company’s values?”. If a company’s values do not align with my values or if a company does not even have a corporate social responsibility report published on their website, I re-consider sending my resume in. I’m looking for more than flashy perks, yes free food, ping-pong tables and pet friendly offices sound great, but I am looking for something way deeper.

Throughout the research I’ve done on potential employers, my favorite CSR initiatives have come from Marriott. Marriott does an incredible job picking values and causes that are fitting for not only their company but also employees. Marriott’s CSR campaign is called “Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction” and their initiative themes all come from the letters on a compass: Nurture, Empower, Sustain and Welcome. Not only is the plan creative and fitting for a company in the hospitality and travel industry, but it’s impactful. Marriott ensures effectiveness by aligning each value with a measurable UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Marriott is ahead of the curve, it is so important for more companies to be focusing on these matters. However, the reality is, 77% of companies know that social responsibility is important, but 56% of companies are not invested in or focused on developing initiatives. Companies need to get ready for this shift, my generation is beginning to take over the workforce and we expect our employers to address social and environmental issues.

Conclusion So, how can you make sure your company is ready for this shift?

  1. Don’t focus only on showing off the flashy perks of your office but start promoting your company’s values and what you do to make the world a better place.
  2. Find a non-profit to collaborate with that aligns with your company’s mission and values where your impact can really be felt.