The youth of today are your workforce of tomorrow. Attracting, engaging, and retaining this workforce will require an understanding of what it is that they value in terms of their working life, and how you can stimulate a positive sentiment about their work environment.

Businesses put a lot of focus on catering for Generation Z, the ‘digital natives’ born at the turn of the century who are entering the workforce in greater numbers. The eldest of this generation are approaching age 25, with many having graduated from college or university, getting married, and starting families.

Yet, just as businesses get to grips with the needs of Gen Z, researchers are starting to talk about Generation Alpha. Born between 2010 and 2025, Generation Alpha are not only digitally-savvy – they’re immersed in technology. And although they’re still young, they will eventually become the largest and wealthiest generation in history, the most educated, and they will be highly social and mobile. They’ll also have shorter attention spans, get bored quickly, and live with their parents for longer than generations that preceded them.

A future-fit employee value proposition (EVP) should create a remarkably human-centric experience that understands what matters most to the current and next generation of employees.

The youth of today expect more than money from their employers. In fact, they’ve been dubbed the generation that values purpose over profit. So, what do they want? 

  • An organisation that cares about their wellbeing: That includes mental, physical, career, financial, social, and community wellbeing, and any other areas that could affect their performance. 
  • Ethical leadership: Employees expect organisations to take action against ethical blind spots; to positively impact both people and the planet. 
  • Diversity and inclusivityYounger generations have grown up in a far more diverse world, and they expect their workplace to reflect that.

Understanding young people’s attitudes towards work

There’s plenty of evidence supporting the benefits of hiring youth, yet Floatpays research found that only 38% of young people rate their work environment positively.

For them, a happy workplace:

  • Encourages togetherness (82%),
  • Offers training and development opportunities (79%), and
  • Inspires them to do their best (76%).

The fact that nearly two-thirds of young people rate their working environment as mediocre – at best – highlights a business risk when it comes to attracting, retaining, and engaging young people at work.

That said, the research also revealed a major gap (and therefore opportunity) in how employers can support improving their young employees’ wellbeing - a gap that if closed, can enable employers to attract, retain, and engage young people at work. And that gap is mental health support.

Supporting employee mental wellbeing by reducing financial stress

Mental health is amongst the top 5 concerns for Gen Z, which is no surprise given that one global study found 46% of Gen Zs say they are stressed or anxious all or most of the time. Negative working environments can create and/or worsen mental health problems and when one considers how much of people’s lives are spent working, the workplace becomes a crucial space in which to positively support peoples’  mental health.

Floatpays research found that financial stress in particular is a major driver of poor mental health.  Building financial wellness reduces financial stress. The Floatpays State of Employee Wellbeing Barometer revealed that for young people alleviating financial stress means:

  • Being able to prepare for an emergency (92%)
  • Learning how to better manage their money (89%)
  • Reducing their debt to a level they can cope with (64%) 
  • Having immediate access to their wages when they need it (55%).

Employers would do well to focus employee wellbeing Initiatives that support their young workforce in the above mentioned areas as the overwhelming majority of young respondents stated that having their employer’s support in building their financial wellbeing would:

  • Improve their productivity at work (91%)
  • Positively impact their attitude at work (85%)  
  • Improve their views on management and leadership (85%)

Young people entering the workforce today will drive the future success or failure of the businesses they work for. Employers need to focus on building financial wellbeing as part of a broader focus on mental health if they are to effectively future-proof their employee value proposition and ensure success.