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Inviting the Future: How to Recruit and Retain the Next Generation of Employees

Hello! My name is Lexia Pilutik and I’m very excited to be interning with ALTA Consulting this summer. After finishing my first year at the University of Montana, studying theatre design technology, I am passionate and focused on better understanding and improving communication. Seeing the workplace through my eyes is valuable to share as my fellow students and I are the future of your workforce.

Being a member of Gen Z, I understand that our perspective on the workforce differs from that of previous generations. We highly value work-life balance and mental health while generations that came before us often prioritized job security and stability. As the workforce continues to evolve, construction leaders must adapt their management style to meet the needs of their employees.

Work-Life Balance

We value work-life balance. Period. This could be time spent with friends and family, traveling, and pursuing hobbies (who doesn’t enjoy this, right?). For every employee, work-life balance is crucial for maintaining a healthy and fulfilling life, but Gen Z has the courage to stand up and demand it. And if we don’t get it, we will look elsewhere. Deloitte says that 32% of employees blame their poor work-life balance for contributing significantly to their stress and anxiety.

A healthy balance between work and personal life can increase productivity and happiness in both areas.

Mental Health

Gen Z holds their mental health with great care and importance. I can attest to the importance of prioritizing mental wellness. I have “pushed through” difficult days that turned into weeks of poor performance all across the board. And taken tough days off of work and school to take care of myself, then bounced back after a few days. In the workplace, prioritizing mental health means creating a culture of support and understanding.

Ultimately, investing in the mental health of employees not only benefits the individual, but also leads to a more productive and positive work environment.

So how can you create the ideal work environment for Gen Z employees?

Creating the ideal work environment for Gen Z employees is not as complicated as you may think. Here are several actions to consider:

To prioritize work-life balance, leaders can:

  • Encourage employees to take breaks during the day.

  • Lead by example and take time for yourself as well.

  • Create a flexible work environment that allows employees to work from home when needed (learn how to do this in construction).

  • Make sure employees have a clear understanding of their workload and expectations.

To actively prioritize mental health services:

  • Provide education on mental well-being (click here to learn more about how to select the right training for you)

  • Develop a culture of wellness, without stigma (here's how)

  • Display valuable resources around the office, including mental health services in employee benefits (click here for a list of resources from the Construction Suicide Prevention Partnership)

  • Allow time off for mental health challenges just as you would for an employee who is injured or on parental leave.

For Gen Z, actions speak louder than words - we expect our employers to foster a culture where we can balance who we are as people with what we do for work. We also need our supervisors, and the organizations we work for to understand that our mental health is a part of our total health.

If these two things are missing, we will look elsewhere.


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