Gen Z is now entering the workplace, bringing a new set of competencies and expectations. Many young employees have spent a lot of time in the last few years studying from home and may not be used to the more formal structure of professional working environments.
Business leaders will need to adapt to a modern way of working to get the most out of their graduate hires. A recent study by McKinsey & Company discovered that 48% of 18-29 year olds expect flexibility from their workplace. They're the generation most interested in a hybrid work set-up, combining remote and in-person work, to get the best from both worlds.
We truly believe that to unlock the potential of this highly skilled and capable new generation, you need to adopt a hybrid-first mindset to work. A hybrid setup means a mix of WFH and in-office days, and combines the flexibility of WFH as well as the social and mentorship opportunities of in-office days.
But what a lot of people may not suspect, is that a well-executed hybrid system may actually be your key to engaging Gen Z employees because of the following five reasons.
1. Increased autonomy
While undergraduate courses vary in teaching hours, all new graduates will have spent the last few years developing skills such as organisation, time management, and independent study.
A hybrid working environment can support graduates to maintain their independence without feeling micromanaged, which is a liberating experience. Hybrid working works well when managers focus on results-based performance, rather than monitoring work habits. It gives employees more autonomy to work in a way that suits them best.
At the end of the day, hybrid working is all about trust. The more you trust your employees to handle autonomy, the more valued and loyal they will feel, leading to greater productivity and quality of work.
2. Structured onboarding
A solid onboarding programme is key to helping graduate hires settle into the business. A good one will help new hires understand their role and responsibilities, see how they fit into the wider structure of the organisation, and learn about the company’s culture and values. A great onboarding experience will also improve the speed at which an employee becomes a contributor to the companies goals!
While some elements of onboarding – such as online health and safety training – can be completed on days working from home, onboarding is more effective (and enjoyable!) in the office. It’s important for your new hires to meet not just their team, but colleagues from different departments, to find out how their role relates to others and help them understand who they should talk to about different projects.
3. Cultural immersion
Happy and productive employees need to feel a sense of belonging to the company. Opportunities for socialising with others are key to help young graduates build new professional relationships and develop ‘soft skills’ such as communication and teamwork. Graduating from university and entering the workplace can be an isolating experience for many young people, so it’s important that they spend time with other people to reduce loneliness and improve their overall wellbeing.
Encourage your graduate hires to get involved in social and cultural opportunities on the days they work from the office. Offering a broad range of activities such as team workshops, social events, charitable volunteering, and employee resource groups will help cater to people from different backgrounds and personality types. This means that a "fixed hybrid" approach may work best, where you designate certain days that everyone has to come in, rather than people can come to the office whenever they like.
4. Training and development
Ongoing training and development is crucial to ensure your graduate hires are kept up-to-date with new processes, learn new skills, and grow as working professionals. Graduates are generally ambitious and keen to learn, so it’s important they have opportunities for growth and development to keep them engaged. Regular training is also essential to help your new hires upskill in their area, or learn new skills to expand their knowledge and expertise.
Hybrid working is a great way to embrace training in different formats. Experiences such as online training and attending webinars are well-suited for days working from home, while in-person networking, conferences and events give young them the opportunity to speak to people from different industries and build professional relationships.
5. Work-life balance
Starting a new role is always a daunting experience – particularly if it’s the first in your career. Recent graduates are usually juggling more than just work stress, like moving to a new city, adjusting to a new living situation, and finding new social groups.
A hybrid working environment will give your graduate hires flexibility as they establish a healthy work-life balance. Working in the office a couple of days a week will help them build essential relationships and establish a connection to your company. Working remotely for the rest of the week will give them space to breathe and adjust to the new experience.
A "fixed hybrid" approach like we mentioned earlier ensures that when employees do make the trip into the office, they have the opportunity to socialise and interact, and most importantly, learn from each other.
Looking for a flexible environment to support your new team?
Space32 can help you find an office that’s perfect for your hybrid working schedule. Our expert team will find a place that suits your business needs, and that your new graduate hires will love! Take a look at our available spaces or get in touch at email@example.com.