January 23, 2020
Move over, Millennials.
You had your day in the sun, and now it’s Generation Z’s turn to be lavished with attention.
As the first cohorts of Gen Z graduate from college and enter the workforce, real estate developers, landlords, architects, retailers, restaurateurs and others are trying to read the tea leaves and add more amenities that will help attract and retain 20-somethings in the uber competitive job market.
Anyone born between 1995 and 2015 is part of Generation Z, and the 20-somethings on the leading edge of that generation are beginning to have an outsize influence on commercial real estate.
Nearly 90% of them are worried about our planet, according to a study by Cone Communications. They care deeply about sustainably grown products, recycled materials and the use of earth-friendly and low impact materials such as bamboo or hemp. All things being equal, Gen Z workers would rather go to work in an office in an adaptive re-use project such as a converted warehouse than a newly constructed office tower.
Gen Z is passionate about civil rights and social issues, such as poverty, hunger and food insecurity, and access to social services. Three-fourths of Gen Zers say they’d boycott a company that is doing harm, and more than half would protest to help a cause. Developers, construction companies and general contractors who can show that laborers were paid well and treated fairly on the job may curry more favor with Gen Z tenants.
They want to be fed at work, or have food brought to them. Gen Z grew up in the Postmates and DoorDash era, and they expect to have delicious food readily available for immediate delivery. Expect to see more dedicated short-term parking spots or pickup & dropoff zones for couriers, delivery drivers and rideshare drivers in front of buildings to meet this demand.
They want good health care insurance and other benefits. Many young people are getting married later in life and waiting longer to have children, so they appreciate simplified health care plans with lower premiums. To accomplish that, employers can pursue more biometric screening, wellness counseling and incentive programs that offer discounts on gym memberships or rewards for hitting health milestones such as weight loss or smoking cessation.
If they’re not happy, you’ll hear about it — probably on social media first. Gen Z is quick to express opinions and post photos and videos, good or bad, all over the socialsphere. Savvy landlords should be more responsive to complaints, conduct frequent tenant satisfaction surveys and host more social events in an effort to develop tighter relationships with young tenants.
We can help create a workplace your employees will love, especially the Gen Zers. Our culture surveys and employee interviews always reveal powerful insights that will help elevate the workplace. Give us a shout and let’s get started.