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27 Mar 2024
by Liz Walker

How to engage Gen Z and unlock workplace productivity

There’s a new wave of talent coming into the workforce with different needs to their predecessors

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As a new wave of talent is quickly leaving its mark as it enters the workplace. 

Generation Z (born in the late 1990s to early 2010s) is bringing a fresh and unique perspective on careers and a new definition of success, which is having a transformational effect on workplaces. 

Heavily influenced by global events such as the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis, this values-driven generation expects more from the workplace. By 2025 they will account for 27% of the workforce

Employers must therefore take the time to understand how this generation differs from those before and how they can best meet the needs of Gen Z to attract and retain top talent from this young new talent pool.

A recent report from WPI Economics commissioned by Unum UK demonstrates a clear link between health and happiness and driving productivity. 

The results, based on a survey of more than 4,000 employees, reveal that 80% of workers are more productive when they are healthy and happy. Meanwhile, the average unhappy, unhealthy worker loses nine hours of productive time per week — more than a typical day’s work. 

Employers need to support this new workplace population so they reap the rewards of their full engagement.

Flex appeal 

Flexibility is a crucial factor in the pursuit of maximising employee wellbeing. Our research highlights that Gen Z workers are most likely to say their jobs affects their wellbeing outside of work (65%) — this is true for just 36% of those aged 55-69.

Hybrid working offers a solution. By combining the benefits of remote work with the social interactions of onsite working, Gen Z employees get the best of both worlds. This has the potential to mitigate the impact of their job on overall wellbeing by fostering a more positive work-life balance.

Openly embrace mental health

Gen Z employees place significant importance on mental health and value supportive workplace cultures. With almost one in four Gen Z survey respondents rating their mental wellbeing as poor, employers that address mental health concerns will retain top Gen Z talent as well as creating a healthier, more engaged workforce. 

Many employee benefits packages incorporate mental health services including counselling and online resources. 

Productivity welcomes wellbeing 

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of Gen Z workers surveyed said their general wellbeing affects their work. Furthermore, 20% identified that their wellbeing was damaging their productivity at work — something true for only 8% of those aged 55-69 (a cohort mainly made up of baby boomers).

Investing time in understanding Gen Z’s needs might involve creating bespoke wellness programmes that encompass all areas of physical, mental and financial wellbeing. 

To do this, gathering data and insights through simple surveys is a good starting point in understanding all employees’ needs, from the youngest to the oldest. 

This helps you spot particular concerns and introduce initiatives to address them. 

Bespoke wellness programmes will help Gen Z employees embed healthy habits, essential for unlocking their full potential and safeguarding your business productivity levels.   

If your business does not offer benefits, and you’re not sure where to start, it’s worth noting that many group risk policies offer access to added-value services at no additional cost to employers. 

This means you can spread the benefits of services such as employee assistance programmes, mental health support, lifestyle coaching and nutritional support to your staff.

Engage your workforce 

Our findings revealed that Gen Z places the most value on supportive employee benefits, with 84% of the youngest workers stating they’d pay up to £100 weekly from their own pockets for benefits including remote GPs and mental health support versus 63% of workers aged 55-69.


To engage and retain Gen Z workers, employers must continuously demonstrate their commitment to meeting Gen Z’s diverse needs. For this generation, actions speak louder than words. Employers that do achieve this goal will reap the productivity benefits that a happier and healthier workplace brings. 

Read the full Health, Happiness and Productivity report.

In partnership with Unum

Putting people at the heart of employee benefits

Contact us today