Gen Zers Desire Employee Mental Health Support and Mentorship

BY Austin Richards
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Like no generation that has come before them, today’s youngest employees demand employer support for mental health. Members of Generation Z have lived through rampant school shootings and the COVID-​19 pandemic lockdown. These young team members want to contribute to their employers’ success, and they insist on having access to the employee mental health benefits they need.

Gen Z Wants Employee Mental Health Support and Mentorship

Members of Generation Z are no older than age 25. The social ills they’ve witnessed in the past decade have left their mark. These young adults know what it means to practice active shooter drills.

For some, the leftover stress of these experiences has led to a condition of long-​term stress. This stress can flare up in the workplace. These incidents can be triggered by events that older team members may not notice.

At any point, your younger employees may need to talk with a professional. For example, earlier this year, The Hartford reported that 53% of Gen Z employees feel high stress every week. This situation speaks to the need for employee mental health programs and support.

Training your managers to notice when an employee is having a crisis is an important first step. Beyond that, businesses can ensure that their Gen Z employees will stick with them. This means health insurance coverage for therapy should be part of the basic benefits package.

Job Design and Culture

In addition to making mental health professionals available for team members to access, savvy employers are reviewing job design. The World Health Organization reports that employers can reduce stress by offering a good culture. Each employee has their own definition of what amounts to good culture, a detail that is easily discoverable in psychometric assessments.

However, employers can be proactive about creating a workplace environment with mental health employee benefits that all team members will appreciate. It’s not enough to state that a workplace is free from toxic behavior. Leaders must take action against anyone who treats co-​workers rudely or tries to exclude them because of their gender or age.

Corporate leaders should regularly explain how each position in the company contributes to the stated mission and goals for the year. Rewards such as a catered in-​office meal or a lunch-​and-​learn session show employees that the organization values them.

Designing jobs to include a variety of tasks will help some employees enjoy their daily routines and improve employee mental health in the workplace. Other employees may prefer to work on predictable tasks. With information from psychometric assessments employees have taken, managers will know which tasks are best suited to specific employees.

The Power of Mentoring

Gen Z employees have the unfortunate distinction of being physically isolated during the pandemic when they should have been learning how to interact with others. Members of this digitally savvy group can freeze when asked to give an in-​person presentation. They may not have yet learned how to pick up on nonverbal cues during meetings.

Partnering a younger employee with a manager can yield multiple employee mental health benefits, such as helping them learn appropriate workplace behavior. Forming connections in large organizations helps new employees develop a sense of belonging. If the mentor works in a different department, the mentee can learn more about how the organization works.

Only about half of Gen Z employees currently have a mentor. But they want training on their current job and skills development to advance. Mentorship can provide that. Mentees also become more engaged and loyal as their employer provides resources.

Employee mental health is top of mind for Gen Z team members. Employers who provide mental health benefits, along with meaningful mentorship, can count on developing engaged and loyal workers. Managers who ignore these issues may encounter higher rates of turnover.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.