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ATD Blog

Is Your Organization Equipped to Support the Next Generation’s Workforce?


Millennials surpassed Generation X (Gen X) as the single largest generation in the US labor force in 2016. And while Gen X is still a major part of the current workforce, many will soon retire as Generation Z (Gen Z) continues rapidly entering the workforce. Soon millennial and Gen Z workers will make up more than half of the labor force. As HR professionals continue finding ways to attract new talent and retain their teams, they need to consider this changing demographic in their engagement strategies.

So what do millennials and Gen Zers value in the workplace? Their preferences may not differ drastically from their predecessors, but their priorities may.

A 2022 Deloitte survey of more than 23,000 millennial and Gen Z respondents across 46 countries showed mental health and well-being among their highest priorities. When asked which aspect of their lives they prioritize most, mental health was first for Gen Z (28 percent), while millennials ranked it first, tied with physical health (22 percent). The same survey showed that 46 percent of Gen Z respondents and 45 percent of millennials said they felt burned out due to the intensity and demands of their work environments—often contributing to high levels of stress and anxiety.

While organizations have ramped up conversations around mental health and well-being since the pandemic, the same report indicated that Gen Z and millennials have yet to feel a noticeable impact of these efforts at work. Not only do these figures indicate how important it is for organizations to continue implementing mental-health focused initiatives, but the data also shows they need to do more.

Flexible work environments and a diverse and inclusive workplace also rank high on the list of priorities for Gen Z and millennials. A flexible work environment does not necessarily translate to “working from home.” In fact, some research shows that Gen Z is more “pro office” than Gen X and baby boomers. It is more about flexibility, options, and work-life balance. Hybrid work environments and the ability to choose where to work when needed is more important.

Across all generations, there has been an interest in further conversation and action around creating more inclusive workplaces. In particular, Gen Z and millennials place importance on more action to support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and to provide resources to educate and engage in conversation. A 2022 survey conducted by EY indicated that 76 percent of millennials said they would leave an employer if DEI initiatives weren’t offered. Like mental health and well-being, DEI has been a popular topic in corporate culture recently, but again employees don’t feel like enough has been done to address it.


How can organizations accommodate these important needs in the flexible work environments that these generations want?

Luckily, Gen Z and millennials are the digital natives of the workforce. They either grew up as the internet, smart phones, and social media were emerging, or they never knew a world without them. They are experts in digital technologies, and that means the tools and resources organizations implement to support them should be digital too.

Does your organization provide access to resources that help employees manage stress and anxiety? How to avoid burnout? How to handle bias in the workplace? How to pay off student debt? And how to be a more empathetic leader? If they do, are they accessible from anywhere your employees might work?


Gone are the days of outdated, pre-recorded training videos or PDFs buried in the notes from an old wellness workshop. For the future of work, employee engagement resources need to be visible and accessible.

A digital library of resources like e-books and audiobooks on topics your employees are most interested in can be an extremely cost-effective and wide-reaching initiative. OverDrive Professional allows you to custom build a collection of digital books on any subject important to your staff. A digital library can enhance employee engagement initiatives you’re already working on while providing solutions in areas in need of development. Most importantly, it’s available whenever and wherever your employees want it—a crucial component for Gen Z and millennials.

Building impactful benefits and programs to attract and retain talent does not have to be complicated. In fact, it needs to be extremely simple. A digital library supports any generation’s workplace expectations and offers the ability to transform your organization at all levels.

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