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Relieving burnouts in Gen Z workforce

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Employers must recognize the needs of Gen Z in the workplace (Vitaly Gariev - Unsplash)

By Ts Elman Mustafa El Bakri

Gen Z workers, born between the late 1990s and early 2010s, have been shown to exhibit a strong tendency to change jobs and careers more frequently than previous generations. A recent Forbes survey published in March 2024 found that 90 percent of Gen Z workers are considering job changes, the highest percentage among all age groups.

Ts Elman Mustafa El Bakri

Another survey by Business Insider in November 2023 revealed that Gen Z workers expect to change careers approximately three times during their professional lives. Nearly two-thirds of them intend to leave their current employers within the next two years.

A study published in the International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences in 2023 focused on job-hopping intentions among Malaysian university students. The authors noted that the job-hopping trend among Gen Z is driven by factors such as a desire for career adaptability, rapid technological advancements, and a focus on work-life balance. Additionally, Gen Z workers reported being more willing to accept lower salaries or demotions to pursue their desired career paths.

However, it is important to remember that frequent job changes can also increase the risk of burnout among Gen Z individuals.

Constantly changing jobs means adapting to new environments, workflows, and colleagues. This ongoing adjustment process can be mentally and emotionally taxing, leading to increased stress and potential burnout.

Job hopping often involves a degree of uncertainty regarding job security, benefits, and future career prospects. This uncertainty can contribute to feelings of anxiety and instability, which can ultimately lead to burnout if not managed effectively.

If Gen Z individuals find themselves in jobs that don’t align with their values, interests, or long-term goals, they may experience a lack of fulfilment or purpose. This can gradually erode their motivation and enthusiasm, increasing the likelihood of burnout over time.

While job hopping can provide opportunities for new experiences and skill development, it may also prevent individuals from fully mastering their roles or building deep expertise in a particular field. This lack of mastery can lead to feelings of frustration and inadequacy, contributing to burnout.

Supporting Gen Z individuals in manoeuvring their career paths and reducing the risk of burnout involves a combination of individual strategies and organizational support.

Providing regular feedback and recognition for their contributions can help Gen Z individuals feel valued and motivated in their roles. Consistently recognizing their achievements, acknowledging their efforts, and providing constructive feedback can bring about a sense of belonging and engagement.

Offering opportunities for ongoing skills development and training can help Gen Z individuals build confidence, stay engaged, and remain competitive in the job market too. This could include workshops, online courses, or certifications that expose them to different aspects of the business.

Providing flexibility in work arrangements, such as remote work options, or flexible hours, can help Gen Z individuals better manage their work-life balance and reduce stress. This flexibility allows them to tailor their work schedules to their personal commitments and needs.

Promoting a culture of well-being and prioritizing mental health in the workplace can help reduce the risk of burnout among Gen Z individuals. This could involve offering resources such as mindfulness training, or stress management workshops, as well as encouraging open communication and destigmatizing discussions about mental health.

Encouraging Gen Z individuals to explore different roles, projects, and career paths within the organization can help them find fulfilment and purpose in their work as well. This could involve cross-functional projects, job shadowing opportunities, or internal mobility programs that allow them to explore new interests and develop diverse skills.

Providing access to career counselling and mentorship programs can help Gen Z individuals clarify their career goals, identify their strengths and interests, and make informed decisions about their professional development. Mentors can offer guidance, support, and perspective based on their own experiences.

In conclusion, while Gen Z workers bring valuable dynamism and adaptability to the workplace, their tendency to frequently change jobs can lead to increased risk of burnout. By recognizing their contributions, offering skills development opportunities, providing flexible work arrangements, promoting well-being, encouraging exploration within the organization, and facilitating career counselling and mentorship, we can help mitigate these risks and support their career growth.

Employers must take proactive steps to create an environment that nurtures the unique needs of Gen Z, fostering a culture that prioritizes both professional development and personal well-being. Let us commit to implementing these strategies and take decisive action to ensure a healthier, more productive future for the next generation of workers.

The author is CEO and Founder of HESA Healthcare Recruitment Agency, and the Industrial Advisory Panel for the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Universiti Malaya. He may be reached at elman.asia@gmail.com

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