New Survey Reveals Gen Z Holds The Key To The Evolution Of Company Culture, With Social Issues, Workforce Engagement, And Treatment Of Others At Work Top Of Mind

70% of Employees Have Experienced Discrimination in the Workplace which has Impacted Their Productivity, Engagement, or Performance
Black Lives Matter, Women’s Rights, and Mental Health Awareness Are the Top Issues Companies Have Supported & Taken Action on in the Past Year
56% of Respondents Think Using a Workplace Engagement Platform Could Help Improve Company Culture, Employee Communications, and Training & Development Efforts

Ten Spot, the workforce engagement platform that keeps your employees connected, today announced the results of a nationwide survey, Company Culture, Behavior, and Social Issues in Today’s Workplace. The findings provide insight into how company culture will evolve as members of Generation Z continue to join the workforce and influence everything from social activism at work to the adoption of workplace engagement platforms. Additionally, the results reveal a pointed look at how today’s workforce defines their company’s culture, their experiences with workplace discrimination, and ways it’s impacted their productivity, and why a company’s involvement and support of sociopolitical issues is important to employees. Some key highlights are:

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  • 36% of respondents describe the company culture at their current jobs as “diverse”, followed by “team-oriented” (34%), and “inclusive” (29%).
  • However, nearly half (47%) of all respondents have not been offered (28%), or have not participated in (19%), diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training at their company.
  • Overall, 76% of respondents reported that the company they work for is a psychologically and emotionally safe place to work for all employees, and 87% of people feel like they have at least one colleague at work who cares about them as a person.

“Through this survey, we’ve learned company culture no longer just means employees view a company as a ‘great place to work.’ Over the past several years we’ve seen workplace culture evolve from perks and competitive salaries, to how companies treat their employees and make decisions on today’s significant social issues,” said Sammy Courtright, co-founder and Chief Brand Officer of Ten Spot. Today, companies need to be a triple threat if they want to attract and retain the most talented, productive, and engaged employees that are now entering the workforce.”

Company Culture + Socio-Political Issues = More Engaged Employees
While politicians have recently criticized companies for “getting involved in politics,” 49% of the survey responses reflected company involvement in, or support of, five key socio-political issues. Additionally, 76% of respondents say they know what their company stands for when it comes to company culture and social issues.

There was a three-way tie for the top that respondents say their companies have supported or taken other action on over the past year – Black Lives Matter (40%), Women’s Rights (40%), and Mental Health Awareness/Programs/Initiatives (40%). The second pressing issue was local food banks (31%), followed by Voting Rights (30%) as third, and LGBTQ Rights (29%) as fourth.

Why does this matter? How a company responds to social, political, and humanitarian issues that are happening has a significant impact on company culture and working for a purpose-driven company plays a central role in determining an employee’s engagement and productivity levels.

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Putting a New Lens on Employee Engagement and Productivity
Overall, 56% of respondents say they would be more engaged and productive at work if their company was actively involved in addressing today’s critical social issues, with Men (62%), Gen Z (61%), and BIPOC (60%) as the top three groups of respondents.

However, employee engagement is a complex issue and what happens inside a company is just as important. When respondents were asked what issues they have experienced in the workplace – either directly or indirectly – that have impacted their productivity, engagement, or performance, overall, 70% of them have experienced some discriminatory issue or abusive behavior in the workplace. It’s not just one issue but several issues that impact many different people. The top results include:

  • Sexism (28%)
  • Racism (23%)
  • Pay Inequality (23%)
  • Bullying (23%)
  • Classism (22%)

Gen Z – The Rising Force Set to Transform the Future Workplace
When it comes to everything happening around them – whether in the workplace or out in the world – Gen Z may quickly become the “eyes wide open” generation. The newest generation joining the workforce is observant, sensitive to both what’s happening in the world around them as well as what’s happening to them at work. Additionally, they are more apt to be motivated and engaged by workplaces, managers, and people who take a stand on today’s important social issues.

  • While the top three ways Gen Z describes their current workplace culture are “diverse” (38%), “happy” (32%), and “engaged” (31%), they are also the most likely generation to describe the culture as “toxic” (18%), “depressing” (17%), and “boring” (16%)
  • While Gen Z has only been in the full-time workforce for a few years, they have already seen higher levels of sexual harassment (24%), LGBTQ discrimination (19%), and bullying (26%) than any other generation.
  • Additionally, 86% of Gen Z have already experienced discriminatory issues or abusive behavior in the workplace, a 14% jump from the 70% overall

Based on Gen Z’s early experiences in the workplace, they are more critical of their company HR departments, but they are also more likely to see ways that company issues could be solved, and communication improved, through technology.

  • Gen Z is nearly twice as likely (11%) to say their Company and its HR department are doing a horrible job at fostering employee engagement and productivity than the average (6%)
  • Additionally, Gen Z is more likely (22%) to feel their company and its HR department are doing a poor or horrible job dealing with discriminatory issues and behavior, and negative company culture than the average (16%)

While critical of their companies and HR departments on these fronts, Gen Z does appear to recognize that there are solutions. Overall 56% of respondents think that using an employee engagement and productivity platform could help their company improve the company’s culture, employee communications, and training and development efforts. However, the number jumps to 63% with Gen Z. Both numbers, however, show a significant jump up from the fact that only 20% of respondents said that their company uses a workforce engagement platform for these purposes, today.

Additionally, Gen Z (62%) was the most enthusiastic generation regarding the positive impact virtual events had on their company culture during the pandemic, followed by every other generation in descending order – Millennial (59%), GenX (57%), Boomers (52%).

“Looking across the workforce today, there is a stark generational difference between the generation that will soon leave the workforce, Boomers, and the generation that has just entered the workforce, Gen Z,” said Courtright. “The difference will undoubtedly have a significant impact on today’s workplace as we know it – from how we use technology, think about company culture, ways we communicate to addressing issues regarding workplace discrimination and dealing with the most pressing social and political issues.”

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