Employee Perspective: A Gen Z New Hire’s Year in Review

December 11, 2020      By Megan Grenier

Ultimate Takeaway
  • For the first time, new employees entered the workforce this year under the context of a global pandemic.
  • Despite the year's challenges, Gen Z professionals have realized a new way of working marked by increase flexibility.
  • How businesses continue to engage Gen Z hires will be critical to retaining their new talent.

How do you measure a year in the office?

In paychecks, in emails, in cups of coffee; in meetings, in phone calls? What does the first year for a Gen Z new hire look like? Well to be honest, that answer isn’t so simple anymore. The first year usually contains a lot of interaction: 

  • Shadowing new teammates in meetings
  • Working hand in hand on assignments 
  • Going out to lunch with the new team 

However, with remote work quickly becoming a standard practice for many organizations, the close interactions and traditional onboarding events we have been accustomed to aren’t feasible anymore. 

The Gen Z new hire experience in 2020

My first year can be measured in instant messages, email draft after email draft, and the number of times my Wi-Fi crashed during a meeting. Starting a new job never is easy; toss in a pandemic, social unrest, a completely remote workforce and make it your first full time position out of college, and you have a recipe for a lot of confusion and maybe a little frustration.   

Although working my first job remotely has been a different experience than what I was expecting, there are a lot of hidden joys. I’m saving an hour each way on commuting, leaving me more time with my roommates (aka mom and dad). I also have flexibility with my hours. If I wake up at 7:00 am and want to start my day early, I can log on right away and get stuff done without any distractions. Another little perk is that I can work from anywhere; in the summer I had the luxury of working afternoons by my pool, this winter by the cozy fireplace, and in March I’m driving across the country to work remotely in Utah to have the opportunity to get outdoors and hike on the weekend.

Of course, these things have made my days a little easier, but what gets me excited to log on every day are the people I work with. At UKG, our purpose is people, and that is a statement that could not ring any truer; I have met some of the most passionate, creative and intelligent people working here.

Great businesses are powered by great people, and UKG is the shining star of that rule. Every day I am empowered by my manager to reach my full potential, and beyond. My colleagues push me to take risks and try new things. I’m always learning something new; whether it’s a new acronym, a fun fact (like the Romans developed first postal system) or tips on refinancing student loans. My coworkers even get me excited about payroll (yes Rachel, I said it — you got me excited about compliance regulations).  

Not only am I excited to sign on to work every day, but I feel valued by my manager and my team. They constantly lift me up when I’m successful and encourage me through my failures. As I’ve made mistakes along the way, my team didn’t just call me out on it, but they have also helped me to reach new solutions. I am given guidance and assistance on how to remedy the sticky situation I might have landed myself in. They have also taught me the value in making mistakes; they provide opportunities to learn and grow.

What also gets me excited is our company culture. Creating an organization where everybody loves to work isn’t easy, but our executive team goes above and beyond for us as employees. Now, I may be new to the workforce, but I know no premiums for healthcare and unlimited time off are unbelievably good benefits. I feel so privileged that I have access to healthcare and the opportunity to take the time off that I need to. At UKG I’m not just a number, but a valued member of the organization.  

Long story short, this past year has been overwhelming, confusing and very trying. It has also been accompanied with unforeseen opportunities to grow. In the world of work, we have learned new ways of operating and thriving. As a new member of the workforce, I’ve also learned a lot personally. I’ve learned that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to, and this year will always remind me to pay attention to just how lucky I am.  

Now the next question is, how do you keep Gen Z new hires like myself engaged in a remote workforce? For tips on how to motivate the newest generation of professionals while they work from home, read my second blog post Keeping Gen Z engaged: What the first year on the job should look like.


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