Gen Z knows what they want from employers. And employers want them.

Danielle Ross is 26 years old and lives in a small town in upstate New York. She describes herself as artistic and creative. In her spare time she paints and has worked as a mermaid for children’s parties and swam in a homemade tail.

Ms. Ross, who identifies as LGBTQ, couldn’t imagine doing a job that required her to downplay her identity or her abilities, so she was thrilled when Legoland New York Resort, a theme park in Goshen, NY, hired her his first female builder. Ms. Ross was given a great deal of latitude to use Lego bricks to create miniature cities throughout the park, utilizing her artistic side and her desire to promote diversity and inclusion.

“I’ve raised people of every race, nationality and religion and everything I can think of because I want everyone to feel represented,” she said. Her miniature figures are blind and oversized. They have prosthetic legs and wear burqas. Recently she created a Hasidic Jew.

The creative freedom is what made Ms. Ross love her job — and that’s the point. Over the past year, Legoland New York has joined a growing number of companies working to create an environment that is attractive and stimulating to younger workers and that respects who they are and where they want to go. By hiring Generation Z workers — born in the late 1990s and early 2000s — employers are looking to harness their energy and creativity as well as fill an acute labor shortage that saw about 11 million unfilled positions in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Last fall, Legoland began allowing employees like Ms. Ross to have piercings, tattoos, and dyed hair. A national hospitality company has started experimenting with a four-day work week. Healthcare company GoodRx allows employees to work from anywhere in the country, not just from home, and hires an outside company to provide ad hoc offices upon request. Other companies carefully map out career paths for their employees and offer extensive mental health and financial counseling services.

The goal is not only to get younger employees through the door, but also to keep them in their jobs, which is no easy feat. Surveys show that younger workers change jobs more often than other generations. But with these efforts, many companies have so far avoided the labor shortages that plague their competitors.

“We currently have over 1,500 employees,” said Jessica Woodson, director of human resources at Legoland, “and I can confidently say at least half are Gen Zers.”

At Sage Hospitality Group, which operates more than 100 hotels, restaurants and bars across the country, 20 percent of its employees are Gen Z.

“We need that workforce,” said Daniel del Olmo, president and chief operating officer of the company’s hotel management division. “We know that Gen Zers are looking for different things than other generations, and we’re trying to adapt to that.”

After the pandemic began, the company realized that many younger employees wanted a healthy work-life balance. In fact, studies like a recent study conducted by the ADP Research Institute show that if an employer demands a full-time return to the office, many workers would quit.

Sage Hospitality is now introducing a four-day work week for positions such as cooks, housekeepers and receptionists at select hotels. These positions have been the most difficult to fill during the pandemic and the company has about 960 open positions.

The four-day week has helped, Mr del Olmo said. “Instead of having this negative feeling like I have to go to work because I have to make a living,” he said, “all of a sudden I want to go to work because I can combine it with the life I love. ”

Employees in the company’s Denver home office are allowed to work remotely at least one day per week, and all employees are allowed to bring their dog to work one day per week.

“A team member takes care of the dog when a staff member needs to clean a room or show a guest something,” Mr. del Olmo said.

Mason Mills, 26, marketing manager for one of the company’s Denver hotels, said the pandemic has changed her generation’s perspective.

“We started to see that while a career is incredibly important, it’s also important to live the life that you’ve been given,” she said. “By allowing dogs in the office and having a work-from-home schedule to accommodate some of those needs, it shows the company is evolving.”

According to Roberta Katz, an anthropologist at Stanford who studies Generation Z, younger people and previous generations view the workplace fundamentally differently.

“American Gen Zers, for the most part, have known only an internet-connected world,” wrote Dr. Katz in an email. In part because they grew up around collaborative platforms like Wikipedia and GoFundMe, she says, younger workers saw work “as something that was no longer a 9-5 commitment in the office or classroom.”

Andrew Barrett-Weiss, director of workplace experience at GoodRx, which offers discounts on prescriptions, said giving employees that kind of autonomy and flexibility has helped the company close more than one deal. GoodRx offers employees the opportunity not only to be completely remote, but also to have a desk wherever they choose to travel in the United States.

GoodRx also offers financial advisors for employees. “A Gen Zer may not have enough money to have an investment account, but they can have one,” Mr. Barrett-Weiss said. Career coaching and fertility benefits are also offered.

“We’re trying to solve big problems in healthcare,” added Mr. Barrett-Weiss, “so we need the freshest, young prospects we can get.”

Sydney Brodie, 27, an account manager at Le CollectiveM, a communications agency in New York, was delighted when the company owner told her that in July she would be making a home in the Hamptons available for her employees to meet and socialize with one another could customers.

“I was already so loyal to the company,” Ms. Brodie said, “but now I’m wondering, why would you look anywhere else?”

She also obtained a membership in Soho House, an exclusive private club, partly as a means of networking. “My company sees what I need as a person,” she said. “You give me the tools to excel personally and professionally.”

Kencko, a subscription food service focused on fruits and vegetables, focuses on mental health. All employees and members of their household get six sessions with a therapist, not an insignificant benefit considering hourly rates for such services have climbed to $400 in some parts of the country.

Still other companies are trying to capitalize on the desire of younger workers to advance in their careers. In a LinkedIn survey this year, 40 percent of young workers said they would be willing to accept a 5 percent pay cut to work in a position that offers career opportunities.

That’s why Blank Street Coffee, a chain of 40 coffee shops in the United States and England, is making career growth a part of its hiring offer, said Issam Freiha, chief executive officer. Employees who want to develop further within the company are given a clear path to follow.

After Alex Cwiok, a barista on Blank Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, who has a passion for programming, told her manager that she wanted to work behind a computer, “he mentioned it to the supervisors, and eventually they brought me to headquarters ,” she said. “I never thought in a million years that one day I’d be pulled off the field and given a desk and a salary.”

Ms. Cwiok, 27, now handles customer emails and reviews as a Customer Success Associate. She’s also working on updating the brand’s app.

For baristas who see their job at Blank Street as a side hustle, the company can help them take their next step. “We use our alumni and investor network to get people where they want to go,” said Mr. Freiha. “We have a barista on a TV show.”

Blank Street is constantly asking his younger baristas what they want. “We must continue to innovate,” said Mr. Freiha. “This generation doesn’t want to work for something old-fashioned.”

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