Between the pandemic, working from home, and other events that have taken place in the world over the past year, Ten Spot was eager to find out what the current state of company culture, workplace behavior, and attitudes toward social issues in the workplace looked like and conducted a survey of 2,000 workers across the US.

While the overall results are compelling on many levels, it quickly became clear that Gen Z – the newest generation to join the workforce – may quickly become a force to be reckoned with. The survey results found that Gen Z is observant of, and 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.

For example, 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%) – and with good reason.

While Gen Z has only been in the full-time workforce for a few years, it has already seen higher levels of sexual harassment (24%), LGBTQ discrimination (19%), and bullying (26%) than any other generation. Additionally, 86% of Gen Z has 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 to say their company’s HR department is doing a horrible job at fostering employee engagement and productivity than the average, and are the most likely to feel that HR is doing a poor or horrible job dealing with discriminatory issues and behavior, and negative company culture.

However, while critical of their companies and HR departments on these fronts, Gen Z does appear to recognize that there are solutions. 63% of Gen Z 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 – a significant jump up from the fact that only 20% of respondents said that their company uses such a 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 Boomers who are exiting the workforce, and Gen Z who are just getting started. The level of awareness and sensitivity that Gen Z is unlike that of any previous generation, and 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.