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Event summary produced by The Globe and Mail Events team. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.

As Gen Z continues to enter the workforce, employers are discovering they need to rethink traditional norms and expectations. They also need to attune to a significant mental health crisis affecting productivity, retention, and employee engagement.

According to a 2023 report from Boston Consulting Group, about 40 per cent of Canadian workers aged 18 to 24 years are at a mental health breaking point. The good news is younger Canadians are generally more open to prioritizing mental health in the workplace compared to older generations. They also have clear views on how, where, and why they work.

The Globe and Mail hosted a webcast on October 3 to bring representatives from Gen Z, mental health and HR to share strategies and advice to support the next generation at work.

Missed the live event or would like to view it again? Scroll down to the video player, below.

Temur Durrani, technology reporter with The Globe and Mail, moderated the event, opening with an interview focused on the experiences of Gen Z as they enter the workplace. The interview included:

  • Ilona Dougherty, managing director of the Youth and Innovation Project at the University of Waterloo
  • Ayden Kristmanson, sustainability and design intern with Bosa Properties

Ms. Dougherty explained younger generations are key to corporate innovation as the brains of 15 to 25 year-olds are wired for bold problem solving. That tendency may at times clash with older generations who at work, are more the holders of tradition.

Ms. Kristmanson commented that for many Gen Z’ers, the first experience in the workplace has been virtual. Remote education and work through the pandemic means many young people are trying to learn workplace norms while also making up for missed life experiences. Flexibility and the ability to work from anywhere are therefore highly valued, she said, adding in-person is best for meeting and interacting with senior leadership.

Following the interview a panel of HR and mental health leaders talked about the staggering rates of stress and burnout among Gen Z employees and workforces as a whole, due in part to the pandemic. Corporate leaders discussed the importance of expanding mental health benefits, mentorship programs and workplace flexibility. The panel included:

  • Dr. Matthew Chow, chief mental health officer with TELUS Health
  • Keishera Davis, HR manager, 1Milk2Sugars
  • Crystal Arnold, senior manager of wellness, retirement and group benefits with LifeLabs
  • Ayman Alvi, vice president of global pension and benefits with Scotiabank

View the full recording (60 minutes) below:

The Globe and Mail presented the event with sponsor support from TELUS. To learn about upcoming events please see

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