New research by the mental health organization Sapien Labs shows that half of young people worldwide have experienced mental health decline and a deterioration of their “social self” in the wake of the pandemic, reports Adam Smiley Poswolsky for Harvard Business Review.

But leaders can help Gen Z team members feel more connected! Here are commitments leaders can make to support an increasingly vulnerable generation:

Put mental health front and center
A culture built on mental health and wellness goes beyond offering a meditation app; it infuses mental health throughout the organization through policies and programs that take care of your people.

Putting mental health front and center might look like offering competitive pay (commensurate with rising inflation), paid time off and expanded family leave policies, childcare subsidies and services, or elder care support and parent support groups. It also might mean doing more to address employee burnout and exhaustion: doubling down on flexible work policies, testing a four-day week pilot program, establishing “Friday rest days,” “meeting-free days,” and “do not disturb hours,” ensuring that employees have more time to rest and recharge.

Make onboarding a community-building exercise
Employee onboarding is your opportunity to showcase what a culture of mutual support and well-being looks like to new recruits. For many young employees, onboarding might be their first-ever or second experience in a professional setting. It’s incredibly important, especially in a remote or hybrid workforce, that onboarding establishes a container of mutual support.

Onboarding might involve a shadowing exercise where new hires shadow co-workers for a day to see how their colleagues actually do their jobs; a speed-friending exercise, where new hires meet managers across the organization; a personal purpose exercise, where new hires gain a better understanding of their personal goals; or a play exercise like improv, where new hires get comfortable trying new things and laughing in front of each other.

Support young talent with coaching
According to Glint’s 2021 Employee Well-Being Report, having opportunities to learn and grow  is now the No. 1 factor people say defines an exceptional work environment. An essential tool for learning and development is cross-organization mentorship and sponsorship, which makes it easier for next-gen talent to secure personal and professional development and promotion opportunities.

Trade screen time for connection time
Sapien Labs’ report notes that pandemic-era declines in “social self” mirror an acceleration of a trend that began in 2010, and research by psychologist Jean Twenge and her colleagues shows this trend strongly correlates with the growth of smartphone use and social media.

According to Cigna, employees who say they have colleagues that they like eating lunch with, or who have a best friend at work, or who have more phone calls and in-person conversations with their co-workers are less lonely on the UCLA Loneliness Scale. Leaders should remember the power of picking up the phone and calling their team members (over sending an email, messaging them on apps or scheduling yet another Zoom meeting) and, whenever possible, make time to see colleagues for coffee, lunch or a walk. Taking five minutes at the start of your weekly team meeting to do a well-being check-in (and listening to how people are doing and what they need) matters.