4 Tips for Managing Gen Z Employees as They Flood the Workplace
Within the next few years, an estimated 61M young professionals that makeup Generation Z will be ready to join the workforce. While this is exciting news, meaning there will be fresh minds comfortable with technology and open to new ideas, many leaders wonder what other implications this could have in the business world.
Each generation has its own perspective on the way things should be done, and Gen Zers are no exception. Therefore, managers must learn the best ways to attract, lead, and assist this new generation as they join the workforce in the upcoming years.
Here are 4 tips to keep in mind.
1. Understand What You’re Working with Beforehand
As the first generation is technically classified as “digital natives,” it’s important to note that this age group was born and raised with all the information in the world at their fingertips (literally). This age group is super comfortable with technology and each person has their own way of conducting research and solving problems.
Before you bring on a group of Gen Zers, you need to understand these traits and how to use them to your advantage. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools out there today that can help qualify employees before you bring them on board. AI technology is changing the way recruiters are approaching the hiring process – as it helps them make smarter and more data-driven decisions. For example, AI-assisted recruiting tools can be used to conduct pre-employment assessments that are customized to each position. These questionnaires are designed to evaluate the applicant’s answers to measure skill levels, competencies, and experience, and even predict how well they would do if hired for a specific position.
Since Generation Z is new to the workforce, they won’t have years of experience under their belt to automatically qualify them. However, their skills and approaches to problem-solving could make them valuable asset to the team, which is why recruiters should utilize smarter technology to qualify new talent.
2. Make Them Understand Their Role in the Big Picture
The perception of the “mindless office drone” is a dying concept, especially among younger generations. Young professionals these days like to feel empowered and know that their efforts are factoring into the grand scheme of things. Vision Critical’s report found that the valuable impact this generation makes throughout their career was a top priority, though having a healthy work-life balance ranked #2 on the list, followed by a high salary.
Keeping all employees motivated is important, but it can be especially critical for younger, entry-level employees. There is a direct correlation between employee satisfaction and productivity. When young employees see the big picture and potential within an organization, their loyalty can soar through the roof.
This means that employers will need to transition Generation Z into the workplace by helping them understand the opportunities that lie ahead and how their current role will factor in. As this generation is fresh on the job market, they lack years of experience to land higher-level jobs. They will be starting at the “bottom of the totem pole”, so to speak. If managers want to keep young workers around, they need to show them how their efforts are contributing to the end goal.
3. Don’t Sugarcoat the Truth
Many people generalize Gen Z by things like participation trophies and the mindset that “everyone is a winner.” While this may be true in some cases, this is not how the real world works — and you need to make that clear when holding them accountable.
Unfortunately, one of the current defining factors of this generation is a gap in skills and what is needed in the workforce. According to a review of the book Gen Z @ Work, the author found that 92% of Gen Z are concerned that they do not have the training or experience needed to successfully enter the workforce. Furthermore, technology is taking over many menial and entry-level tasks that often fall to interns and new hires.
Although managers should certainly try to perpetuate a positive outlook on the opportunities that lie ahead for this younger generation, it is important to make sure that Gen Z’s ideology doesn’t turn into visions of grandeur. This can be done by encouraging specialized knowledge that is focused on key areas of expertise. If possible, provide opportunities through your company to help them learn new skills and help to fill the gaps that will be increasing as technology becomes even more important in the workplace.
4. Make Wellness an Integral Part of Work
Generation Z has also grown up during a time when wellness is mainstream. “Sitting is the new smoking” became a popular phrase within the past few years, and Gen Z has grown up in a world where things like standing desks and corporate yoga classes are the norm. Mental and physical health is crucial to a person’s well-being, regardless of age. However, employers need to accept that this group will not be willing to compromise when it comes to their health, especially in the workplace.
While it may not be possible for every business to accommodate specifically by doing things like installing treadmill desks or offering organic catered lunches every day, employers should keep their employee’s health in mind. Companies that prioritize their worker’s health actually save money in the long run through lowered costs of medical benefits and higher productivity. It’s very important that you make it a point for your employees (both young and old) to be active.
There is no doubt that Generation Z is going to make a significant impact on the workforce in the next few years. However, if business leaders are going to continue to grow, they will need to adjust to help this generation succeed.
Pay attention to their priorities, hone in on their skills and potential, and encourage them to fill in the gaps to become leaders in their own right. By adopting this mindset, we can all help to shape the workplace of tomorrow.