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Gen Z in the Workplace — Part 3: Advice for Managers
This just in: Millennials are no longer no kids on the block!
Gen Z has been a part of the workforce since the mid-2010’s, and like all new generations, they’ve been shifting expectations in all sorts of interesting ways. Since the world has finally gotten a few years of sampling, the question is, what are Gen Z’s characteristics, and how can businesses attract and retain Gen Z talent?
In the first article of this mini-series, “Gen Z in the Workplace,” we explored what employers can do to attract Gen Z. In the second, we looked at the job traits and industries that appeal to Gen Z. The third and final article asks a simple question: What are Gen Z candidates looking for in a manager?
While the list below isn’t fully comprehensive, it will definitely get you started!
If you’re a manager, you might consider loosening the reins a bit with this generation — starting with some of your most intrinsically motivated employees. Gen Z is often self-sufficient with tasks and skills that previous generations needed more time to learn. Importantly, this doesn’t mean dropping the ball on communication or feedback (more on that below), but it might mean demonstrating a bit more trust that a project will be completed.
According to research from Dell Technologies, 75% of Gen Z is comfortable learning and collaborating with their peers at work. For this reason, substituting collaborative teamwork for top down management may also be a good idea. Of course, always experiment with new management strategies carefully. Start slow and see if the results bear fruit.
With Gen Z, communication is key. Though it’s true they crave autonomy, most survey data also suggests Gen Z wants to hear from their managers regularly.
Now is a good time to highlight the difference between micromanaging and offering consistent feedback. Successful communication means focusing on what should be done rather than exactly how it should be done. This means that offering broad strategy and clear direction are unequivocally good ideas for Gen Z. The same can be said for checking in often, validating good work, and offering thoughtful critiques. Importantly, these are all different than micromanagement, which entails dictating details and hovering over one’s shoulder.
At the end of the day, know that Gen Z is the social media generation, accustomed to consistent feedback and communication. Indeed, data suggests Gen Z prefers multiple check ins during the week.
Equality and Balance
Fairness, balance and equality are all values Gen Z supports in high numbers. An open-minded outlook shapes Gen Z’s view of themselves and others, and they hope to have managers who appreciate this. Gen Z reports diversity and inclusion as significant factors when looking, applying, and staying at jobs. The same can be said for equal pay between genders. Not only is this generation the most racially and ethnically diverse in U.S. history (nearly half of Gen Z Americans are non-white), but they grew up in times of major cultural and political shifts. Overall, Gen Z hopes to have managers who value their individuality & authenticity and celebrate diversity & inclusion.
That wraps up our Gen Z mini-series! We hope these articles are only the beginning of your research and strategizing. The future will be a Gen Z one, so make sure you’re prepared!
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