27 September 2023

Managing the new wave of employees

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Ashley Stahl* says Generation Z are easing their way into the workforce — and these new kids have very different expectations from their predecessors.

I hate to say it Millennials, but the time has come to truly embrace ‘adulting’ — and that means welcoming the new kids on the block into the workplace: Generation-Z.

Generation Z (born 2000 onwards) are growing up and leaping into the workforce.

They are even more tech-savvy and have higher expectations than Millennials, but they deeply crave something different from their predecessors: Job security.

I can’t blame them, as many watched their older siblings drown in student loan debt and fail to find work during the recession.

The trauma is real.

How you manage your employees will directly relate to their sense of security.

Here are three things to consider in order to successfully manage this next wave of workers.

Provide alternative methods to leadership:

Generation Z are proving not to be job-title fiends.

They are less interested in climbing the corporate ladder and more intrigued with how to support their organisation’s growth and success.

Don’t get too far ahead of yourself when it comes to titles, but do know they are growers who are hungry to take on responsibility and leadership.

While they grow as young employees, offer them full ownership of a project from concept to fruition.

Allow them to share their ideas and funnel their creativity in a way that benefits the organisation, while also building their skillset in the workplace.

Don’t close yourself off to conventional job roles and tasks either.

Some 75 per cent of Generation Z would be more interested in an opportunity that had multiple roles within one place.

Offer varied ways to communicate:

Given all the screen time Generation Z have grown up around, they equally crave in-person connection.

This can be difficult, but balancing screen time and in-person time is the key to keeping them engaged and happy.

If you have a remote Gen Z worker, opt for video calls instead of phone calls.

If they’re in the office, opt for recurring meetings so that you can build a bond and ensure they’re heard.

This can also be project meetings and team meetings to create a culture that’s bonded — and retainable.

They want to have human connection and be part of a team.

In a recent survey, 75 per cent of Generation Z responded saying they would rather have a difficult conversation over text than on the phone.

When it comes to having an uncomfortable conversation, consider starting with this method and transition to a one-on-one in-person meeting if the issue at hand needs further resolution.

Don’t skimp on the feedback meetings.

In fact, you will need to have constant communication with this generation of employees.

They seek validation and need to be given a performance review on a weekly or even daily basis.

Nonetheless, you can keep it short and sweet.

This doesn’t have to mean long meetings.

Get serious about the job perks:

Generation Z grew up in the wake of the 2008 recession.

They have a clear memory of the price their Millennial counterparts paid, literally, when they couldn’t find work.

They watched siblings and family friends discuss their struggles of finding work and paying student loans, and they have no interest in facing the same hand of cards.

Having a solid paying job they can rely on is a value on which they are not willing to compromise.

This is why HR must pony up for promising Gen Z talent, as this generation will work harder (and stay longer) when the dollar signs match their responsibility level.

This is the biggest difference between Gen Z and their Millennial counterparts.

Managers can leave the salary negotiation to them and simply focus on growing them and building close working relationships to retain them.

While they can appreciate free food in the office, these perks won’t keep them as much as good pay.

That’s why I tell chief executives to encourage their managers to have conversations with each Gen Z employee and understand what they value most.

A recent study showed that a sense of professional and educational achievement is a top priority for this generation, while others might need one day a week to work from home.

Seek to understand their unique needs.

Overall, Generation Z is very different from their Millennial counterparts.

While they appreciate technology, are growth-minded, and value purpose, they’re much hungrier for human connection and job security.

This means they won’t be job hoppers, but do be sure to listen to their values and follow through on providing them.

Take the time now to change your management style in order to support this next wave of employees.

If you start on the right foot, they will promise to be committed and engaged.

*Ashley Stahl is a career coach, keynote speaker, podcast host and author. In a previous life she was award-winning counter-terrorism professional. She can be contacted at ashleystahl.com.

This article first appeared at ashleystahl.com.

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