Working with Gen Z – A Guide to Managing and Retaining this Multicultural Generation

Professional Branding

Gen Z is all about growing professionally and personally and offering the Zs perks and benefits may not be the way to go. Give them room to branch out since they expect management to be involved in their tailor-made development and believe they will have relationships with senior employees who act as their coaches. Gen Z sees mentors as a way to help their career growth.

They envision a workplace where they work in engineering in the morning and move into a graphic designer in the afternoon, thus combining their education and skills. Gen Z wants to use their talents and experience multiple roles. Rotation programs can be used to leverage their experience and provide growth opportunities.

It’s all about Technology

For a generation born into the technological era with smartphones in one hand and an iPad in the other, Gen Z yearns for face-to-face communication. But not necessarily a physical face-to-face one, as long as technology is involved, anything goes.

The independence that comes with this open access to tech also makes them entrepreneurial. In addition, they are used to multitasking and willing and able to adapt to change. They are quick to take on new skill sets and are cause-driven.

Non-Traditional Working Hours

It’s been shown that people who telecommunicate don’t work less than their colleagues at the office. In fact, they work more and are more productive. Expecting employees to always be in the office made more sense when most organizations were local or regional and much of it had to be done in person. Today, business is global, runs 24/7 and in many cases must be conducted virtually.

The Zs want a career that allows them to function when they are at their most productive and given the wealth of connectivity tools available, Gen Z believes that they can remain connected regardless of where they happen to be.

Job Hopping

Generation Z is not keen on relocating and moving around the globe to climb the corporate ladder. They believe in developing skill sets and networks to solve problems creatively by job swaps, short-term assignments in various units or the organization and commuter roles.

Instant Feedback

Gen Z wants regular check-ins with their managers. Social media has made instantaneous feedback a constant in their lives. Gen Z anticipates the same level of ongoing communication from their boss. They will not be satisfied with yearly discussions of performance or even semi-annual ones.

Tips for getting ready for Generation Z

Joining forces with the youngest generation in the workforce is going to require some adjustments for older business leaders. Leadership and communication styles, in particular, do not always translate well across a generational divide. Here are six ways to prepare any workplace for Gen Z to produce a thriving team:

Tip 1: A tech-centered workplace

For Gen Z, technology is like a second skin. They use an average of five screens per day, including smartphones, TVs, laptops, desktops, and tablets. Technology enables them to participate in one of their favorite pastimes: Social media. Any space created with Gen Z in mind should enable these young employees to focus on their work without any distractions in an environment that allows creativity and innovation.

Tip 2: Remain accessible

As Gen Z prefers face-to-face communication with employees and bosses, organizations need to make sure that company leaders are accessible and not tucked away behind closed doors. This goes for co-workers as well. They want to work in open spaces where face-to-face communication is easy.

Tip 3: Have a plan for their professional growth

Gen Z is ambitious and craves opportunities for advancing their careers. They’re also pragmatic enough to realize this won’t happen if they don’t build their knowledge and skills. That’s one of the reasons they embrace informal coaching and mentoring opportunities alongside formal learning.

Tip 4: Set clear expectations and KPIs.

Gen Zers have a strong work ethic, but they seek guidance from those around them. They want to know exactly what their boss wants from them. This desire for crystal-clear expectations stems not from a fear of making mistakes but rather from an appreciation for form and direction.

Tip 5: Make them feel valued

They thrive on feeling valued. Gen Zers’ motivation and self-worth are intricately linked to this acknowledgment. If you want to engage Gen Zers, make sure you appreciate them as individuals as well as recognize their performance efforts.

Tip 6: Have a solid vision

Gen Z wants leaders to exhibit a solid vision. If a company doesn’t have a clear plan to accomplish its goals or know where it wants to go at all, that’s a big red flag for career instability. Share the company’s vision statement with these Zs and highlight tactical ways the company works toward turning that vision into reality every day, no matter how small. Include how the candidate’s new role will contribute to that vision. Don’t be vague. Provide specific examples of how joining the team will help propel it to success.

In summary, organizations who want to cultivate and retain their generation Z employees need to implement two main changes: A revised notion of how advancement and growth in the organization is achieved and a shift in organizational culture to embrace flexibility and talent development process. This new model of talent management will attract and retain tomorrow’s leaders.