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5 Things Every Leader Should Know About Connecting With Gen Z Employees
By Jane Hanson | Forbes Magazine | August 31, 2023
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Gen Z is estimated to represent 30% of the workforce by 2030. And while their predecessors largely prioritized characteristics like job security and professional development when assessing work opportunities and job satisfaction, younger workers are placing more emphasis on things like company ethics and work-life balance.
Some employers may be unaccustomed to working with this new culture and related set of expectations. In fact, a recent study by ResumeBuilder.com revealed that nearly three-quarters of managers and business leaders find Gen Z employees more difficult to work with than older employees. But it doesn’t have to be. In order to leverage the unique skill sets and passion Gen Z brings to the table, employers may simply need to adjust the way they interact and manage their employees. Some suggestions are:
Meeting Today’s Employees Where They Are. A study reveals significant disconnect between what today’s employees need to be successful and what employers are currently offering. 79% of survey respondents feel they are being taken for granted by their managers, with one third stating they rarely or never receive praise from their managers. It’s important that managers recognize a job well done with praise.
25% of employees say they rarely or never receive praise from their colleagues. Employees often feel a sense of competition with colleagues, rather than collaboration. This stifles the supportive work environment that most employees crave. However, when employers clearly articulate company goals, and make certain all employees understand these goals and their role in achieving them, employers can create a team mindset and employees will rally together to deliver on it.
30% of respondents cited sensitivity to criticism as their greatest weakness. Being sensitive to criticism is being human. Our brain is five times more developed to anticipate and respond to threat than reward. So, in order to constructively share feedback that an employee will actually hear and respond positively to, it’s important to do it in two steps. First, establish a safe and friendly space by sharing positive feedback – what has been going well and what’s working. Positive reinforcement triggers the reward portion of our brain. Employees feel seen, valued, and appreciated. Then, deliver the constructive feedback. Share what isn’t working or what can be done better.
Only 38% of respondents feel proud of their professional achievements. Fostering a sense of pride among employees is important. Employees that feel good about themselves, their employer and their performance at work are six times more likely to endorse their workplace to others.
77% of respondents said they would sacrifice their mental health to go really far in their career. Sacrificing one’s mental health is NOT an effective long-term strategy. “Loneliness, burnout and stress are at an all-time high. To support employees’ mental health, it’s important that leaders proactively manage workloads, provide flexibility on how, when and where work gets done and show care and concern for the person, not just the employee.
2 key takeaways from the article
- Gen Z is estimated to represent 30% of the workforce by 2030. A survey revealed that nearly three-quarters of managers and business leaders find Gen Z employees more difficult to work with than older employees. But it doesn’t have to be.
- In order to leverage the unique skill sets and passion Gen Z brings to the table, employers may simply need to adjust the way they interact and manage their employees. Few suggestions are: ensure that they are not taken forgranted, praise their contribution; develop purpose driven culture to reduce competition amount employees so that they can praise each others’ contribution; share feedback constructively; foster a sense of pride; and help them to not to compromise on their mental health which they are eager to for the sake of career advancement.
Topics: Leadership, Generation Z, Organizational Performance