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Managing Generation Z in the Workplace


Generation Z — those born between 1996 and 2012 — will soon make up 20 percent of the workforce. With new ideas and expectations from these younger workers, is your organization ready for the entry of this generation?

Below we list some tactical advice to managing Generation Z in the workplace.

1) Manage their expectations

Clarity is particularly important as the younger generations have different job expectations when it comes to career development and salary compared to previous generations. A RobertHalf survey found that $46,799 is the mean salary expectation that Generation Z has in mind for their first job after college. Moreover, in 5 years, 32 percent expect to be managing employees, while 24 percent expect to be working their way up the corporate ladder.

Regular conversations between employees and their managers should be conducted, including reviewing performance contributions, goals to set for the coming year, professional opportunities, career development, and compensation & bonus structures. It is imperative that organizations are training first-time managers about how to have conversations on setting and managing expectations, giving feedback, assessing competencies, and managing performance. There are many trainings and learnings that an organization can provide. If you are specifically looking to develop and train managers on how to give feedback, feel free to contact us.

2) Provide developmental opportunities

Generation Z puts a price on professional development. In fact, the number one priority for Generation Z as they look for a job is growth opportunities, and 76 percent see learning as the key to their advancement. Many organizations have identified training, coaching, and upskilling/reskilling as priorities in 2021. Investing in your employees helps organizations generate a pipeline of future talent. In other words, providing developmental opportunities is in the best interest of Generation Z and your business.

Going forward, employers will not only need to understand the skills and competencies that are important to perform jobs well and provide the right training to address skills gaps, but employers will also need to understand the behaviors of a generation that expects much more personalization when it comes to their career. Workers want to see a clear career trajectory: where they are, where they’re going, and how they’re going to get there.

3) Provide more collaboration opportunities

According to Inc., 72 percent of Generation Z prefer to communicate face-to-face instead of through email or instant messaging. Another survey found that their least ideal work environment is working off-site as part of a virtual team, while their preferred method of working is collaborating with a small group in an office setting. Be mindful of the work options that you present to employees. Many companies are switching to flexible work, while some are planning to remain 100% remote after the pandemic. Prioritizing face-to-face meetups can be critical to help attract, engage, and retain the younger generation.

4) Provide more feedback

The younger generations want more feedback – 60 percent want multiple check-ins with their manager a week! Having regular conversations is incredibly important for developing, motivating and engaging your young workers. Having a single place to store and analyze all that feedback data can help increase the transparency of performance reviews, but it also gives employees ownership into their own career development as they have direct access to their feedback.

There are many new performance management solutions that can highlight an employee’s strengths and weaknesses. Having such a tool can motivate and engage employees as they can own their own performance, request feedback from their managers, and be accountable for their goals. If you are looking for a new tool, checkout Pavestep – employees can easily share and request feedback while better understanding their strengths and weaknesses. Ask for your demo today!

5) Highlight company values

Generation Z prefer to work in industries that they deeply care about – 30 percent say they would take a 10-20 percent pay cut to work for a cause they deeply care about. Alignment to company mission and values is an important factor to most (77 percent) Generation Z. If you are to manage Generation Z effectively, they need to understand and align with your corporate mission and values. At the end of the day, you want to attract and retain employees that live by your company values. Ensure the company values are integrated into your organization’s day-to-day, from hiring to performance management processes.

6) Prioritize mental health

In 2019, Mind Share Partners found that 60 percent of people have experienced symptoms of mental health issues in the past year. More alarmingly, half of the millennials and 75 percent of Generation Z have left a job, both voluntarily and involuntarily, partially due to mental health reasons!

Unchecked stress can impact performance and productivity – 52 percent of employees call in sick due to stress, and up to 80 percent of on the job accidents are caused by stress-related fatigue. To manage Generation Z, make sure to check-in often, offer mental health days, and/or flexible work options. Managers once again play a really important role in being able to identify employee burnout. Train them to recognize the signs.

Have any other ideas on managing Generation Z at your organization? Let us know!

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