The youngest generation in the workplace, Gen Z, often receives negative feedback. There are claims that they are difficult to work with and that they are unprepared for the workplace. However, there is an alternate view that suggests Gen Z members are resilient and bring many strengths to the workplace. They have faced challenges such as the pandemic, economic and social conditions, and the epidemic of loneliness. But they are also the first generation to have a language and understanding of emotional health, making them more willing to seek help and resources.
Dealing with less acculturated employees is always challenging, particularly for Gen Z, who value knowing who you are and what you stand for as an organization. It is important to assess for a good fit within the organization and provide clear expectations during the interview process. If middle managers lack the skills to instill the organization's culture in new Gen Z hires, it may not be wise to hire them at all.
Middle managers often struggle to manage Gen Z employees because they are not trained properly in expectation setting and consistent processes. It is crucial to train managers and implement effective processes that structure employee experiences. A clear, consistent structure prevents managers from taking on the role of therapists and focuses on accomplishing work effectively.
Structured one-on-one meetings are essential for supporting Gen Z employees and addressing any problems that arise. These meetings provide a safe space for employees to raise issues, seek help, and receive clear expectations from their managers.
Gen Z has a different communication style compared to previous generations, primarily relying on digital messaging. It is important to teach them when to shift from digital communication to phone or face-to-face interaction. Creating a culture that encourages follow-up conversations helps avoid misunderstandings.
Gen Z's tendency to ask many questions can be viewed as an opportunity to uncover organizational weaknesses. It forces managers to be clear in their communication and think critically about their problem-solving. Deep questioning should be welcomed and used as a way to improve communication and decision-making.
One benefit of hiring Gen Zers is their intellectual curiosity and energy. Collaborating with them and seeking their feedback can infuse fresh perspectives into the organization. Managers should demonstrate respect for their youth and incorporate their input into decision-making processes.
Investing time in explaining and modeling desired behaviors for Gen Z employees is crucial. It is important to acknowledge and address their concerns and needs while consistently sharing the organization's vision and values. By doing so, organizations can develop a committed workforce that delivers creative solutions.