How Can Managers Best Capitalise on Gen Z within the Workplace?

Posted in : Supplementary Articles NI on 3 June 2024
Charlotte Eakin
Think People
Issues covered: Generation Z; Generational differences; Teamwork; Diversity and Inclusion; Discrimination and Equality

Gen Z in the Workplace:

The term ‘Gen Z’ refers to the cohort born between the years of 1997 and 2012. Gen Z may be the newest generation to join the workforce however, according to the World Economic Forum, Gen Z are predicted to account for one-third of the global workforce by 2025. As the number of Gen Z employees joining the workforce continues grow, organisations are increasingly finding that management strategies used to attract and retain their millennial predecessors appear less effective when it comes to the younger workforce. 

Data presented by Resume Builder within their 2024 survey findings suggests that managers are growing increasingly worried about this change in workforce demographics with 31% of surveyed managers admitting to avoiding hiring from Gen Z and instead preferring to recruit older workers. In addition, 30% of surveyed managers indicated that they have had to terminate a Gen Z employee’s employment within the first month of employment.

As older generations continue to retire, avoiding recruiting Gen Z workers is not a sustainable practice. In addition, survey data produced by Deloitte highlights how multigenerational workforces are important in maintaining overall business success. The diverse ways of thinking found within multi-generational workforces can increase an organisation’s problem-solving abilities and enable more innovative ways of working. However, organisations will remain unable to experience the benefits of a multi-generational workforce, unless line managers are equipped with the knowledge and skills to successfully engage Gen Z workers within their teams.

The following article will provide readers with an overview of the different benefits and challenges that managers may encounter with Gen Z workers and the strategies that they can implement to ensure that they are able capitalise on the skills and attributes offered by this cohort.

The Challenges Associated with Gen Z Employees:

A recent article published by Forbes (2024) highlights some of the top challenges managers have reported working with Gen Z, namely that these workers often tend to be more informal in relation to both the way that they dress, and in their communication (both written and verbal).

Growing up in the age of mobile devices and social media, Gen Z are used to information being available immediately, leading to a desire for quick and accessible answers as opposed to carefully constructed models and approaches. It has also been suggested that while Gen Z may be familiar with instant messaging, their interpersonal skills tend to be less developed compared to previous cohorts. Gen Z’s lack of soft skills, such as communication and conflict resolution can make the transition to the working world tricky to navigate.

Being the newest generation to enter the workforce, it can be expected that Gen Z will have less experience navigating complex professional environments, but that doesn’t mean that Gen Z cannot make positive contributions to their workforce when managed effectively.

What contributions can Gen-Z workers make to your organisation?

  • Digital Literacy: LinkedIn data suggests that with growing technological advances, including the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the increasing sophistication of workplace management systems, organisations are set to face a widening digital skills gap. By capitalising on the digital skills of Gen Z workers, organisations can more easily adapt to digital developments both within the workplace and wider society.  
  • Commitment to learning and personal development: Gen Z workers have also been known to prioritise their professional learning and development. With past generations, salary packages were used as a key motivator within the workplace however with Gen Z, employers are increasingly finding that both earning and learning opportunities need to be put in place to maintain engagement amongst this group. If organisational leaders capitalise on Gen Z’s willingness to learn by providing them with development opportunities, they have the potential to become key contributors within the organisation.  

Top Tips on How to Manage Gen Z Workers:

Open Communication Styles: Gen Z employees are motivated by a sense of purpose. By taking the time to clearly communicate the organisation’s vision, structure and processes employees are able to identify how the achievement of their set objectives contributes to wider organisational success.

It is also key to remember that communication is a two-way process. Findings from a recent survey conducted by Deloitte Digital highlight how Gen Z employees show better levels of engagement when they perceive their managers to be supportive of their personal goals and ambitions. Taking the time to actively listen to employees and provide them with opportunities to develop can be key in retaining Gen Z workers.  

Creating opportunities for collaboration: In order to address gaps in soft skills exhibited by Gen Z managers should aim to facilitate opportunities for collaboration. Managers may consider implementing a mentorship scheme in which Gen Z workers are paired with employees from older cohorts. This can help with the transfer of skills and aid the development for Gen Z employees in relation to communication, whilst also offering older employees who may be less familiar with new technologies greater exposure to such tools.

Acknowledgement of Success:  Further findings from Deloitte Digital shows that acknowledging achievements and the attainment of objectives can go along way in creating workplace satisfaction amongst Gen Z workers. Over half of respondents indicated that appreciation from their line manager would act as an incentive for them to remain within their organisation.

How Think People can help:

At Think People we can provide advice and guidance to businesses seeking to support their managers reach their full potential. We are experienced with workplace management training and coaching. If you would like any further information regarding our services, please don’t hesitate to contact our Belfast office at 028903 10450.

This article is correct at 03/06/2024
Disclaimer:

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Charlotte Eakin
Think People

The main content of this article was provided by Charlotte Eakin. Contact telephone number is 028 9031 0450 or email charlotte.eakin@aab.uk

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