Is There a Secret to Managing Gen Z Talent?

You might be asking yourself, what is Gen Z? What makes Gen Z—Gen Z? First, this generation was born between 1997-2012, which makes their age range 11-27 years of age. Unlike Gen X and Millennials, who have found a way to navigate a new way of working during and after the pandemic, And unlike Baby Boomers, who may have been through other global crises, Gen Zs only know our current economic times. As Gen Z employees enter and advance through the workforce, it’s critical for business leaders to understand this generation’s experiences and motivations. Here are some secrets to managing Gen Z talent.

Work-life balance is not going away:

Work-life balance is more critical to them than ever. As more and more employers tighten the leash on work from home or remote work, more Gen Z employees are pushing back, which can make the work environment difficult and stressful for both sides. Gen Z is more entrepreneurial, diversified, technologically savvy, and individualistic than prior generations. Like the Millennials before them, Gen Z employees treasure work-life balance and take care of their mental health in a way the Baby Boomers never learned to do. So, it’s pivotal that you learn how to balance work expectations with your mental health needs and desire for balance outside the workplace.

Learn new communication styles:

Gen Zers are opting for workplaces with healthier communication styles. Unlike previous generations, Gen Zers (and to some extent even Millennials) don’t like being told what to do or simply just obeying commands and instructions. Leading by example through vision and feedback is more important than ever. Hiring gets more important, too. Choose employees who want to work for you, then put them in positions where they see themselves having the most impact and where you know you can lead them to greatness.

You will need to meet them halfway: 

It’s vital to understand the Gen Z population. Gen Z is the first generation to make demands for what they believe is important in the workplace. This includes wanting more—including prioritizing mental health, having flexibility with hours, getting more vacation time, and not settling. Leaders should begin to understand Gen Z employees’ needs by having an open dialogue, asking for feedback, and reacting appropriately to avoid high levels of turnover.

Be a change maker and showcase that: 

Gen Z will continue to challenge the status quo and command more of a voice and impact in the workplace. Leaders should recognize that Gen Zers are more in tune with current diverse and cultural needs. This generation is seen as a collective catalyst for change that can be leveraged to drive strategic and cultural change. Leaders who fail to harness the power of Gen Z are placing their organizations at a disadvantage.

Healthy work environments:

Gen Z doesn’t tolerate toxic cultures, discrimination, misalignment between the words and actions of management, or work that won’t flex to fit their personal lives. Gen Z is very perceptive and sees “the rumor mill” or toxic talk. Leaders need to have conversations with all team members to establish a safe work culture and align expectations and commitments, and they need to walk the culture talk. This means that you need to take a good, hard look at management and see if some of the toxicity is coming from a higher-up. Gen Z doesn’t care what you know or what you can teach them until they know that you care.

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