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Managing Gen Z in the Workplace: A Practical Guide for Managers

May 3, 2024

The younger generation is increasingly making its presence felt in the global workforce, marking a generational shift and defying the perception that they lack the skills and experience. Generation Z now makes up one-third of the global population and is expected to account for 27% of the workforce in OECD countries by 2025. In the U.S., Gen Z is projected to surpass the Baby Boomers in full-time employees for the first time and take up a significant share of the workforce in 2024.

With Gen Z taking a more prominent role in shaping today's workplaces, it's crucial to understand how to effectively manage them. If you're looking for guidance on how to manage Gen Z in the workplace, this post can be a helpful resource. We've done the research and gathered insights on effective strategies for managing Gen Z in the workplace. 

Gen Z Traits in the Workplace

Gen Z, also known as Gen Z, Zoomers, or Gen Zers, are those born in the mid-to-late 1990s through the early 2010s, a period marked by significant technological progress and the rise of digitalization. As such, it is not surprising that this generation possesses distinct qualities that set them apart from previous generations. Keep reading as we discuss further the most notable characteristics of Gen Z workers below.

1. Competitive 

Did you know that the majority (57%) of Gen Z workers expect promotions at least once a year? Today's young workers are raised in a society where technology and social media are an integral part of daily life. This exposure has made them more aware of the competition in the workforce, leading them to be more driven to achieve their goals and have a more competitive attitude. 

2. Tech-Savvy

Generation Z, having grown up with digital devices and online platforms, has acquired an innate understanding of technology, hence earning them the title of "Digital Natives." As a McKinsey report notes, this generation has ease in gathering and cross-referencing large amounts of information. They are also comfortable in integrating virtual and offline experiences seamlessly.

3. Adaptive 

Gen Z witnessed a constantly changing world, so they're used to embracing change and navigating new situations. They're also known to be tech-savvy and comfortable with digital tools, which makes it easier for them to adapt to fast-changing modern technologies and ways of doing things. Additionally, they tend to be open-minded and accepting of diverse perspectives and lifestyles, which allows them to thrive in various environments and adapt to different social situations. 

4. Transparent and Authentic With Co-Workers

The younger generation places a high value on honesty and authenticity, both when it comes to their personal lives and the work environments they are in. This is largely due to the influence of social media, which has encouraged people to be more genuine. As such, it isn’t shocking that they prioritize transparent communication and authentic connections with their co-workers and managers.

5. Self-Reliant But Also Collaborative

Gen Z is commonly thought to prefer working individually due to their proficiency in digital tools, but a report suggests otherwise, revealing that they are actually both self-reliant and collaborative. The report highlights that the generation is self-motivated and driven to achieve their goals. At the same time, they are highly collaborative and socially conscious, valuing diversity and caring deeply about others. 

How to Manage Gen Z in the Workplace

With Gen Z taking up more space in the corporate world, leaders face the challenge of adapting their management style to the preferences and working styles of this dynamic new generation. 

So, how can you successfully manage Gen Z in the workplace? The truth is there's no one-size-fits-all answer or magic formula to that. Nevertheless, there are strategies worth exploring to cultivate meaningful connections with them and ultimately maximize their potential within your organization. Below, we explore these methods one by one.

1. Understand What Gen Z Advocates For

Understanding the values that Gen Z workers advocate for is crucial in creating a workplace in which this new generation will thrive. Gen Zs are known for valuing diversity, inclusivity, sustainability, and social change. By understanding these values, you can tailor your communication and management styles to better resonate with this new generation.

2. Offer Rewards and Benefits 

Offering rewards and benefits is an effective way to manage workers, and Gen Z employees are no exception.  This generation values perks such as health insurance, retirement benefits, pensions, and paid leaves. By providing benefits, Gen Z workers are more likely to stay loyal to a company for an extended period. Additionally, rewards such as bonuses or recognition for a job well done can motivate them to perform their best and increase productivity. 

3. Provide Opportunities for Training and Development

Offering opportunities for training and development proves to be a winning strategy in maintaining the engagement and motivation of Gen Z in the workplace. By providing access to training programs, mentorship initiatives, and other opportunities, you can not only increase their job satisfaction but also meet their expectations for professional development and learning.

Wondering why it's important to invest in your employees' training and development? Check out this blog post on the benefits of employee training and development for a comprehensive discussion.

4. Foster Effective Communication

Communication in managing Gen Z holds crucial importance as it directly influences their engagement, productivity, and overall satisfaction in the workplace. Here are effective communication strategies to capture their attention, keep them engaged, and ensure that messages are effectively conveyed. 

Be Concise and Visual 

Gen Z is accustomed to processing information quickly and prefers content that is easy to digest. They are also highly visual, meaning they respond well to images, videos, and other visual content. 

Use Digital Communication Tools

Utilizing digital communication tools is crucial, given the generation’s inherent familiarity and comfort with technology. Some of the digital communication tools you can use to engage with them are email, instant messaging, video calls, and collaboration software. 

Communicate in Person

Despite being known for their frequent use of technology, Gen Z still values in-person communication. In fact, 84% of Gen Z prefers face-to-face interactions over text or email. Hence, it's essential to prioritize quick, daily, in-person conversations and check-ins.

Provide Feedback 

Surprisingly, 73% of Gen Z employees are more likely to leave if they don't receive frequent managerial feedback. To stay connected, many of them expect daily check-ins, either face-to-face or online, especially in remote work setups. These interactions help clear up any misunderstandings and keep them engaged. However, it still depends on the work environment and job responsibilities whether daily check-ins are possible or not.

5. Support Work-Life Balance

One of the primary concerns for the majority of Gen Z workers is achieving a healthy work-life balance. Hence, it’s no wonder that 74% of Gen Z employees would consider changing jobs in pursuit of better work-life balance. As an employer or manager, you can address this concern by providing flexible work schedules and remote work options. Additionally, you may encourage time off, offering wellness programs, and implementing other supportive measures.

To learn more about how to support work-life balance in the workplace, make sure to check out this post on five tips to achieve work-life balance in the workplace

6. Trust Your Gen Z Employees and Give Them Autonomy

According to a report, the younger generation considers trust as their top priority when it comes to their managers. Gen Z values their independence and self-sufficiency, and they don't prefer being constantly managed. While caring and support are the next important traits, it's crucial to maintain a balance between providing independence and being there for them.

Generally, it's recommended to adopt a supportive leadership style rather than micromanaging the Gen Z workforce. Some suggestions for implementing a supportive leadership style are conducting one-on-one feedback sessions and creating a workspace that offers privacy. Showing concern for employees’ personal lives while still respecting their boundaries is also essential for fostering trust and a positive work environment. Additionally, providing mentorship opportunities and regular check-ins can help them feel supported and valued in their roles.

7. Allow Gen Z Employees to Use Technology for Work

As mentioned before, Zoomers are known for their familiarity and comfort with technology and various apps. When managers afford Gen Z employees the chance to leverage these tools in the workplace, it can significantly boost their job satisfaction and maximize their potential. Doing so also showcases trust in their capability to introduce innovative ideas to the organization. 

Adapt to the Needs of Your Gen Z Staff With StaffConnect

Are you ready to empower your Gen Z staff like never before? Introducing StaffConnect, a cutting-edge business and staff management tool designed to meet the unique needs of today's workforce. 

With StaffConnect’s intuitive and mobile-friendly platform, your Gen Z team can effortlessly access information and utilize management tools for seamless staff and task management. Our app also features a communications hub, live chat, automatic reminders, and more communication tools to keep you connected with your team and provide real-time feedback. Plus, gain valuable insights into employee performance to identify areas for growth or reward top performers. 

Ready to experience the future of staff and business management? Book your free demo today to learn more!