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How will you manage Gen Z?

6 months ago by Daniel Stargatt
How will you manage Gen Z

We recently wrote an article Gen Z: Are you ready for the new generation? In this article we gave an overview of what traits to expect from this new generation. We also mentioned that the leading edge of Gen Z are already in the workplace, given that the birth years of this generation fall between 1995-2015. So now is the time to prepare your business.

Given the traits we discussed in the previous article, we thought it would be useful to discuss how this new generation could and should be managed to help develop and progress them within your business. Although the below points are suggestions, and you will obviously develop your own way of successfully managing Gen Z, we have focussed on what we believe are key areas given what we already know about Gen Z.

Face to face communication

The key thing to understand here is this generation has grown up using smart phones from an early age. Keeping in touch with friends and family using this device be it via text or other forms of social media has been one of the main forms of communication, so it is no surprise that they crave a more face to face relationship with their manager. No doubt you already communicate with your people in this manner, but for this generation it really is going to be crucial.

Another thing to consider is this generation are accustomed to 24/7 access to information. They are used to getting what they want quickly, from news to streaming their favourite shows, so have in mind how frequently you will feedback to them or even just check in with them… will a monthly catch up cut it with this generation? Probably not.

Give them independence

There have been many studies on how this generation will interact with their peers in the workplace and a recent survey by Gen Z Guru showed that 50% of Gen Z would prefer their own office at work. You can read this in a few ways, but the way we have interpretted it is that they crave independence.

Also, considering a point in the previous article we wrote, where we discussed that this generation is more competitive and have a go-getter attitude, maybe offering more independence, within reason, would help to engage this generation and get the best out of them.

If you can’t give them independence within a project due to their level of experience and knowledge, you could give them a side project to work on to help give them a sense of independence and also help them learn… just an idea!

Focus on developing their cognitive skills

As mentioned in the first point, this generation has grown up with advanced technology at their finger tips. They can do pretty much anything with their smartphone. Due to this, many studies have shown that this generation has seen a negative impact on key cognitive skills, such as communication, critical thinking and problem solving. So this really is an area where managers will need to focus on to help develop these skills to help develop and progress them.

Help them to collaborate

Gen Z are a far more entrepreneurial generation. A recent survey by Gen Z Guru showed that 72% wanted to start their own business. This could be due to many of the key figures in this generation being social influencers, or possible down to technology allowing this generation to more easily launch their own company. Whatever it is, it has led to this generation being far less willing or skilled at working collaboratively.

We’re not saying that you should change the way your business does things and how your team works together. We’re merely saying that this is something to consider when managing this generation. It will be down to you as a manger to help this generation become better at collaborating and seeing the benefits of doing so. A healthy balance between independent and team work would work well.

Summary

It’s important when considering how to manage this new generation not to think “They will just need to fit into how we do things”. You can’t change a generation and given their birth years, this generation will be entering the workplace for many years to come.

This generation have been exposed to things such as advanced technology, recession and huge political changes and guess what, it’s shaped the way they see the world and the workplace. So it’s up to us to help facilitate and get the best out of them. Although we have focussed on potential problem areas in this article, this generation are absolutely willing to work hard and to learn. Their career and salary is one of the primary goals due to the hard economical time they have grown up in. So now really is the time to get started on designing ways to help develop and progress this exciting new generation.

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