Managing a Gen Z workforce means committing to a new leadership style.
When asked what they value most in a leader, one study found Gen Z prioritise empathy and honesty at the top of their list. This generation wants their boss to be transparent, supportive, and respectful of what they have to say.
At the same time, Gen Zers want their workplace to be an environment infused with innovation and opportunity. They want to explore flexible working practices and work with the latest technology available in their field. Here are some of the most important points leaders will need to consider when managing a Gen Z workforce.
1. Prioritise Collaboration and Communication
Gen Z values social interaction. This generation was raised in the age of social media, and they like being constantly connected to the people they work with. As such, business leaders in the industry will need to create a culture of team spirit, camaraderie, and collaboration.
For Gen Z, collaboration and communication doesn't always have to take place on a face-to-face basis. These employees are just as happy connecting with their colleagues over video conferences and phone calls, and they like having access to instant messaging applications.
To create a sense of transparency within the workplace, business leaders must ensure they're open and consistent with their communication strategies. Keeping employees regularly updated on the latest business developments will make them feel more secure.
2. Allow for Independence and Autonomy
Gen Zers are ambitious individuals who like having their own independence. Although they appreciate feedback and guidance from leaders, they also want the room to explore their own strategies and work how they feel most comfortable. This means leaders will need to give their Gen Z employees ownership over their projects.
Allowing team members to choose their schedules or suggest their methods of tackling projects will make them feel more respected and engaged in their work. Gen Z should have access to plenty of tools for independent research and opportunities to share their thoughts and insights with leadership and other team members regularly.
3. Implement Strategies for Work-Life Balance
Burnout and stress have been significant problems for the millennial group, with around 28% saying they suffer from this issue regularly in the workplace. Generation Z has learned from the struggles of their parents and now prioritises work-life balance more than most.
81% of Gen Z employees say flexibility in choosing how and when they work is important. Many team members in the current landscape expect access to fully remote or hybrid working strategies. Some Gen Zers are also becoming more interested in the concept of the 4-day work week, so they have more time to recover from their time in the office.
To appeal to Gen Z employees and keep them happy, managers will have to offer various working styles outside the standard 9-to-5 experience. It will also be important for leadership to encourage good work-life balance among team members by convincing them to take regular breaks and manage their schedules effectively.
4. Embrace New Technology
Gen Z and technology go hand-in-hand as the first generation to enter the workforce with no memory of a time before social media and Wi-Fi. This means companies hoping to attract and engage a new era of Gen Z employees will need to be digitally savvy.
Managers can improve their Gen Z staff's productivity and performance by implementing tools that help these team members manage their work. Productivity and project management apps, collaboration tools, and video conferencing services will all be crucial.
To keep Gen Z employees happy, business leaders must also ensure they're regularly updating and improving their technology stack. This means implementing new software and services as they emerge and even investing in a cloud environment for software. Collecting feedback from employees on the tools they prefer to use will help to guide successful investments.
5. Empathise with Mental Health Needs
Empathy is everything to Gen Z employees. Around 82% of employed Gen Zers today say it's important for managers to offer "mental health days" when they're feeling burned out or stressed. Gen Z staff members want to know that their business leaders are committed to keeping them happy and healthy.
Business leaders in the sector will have to look for ways to showcase their empathy. For instance, it might be useful to implement a wellness strategy in the workplace which focuses on giving team members ways to manage stress and avoid burnout.
Offering certain perks like access to counselling, more vacation days when employees feel overwhelmed at work, and competitive salaries to address financial concerns will be a good way to attract and retain Gen Z employees.
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