In previous articles on Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y/Millennials, we've highlighted the characteristics and best management strategies for these generations of workers. Now we turn our focus to Generation Z.
While employers have been working hard to understand and appreciate their Generation Y workers for years, now they have an entirely new generation to engage with: Generation Z employees. Generation Z, much like the Millennials, aren't always easy to figure out. And if you aren't doing what you can to tap into and leverage their unique contributions, you may find it difficult to retain these highly valuable employees.
Generation Z workers are essentially the future of your company. While they likely don't hold important positions in your business yet, you can groom them so they are ready to take on those roles in the future. They can teach smaller businesses how to create an impression on customers and have the impact of a much larger company. They also adopt new technology faster than before and set the pace for what everyone wants but doesn't know how to voice.
Who Are Generation Z Workers?
Generation Z employees were born between 1995 and 2012. Right now they comprise about 7 percent of the workforce, but by 2019 it is estimated that 30 million will be employed. This generation has grown up with uncertainty and often has more radical differences than the other generations.
Generation Z employees are highly energetic and enthusiastic, but many lack the social skills you would expect from employees--including those who entered the workforce at a young age.
What Generation Z Workers Expect From Management
Generation Z workers typically connect via smartphones and other portable devices. They like information at their fingertips at all times, and don't handle it well when they have to wait to receive an answer. They are used to constant streams of data, which means they expect management to provide them with instant access to the information they need.
While Generation Z workers are high maintenance, they're good employees as long as their unique needs are met.
Tips for Managing Generation Z Employees
To bring this generation of workers up and help them grow within your company, you must:
- Create high-intensity relationships: They react better to highly defined, small workgroups that have a strong peer leader. There must be an easy to identify chain of command when it comes to management. They respond best to managers that teach while leading.
- Invest in training: Generation Z workers may need more training, especially in the area of interpersonal and communication skills. If they're entering customer service positions, create a training program that focuses on behavior--showing them the right skills and communication techniques to fulfill the role of their job.
- Provide lots of awards: This generation has grown up used to rewards for even the smallest accomplishment. To encourage performance and growth, offer periodical rewards and continue redesigning the rewards to meet the changing expectations.
- Offer dream positions: Generation Z workers thrive on opportunity. If you want to keep them interested and motivated at your company, show them their dream position is within your business and help them work toward getting there.
Margaret Jacoby, SPHR, is the founder and president of MJ Management Solutions,a human resources consulting firm that provides small businesses with a wide range of virtual and onsite HR solutions to meet their immediate and long-term needs. From ensuring legal compliance to writing customized employee handbooks to conducting sexual harassment training, businesses depend on our expertise and cost-effective human resources services to help them thrive. This article first appeared on the MJ Management Solutions blog.