How To Work with Gen Z Co-Workers

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You don’t need to know the latest TikTok trend (see: “It’s Corn Kid”) to understand why Gen Z is setting a new standard for work-life balance. Many Gen Z behaviors in the workplace are interpreted as lazy or out of place. But they may not be any less prolific – just less traditional.

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“This generation has not experienced a pre-pandemic work environment,” said Laura Mills, head of early career insights at Forage. “Generation Z has been forced to try and learn unspoken workplace etiquette while working remotely and trying to learn their jobs and form new relationships.”

Think about it: Gen Z didn’t have the easiest career ladder to climb. If they completed a four-year college program, they were most likely graduating from a global pandemic and economic dry spell. A hiring freeze was imposed on many organizations unsure of their own fate after the pandemic. Those Zoomers finally finding their way into the workforce in 2022 have just been hit by another economic recession.

According to a 2022 Deloitte survey, 29 percent of Zoomers say covering living expenses is their top concern, with nearly half of Zoomers surveyed saying they live paycheck to paycheck. In short, they go through there.

At a company that creates free virtual work experience programs for students, Mills sees the changes Gen Z is bringing to the workplace. “This generation has lived through political uncertainty, countries at war, a global pandemic and civil unrest,” Mills said. “You’ve seen the unexpected become reality time and time again. As a result, Gen Z has developed a healthy skepticism.”

Gen Z employees want a sense of community and opportunities to grow at the right company. Not only do they want to fit in well with their workplace—they want their job to fit in with their life as well. Working with the next generation? Follow these tips for effectively managing and collaborating with Gen Z employees.

Set clear expectations

The misconception that Gen Z employees are lazy or less proactive than previous generations in the workforce could stem from a larger issue with the way companies work.

“Gen Z is bringing real change to the workplace,” Mills said. “They are fed up with a world where productivity is more important than sanity, and they are leading the initiative towards a healthier workplace.”

Veteran professionals and mental health professionals have jumped on the viral trend of mentoring young professionals to create a better work-life balance. This includes clearly and effectively communicating expectations from both their managers and their employees.

If the company says it does business between 9am and 5pm, you better prepare for your Gen Z colleague being offline at 5:01am. As you add tasks to their workload, you may be reminded if those tasks don’t fall under what was stated in their job description.

Don’t expect Gen Z employees to stay long if they’re constantly expected to do more than they’ve agreed to.

As a colleague, make an effort to understand the role and current workload of your other Gen Z colleague. If you’re collaborating on a project, meet with them and your manager to break down what tasks best fit each of your roles.

As a manager, pay attention to whether a Gen Z employee has more on their plate than they initially expected. Mills said that proper recognition can motivate Gen Z employees to keep doing their best work, but have a sense of when a reassessment of their pay or role might be appropriate. If you wait too long they may leave before they come to you to ask.

“They seek authenticity from their manager,” Mills said. “An effective leadership style when working with Gen Z employees would be transparency, understanding, and frequent feedback.”

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Look at the company culture

According to Deloitte, 46 percent of Gen Z workers feel burned out because of the intensity or demands of their work environment. These feelings could be compounded by the isolation that remote or hybrid work can create.

Dan Manian, co-founder and CEO of the workplace relationship-building tool Donut, said belonging is a key tenet Gen Z strives for in the workplace.

“While nurturing friendships might seem out of the reach of an employer, it plays a big part in how people feel about their workplace,” Manian said. “Whether or not someone makes friends at work can affect overall bonding, productivity, and happiness. In fact, employees who report lower levels of connection at work have a 313 percent higher intention to quit.”

But companies can retain Gen Z workers and help them thrive by fostering a sense of community in the workplace. Consider utilizing mentoring programs and prioritize time for team building in your work environment, even if meeting remotely.

let them grow

Although Gen Zs are twice as likely to leave their current job in the next month, they could stay to seize the opportunity to grow with your business.

According to a report by Lever, 36 percent of Gen Zs are likely to ask for a role change at their company. Opportunities for further training or retraining, e.g. B. Professional development courses and clear upward mobility can be motivating factors for Gen Z employees.

So don’t leave the “Where do you see yourself in five years?” interview question. As a manager, look for opportunities to engage with your Gen Z peers about their career goals and interests and find ways to grow them within your organization.

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This article originally appeared on How To Work with Gen Z Co-Workers

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