5 Ways to Connect with Gen Z Workers as Businesses Begin Rehiring
For a long time, Millennials have been at the heart of intergenerational workplace talk. The oldest of these workers are now in their mid-30s and, in a lot of ways, they’ve gotten a bad rap. But skilled managers have been able to meet Millennials where they are and appreciate what they bring to the table.
Now a new generation is entering the workforce: Gen Z. Born between 1995 and 2015, the oldest of these workers are in their mid-20s. Armed with lessons learned from managing Millennials, workplace leaders would do well to take a moment and consider how to engage Gen Z and integrate their skills and personalities into a growing workforce as you reopen and start hiring.
Right now, it would be smart to get your head and heart aligned with what it takes to attract and manage people from diverse experiences and walks of life. Don’t wait until the only applicants you have are Gen Z. Here are five strategies to help you connect with younger workers.
1) Get the tech right…
One trait that marks Gen Z is the fact that most of them grew up on technology. Unlike their older Millennial counterparts, members of Gen Z do not remember a time without the Internet. Many of them don’t remember a time without social media. They are true online natives, and they’ve been using computers since before grade school.
To attract these Gen Z workers, make sure your online presence is on point. Your website and social media content must hit all the right notes to avoid appearing out of touch. The workplace should also incorporate cutting-edge technology to keep Gen Z workers engaged.
2) …But tech isn’t everything
While Gen Z places value on technology and online interactions and have been immersed in tech all their lives, they also know and appreciate the value of face-to-face interactions. They’ve realized there is something special about talking in person, which they miss out on from everything happening online. So build in personal interactions to appeal to this aspect of Gen Z workers. Meetings, brainstorming sessions, and one-on-one check-ins are all vital to effectively integrating and managing Gen Z employees.
3) Let them take ownership
Gen Z is also marked by a DIY, entrepreneurial spirit. Since many of them remember the Great Recession and the myriad startups and gig economy that followed, they’re willing to work hard, take initiative, and build something new. Put that drive to work for your organization by letting Gen Z workers take ownership of projects. Give them an end goal and see where their ingenuity and tenacity take you.
4) Don’t micromanage
Letting them take ownership really means letting them take ownership. Don’t micromanage Gen Z workers. This is a generation of problem-solvers who won’t thrive in a micromanaged workplace. Place value on their independence and treat them as equals instead of kids. You might benefit from reimagining your role, becoming more of a coach and mentor and less of a boss.
5) Have a purpose
Generation Z as a whole is extremely socially conscious. Their global connections through social media mean they’re more immersed in social causes than previous generations. Gen Z workers want their work to mean something bigger. They want to be part of an organization that makes a difference.
To fulfill this drive and keep Gen Z engaged in the workplace, take time to hone your company’s mission. What is your higher purpose? Identify that higher purpose and put in place real, tangible actions for all employees, including Gen Z, to support it. That higher purpose will give their work for you added meaning, and they’ll be more focused, engaged and fulfilled.
If you’re going to stay relevant in a changing world, your organization needs younger workers. But ultimately, it doesn’t matter what generation they’re born into. Great team members come from all backgrounds, ages, and walks of life. No workplace is one-size-fits-all. It’s a balancing act of hiring the right people for your company culture and adapting the workplace to engage and fulfill the people you hire. Be flexible, know your people, and make changes where they’re needed.
A stellar manager will recognize the different personalities, backgrounds, and needs present in the workplace, and work to keep all team members at peak engagement and performance. Keep learning, keep moving forward, and your organization will thrive.
Charles Bonfiglio is president and CEO of Tint World, a provider of automotive, residential, commercial, and marine window tinting and security film services. With Automotive Styling Centers in the U.S. and abroad, each franchise location houses approximately 20 profit centers, ranging from in-store accessory installations to offsite sales and installation.
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