The bulk of generational conversations highlight differences in the workplace. GenZ are no different. However, these discussions fail to show how to create healthy relationships.
The generation most talked about is Millennials and them entering the workforce. It turns out though; Millennials are no longer entering the workforce — they are now managing it! Moreover, we know plenty about our new millennial managers, we know less about who they are going to lead.
Generation Z (born 1994-2010) started to enter the workforce in 2016. There are 61 million GenZ are about to enter the US workforce, a group larger than GenX and two-thirds the size of the baby boomers.
Post-Millennials comprise 26% of the total US population and are the largest segment by numbers. By 2020 GenZ will make-up about one-third of the population. Within the next decade, they will likely outpace Millennials as the most significant generation in the US labour force. With all the Millennial fanfare, it is easy to overlook GenZ.
GenZ have lived a much different life than their parents and millennials
They cannot remember a life without a smartphone in their hand — and they have limited memory of the 9/11 attacks, beyond the classroom.
These GenZ have seen their parents struggle financially [due to the recession and student loan crisis], so parents are having conversations about finances, money, and debt with kids earlier. They're having conversations older generations never really had before." — Denise Villa, The Center for Generational Kinetics
The information technology revolution is complete. Millennials were the transition. GenZ are all the way there. They have never known a world in which one could not be in conversation with anyone, anywhere, anytime, and they will master this connectivity.
I have written about preparing the digital natives for success as 65 percent of children entering school today will work in jobs that do not currently exist. GenZ are assets that many industries do not even know they need yet.
Companies looking to recruit and keep them may need to adjust their talent management processes. Hiring GenZ will need more of a marketing effort by companies.
One of the things we do is sell our culture. It seems to be that this generation is first and foremost looking for the best cultural fit for them. They're looking for a company where they're not just a number, but they're somewhere they can contribute to the company." — Ryan Marshall, Convergint Technologies
The key to hiring GenZ is less about benefits packages and more about the day-to-day work experience. GenZ looks for a fun place to work, with a flexible schedule and paid time off. However, while they want to have fun, that does not mean they are not serious.
GenZ want to work. They want to do an outstanding job in their position. They are not looking at climbing the corporate ladder quickly. GenZ are looking at getting value.
They want to be socially connected with everyone. They want to be socially connected with their boss as well." — Heather Watson, Center for Generational Kinetics
GenZ are very savvy with technology. They pick up on things quickly and can contribute to the business and the bottom line. However, many need training on the skills that boomers and millennials take for granted, like handling calls and writing emails.
For GenZ, it has been less about face-to-face communications. They generally communicate via text, emoji and video. They are unprepared for a field such as customer service, where they could interact with irate people.
The entry of GenZ into the workforce will dramatically shift the employer/employee relationship. The line between work and life will fade.
Managers say it will be more challenging to manage and train GenZ employees than older generations, since they are not as savvy at social interaction, according to a national survey by APPrise Mobile. Almost one-third of millennial respondents say that it will be more difficult to manage employees from GenZ compared to older generations. Moreover, 28 percent say it will be more challenging to train GenZ employees.
David and Jonah Stillman warn against repeating the historical mistakes made when transitioning from Boomers to GenX or GenX to Millennials in their book GenZ @ Work: How the next generation is transforming the workplace.
The risk in not getting to know GenZ is that we will simply treat them like Millennials. Big mistake and it’s one that we’ve made before.” — David and Jonah Stillman
Furthermore, it will be even a more significant problem if Millennial managers make the same mistake in managing GenZ as their managers made.
With the generational transition occurring, those who need-to-know are scurrying to understand the differences between Millennials and GenZ. Here are a few insights into the nuances and differences between them,
- GenZ are pragmatic. Millennials are idealistic.
- GenZ are authentic to a whole new level - more transparent and values-driven than predecessors.
- GenZ want individuality. They are less focused and better at multi-tasking than previous generations.
- role hoping to job hopping
- on demand versus formal education
- face-to-face versus digital means of communicating
- independence over collaboration
Effective working relationships
At the core of all effective working relationships is the frequent practice of knowing and being known. When the managerial relationship focuses on the difference, the leader in power knows their subordinate. However, they're subordinate only knows about their superior. All too often subordinates knowledge about their superiors is gleaned from leaders other than their direct manager.
Whether you lead Boomers, GenX, Millennials or GenZ, the managerial conversation must move from difference to what brings you both together. Our behavioural analytics provide insights to help both the managers of GenZ and the GenZ themselves.
Managers and GenZ are in this together. When your managerial interactions focused on your differences, each of you will look for data to reinforce your case. You miss all that you have in common. The best way to build togetherness is to define the value you are capable of generating and why it is more effective to create it together.
Move beyond me/your distinctions. Ensure the “us” of your working relationship centres on value creation — value on behalf of your division, department, function or company. Aligning on the potential value between you creates motivation and business rationale outside of your individuality to work together.
Different type of training is required
When you are thinking about retention and training, think about the soft skills your new GenZ need to be successful. They want to come in and do an excellent job. They need some of the skills we grew up with that they did not.
Training will have to take place in different ways. Short YouTube-like instructional videos are especially useful.
Expect to give and take
One-size-fits-all does not work when it comes to managers helping their teams succeed. However, the imbalance in power between the manager and the GenZ often renders the managerial relationship one-sided. You may have to overemphasize how “moving forward requires both of us to give a little.”
In the past, you may manage best with formal email communication. You may like to track leaders’ progress via well thought out status updates. These emails — both ways — are in complete sentences with correct punctuation.
However, you need to create space for GenZ to use pithy emoji-based updates and unannounced drop-ins. You must be available on the fly to go deep on the topic. If you are one-sided and overly verbose, the GenZ you manage may respond – TL:d/r (too long didn’t read).
Celebrate your togetherness
A long journey is made up of many short steps. Keep an eye out for the little wins along the way. Call attention to how those wins are shaping the interactions and outcomes between you and those you lead. It is often the mundane that binds people together. This togetherness plays a role in shaping the future relationship you both desire.
These concepts create “togetherness” among all leadership relationships. However, they are particularly timely for the relationship between Millennials and GenZ. Millennials have been known to jump from one job to the next. However, that is changing as they establish roots.
GenZ will likely stay where they are, opting for new roles in existing companies. Both generations are staying put for a more extended period than in the past. Companies cannot afford to overlook this opportunity. In the past, if the relationship did not work, you looked for something else. Today that is not the case.
Become a partner
Be patient. Be excited. Embrace them. Learn from them. At the same time, be prepared to teach them. Ignore stereotypes. Remember that there once was an older generation that viewed you with the same concerns. And, be open to learning from everyone, younger and older. — Jeff Corbin, APPrise Mobile
When you lead GenZ, you are managing their performance and coaching their life as well. They want buddies and friends, which goes against everything taught in management classes. GenZ wish to be connected with everyone. They want to be socially connected with you, their boss as well.
GenZ want feedback regularly — having been raised in an instant-reaction world (with Likes and other social media rewards). Forty percent say they want daily interactions with their boss. If they do not get it, they may think they have done something wrong.
Managing GenZ requires you to leverage their behavioural strengths. You need to teach them how to manage their challenge areas that are necessary for them to be a high-performer. Using our behavioural DNA insights is the secret to quickly making GenZ contributors to your bottom-line. Also, the information lets you provide specific development opportunities.
Remember, they will prefer to role hop with you rather that job-hop.
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