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How to Work with the Younger Generation as a Senior Executive

If you are wondering how to work with the younger generation, then you are not alone. The younger generation, known as ‘Gen Z’, are those individuals who are born between the years 1997 and 2012, and are going to eventually overtake millennials as the world’s fastest-growing generation. Despite the fact that the eldest among them are starting their careers in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and widespread economic downturns, they are set to change the future of employment in significant ways.

They have been nurtured by parents and teachers to follow their career passions, unlike previous generations who expected employment to pay the bills, support leisure and lifestyle and only rarely provide for a calling or a passion. This younger generation is naturally restless, perplexed, and out of sorts on a regular basis, especially if their entry-level jobs do not fulfill their desire for meaning and purpose. They may be particularly uneasy about situations they have not encountered at school, such as witnessing how authority may be abused or how business practices do not always match official statements. To understand how to work with the younger generation, you need to first understand how this generation is different from the ones before them.

To understand how to work with the younger generation, you need to first understand how this generation is different from the ones before them.

  • Rather than sharing a workstation with others, they like to have their own working space, but they do enjoy collaboration.
  • They were born in the digital era and have had access to the internet at all times since a very young age.
  • They prefer non-traditional education such as learning from observation, YouTube tutorials, or on-the-job training.
  • They are interested in changing roles and acquiring new skills and knowledge or taking on projects outside of their current job position; they are also interested in innovation and development.

This younger generation or Gen Z is made up of technologically skilled, idealists, and realists. As a senior executive about to work with this younger generation that will revise the entire workforce, you must adapt in order to prepare your organization for this new wave of workers. Here is how you can effectively attract and retain Gen Z talent;

1. Make job postings brief and interesting

When considering how to work with the younger generation, consider that they are constantly inundated with information online. So, you must ensure that your job posts capture and hold their attention. To do this, keep it brief, interesting, and mobile- or tablet-friendly. Try to include a video that provides potential applicants with information about life at your organization, like interviews from current workers or a tour of the workplace. Video job advertisements are a great method to get the attention of a younger generation that grew up watching videos on YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram.

2. Provide opportunities for growth

Many organizations aim to entice Gen Z applicants by providing benefits such as limitless coffee or daily lunch. While attractive benefits may help you stand out, growth possibilities are what will truly attract and keep Gen Z applicants, not frivolous perks. As much as the younger generation in general has acquired a reputation of not wanting to put in enough hours of work, Gen Z is very attracted to learning new things, working on their skills and producing good work so use those positives to your advantage.

3. Make use of technology

Having grown up with smartphones and technology in their hands, they are accustomed to using it to perform activities and solve problems, whether that maybe purchasing groceries or a project. So, embracing technology that improves convenience and that helps drive progress will help attract Gen Z workers. Consider using project management software, even a simple chat tool like Slack may help individuals and teams communicate more effectively. Because most Gen Z are so technologically aware, they can even promote technologies that can help you enhance your business, so listen to what they have to say when they suggest automation ideas.

4. Adapt to a more flexible working environment

Gen Z’s are following in the footsteps of the millennials, who want their work to be completely flexible. This generation has grown up and been educated in a world where everyone has access to the internet and can communicate instantly thanks to mobile phones. So, if your organization is still focused on getting permanent workers and correlating performance with being in the office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, then this generation will not be attracted to your company. Instead, ask open-ended questions and pay attention to what they are looking for in terms of flexibility. Flexibility does not mean skirting work to them. A large part of the answer to how to work with the younger generation lies here. They desire to be evaluated based on results rather than time. They have a much higher value attached to good work than the generations before them. So, rather than demanding 40 hours a week of their time, if you can give them a delivery-based contract or allow them to work anywhere and at any time, you will be more likely to attract them – and get the best out of them in the long term.

Having a flexible work environment will result in creating a more productive and pleasant workplace environment not only for this generation but for everyone. It just takes some getting accustomed to. In addition, your younger generation employees will be able to accomplish more in less time and have greater control over their schedule. You can assist them in being more productive and flexible in their job.

5. Encourage their independence and commercial drive

As previously mentioned, Gen Z excels in identifying problems and resolving them independently by searching the internet for tutorials. They give high importance to their independence, so keep that in mind when working with them. Look for ways to help them become more self-sufficient. They are accustomed to having a great deal of freedom in how they function. You will get the best results if you provide the conditions for them to accept responsibility and feedback for what they do and how they do it. Offer them opportunities for personal expression and the possibility to make a difference in the world; this will encourage them to invest in even the aspects of the job that they do not really enjoy.

6. Work on diversity and inclusion at the workplace

Another action that can help with how to work with the younger generation, is working on diversity and inclusion. Even if it is not a sudden change for the better, this generation will recognize that you are making the effort to be better. Diversity not only makes your firm more appealing to this generation, but it is also a crucial component of your staff retention strategy. Managers should examine their promotion process to ensure that it meets the expectations that young employees have. As a leader you must establish procedures that accommodate these diversities in order to retain a productive and inclusive staff. Millennials were born before the internet, while Gen Zs are taught to use touch screens as toddlers. So consider providing training options that allow more experienced employees to educate their co-workers. This can help bridge the generational knowledge divide.

7. Take care of their mental health

Make sure that your employees’ mental health is taken care of. Lowering mental health could be due to various factors, but this can negatively affect the quality of work by an individual. It is a rise in awareness and that makes Generation Z pay close attention to matters of mental health. Employers who show they care about mental health concerns are increasingly in demand. Employees who are under a lot of stress are more likely to miss days of work, feel disengaged, and quit their employment sooner than those who are not. Having an effective mental health management program in place at your firm is critical for retaining top personnel.

8. Try to retain Gen Z employees

Demonstrate your values and sincerity to keep the young employees you desire. This generation did not grow up with a sense of hierarchy, and corporate positions and titles. So a mere title is not enough to gain the respect of 20-somethings; they want their bosses to be respected as people. Managers who are willing to shed titles and the associated ego, can act as mentors and figure out what motivates each individual and then connect that motivation to the manager’s and organization’s values. This will have a huge chance of cementing relationships and inspiring productivity and growth; when this generation is inspired, they will work incredibly hard to meet your agreed-upon objectives.

When it comes to managing multiple generations, as it is currently with 4 generation in the workforce, it is important to remember that everyone within those different age groups is unique, so even if you’re attempting to recruit and retain Gen Z talent, it is still worthwhile to apply a personalized approach.

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