By 2030, the number of Gen Z employees in the workforce is set to triple. As digital natives, this generation has an innate understanding of technology, but they’ve also faced huge challenges as they enter the workplace. The pandemic, for example, has created uncertainty about a physical office location, job security and hiring opportunities. Despite such events, however, there are still basic rules of thumb that should be upheld when engaging Gen Z employees. Knowing how you can best motivate and nurture your Gen Z colleagues will help them thrive.
1. Help them absorb your workplace culture.
As part of your onboarding process, consider using a buddy or mentor system to help new hires quickly become familiar with your processes. This relationship can work both ways, with Gen Z employees able to “reverse mentor” by helping more senior employees learn newer technology.
Use informal opportunities like a coffee break, as well as formal settings like meetings to communicate how things get done in your company. Reference examples of great work that reflects the values of your business to help employees understand how they can help you meet your specific targets. As new Gen Z employees join your organization, take the time to hold a full-staff meeting to showcase how team members all work together. Adding a new employee can change the dynamics of your organization, so make sure you schedule these meetings early on and often.
2. Make everyone feel supported.
Collectively, Gen Z have experienced the most trauma of any generation since the Great Depression and World War II. COVID-19 had a huge impact on Gen Z’s social and emotional development, and this needs to be remembered as they make their way into offices.
Despite this, Gen Z employees are usually very open about mental health. You can help your employees feel supported by modelling a healthy work-life balance yourself. Booking time off to attend your kid’s baseball game? Mark the specific reason that you’ll be out of the office on your calendar. Encourage your staff to take their PTO, and keep an eye out if anyone seems reluctant to book time off. Consider offering training around mental health awareness or implement an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to help support your employees further.
3. Work with purpose.
Most Gen Z employees enjoy working towards a purpose, and knowing how their time and energy is impacting your business vision can be a great motivator. Help to foster that connection by sharing how each employee’s work makes a real difference. Offering specific and measurable goals that can be tracked and assessed can also help Gen Z employees thrive.
Your Gen Z employees may also want to know what it will take for them to progress to the next level. Offer career frameworks that show what progression looks like in your company, including specific experiences that will help them reach the next level. Always link progress and purpose back to the “what” and the “how.” What do they need to accomplish and how should that be done in order to be successful? Revisiting these goals monthly can allow for accountability, but also flexibility.
On a final note
Building small changes into the way you do business can have a big impact as you welcome more Gen Z employees into your workforce. Listening with empathy, no matter the age of your employee, is a vital skill too. At the end of the day, each of your employees is a human being with unique needs and interests. Taking the time to connect with your people will help you build a better business, together.
Interested in learning more about how Vaya Group can help your Gen Z employees? Check out this article in HP Innovations Magazine (pp. 30–35), who interviewed me on this topic.
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Vayability is a leadership development platform built from the ground up to accelerate the development and business impact of emerging talent. Combining more than 20 years of executive learning, Vayability focuses on impactful leadership skills, personalized learning, live coaching, and measurable growth. Find out how top companies embrace success at vayability.net.
Written by Nicole Morris