OPINION: Gen Z is entering the workforce with a strong sense of self-awareness and a desire for work/life balance. They are also more likely to speak up about their needs and set boundaries than previous generations.
By leading from example, employers can retain, engage and support Gen Z workers to thrive in the workplace, advocate for themselves, and set boundaries in a way that maintains good relationships with employers and peers, and ensures that the work gets done to a high standard. Here are some key ways employers can do this by internationally certified leadership and team coach and founder of Human Focus Consulting, Frances Bearne:
Create a positive feedback culture
To create an engaging and innovative environment employers must be open to feedback from all employees – including from Gen Z. Equally employees must be open to receiving feedback themselves in order to learn and grow. A key part of cultivating a positive feedback culture where everyone can provide and receive feedback in a way that strengthens relationships rather build conflict or resentment is by investing in training or other means such as open communication channels, mentorship programmes or professional development, so there is a common language and understanding of how to do this.
Teach them to seek win:win
While setting boundaries and asking for their needs to be met is often a trait seen within Gen Z, encouraging employees to think about the specific wider benefits to others – their team, clients or customers and the bottom line, when positioning their requests will help them to find solutions that is in the best interests of you both, as well as wider stakeholders.
Create good change management and communication, involving Gen Z in the process
Proactive communication about workplace changes or updates are essential for Gen Z to thrive in the workplace. They have grown up with the internet and social media, which has made them more adaptable and comfortable communicating with others and accustomed to having regular access to what’s happening in their environment. It’s important to involve team members in the change process, getting their input and ideas, discussing the impacts of any workplace changes and exploring alternatives whenever possible – highlighting positive impacts to employees and the business (creating that win: win).
Incorporating technology as well as traditional means to communicate is important given Gen Z’s propensity to look to technology first for communication
This could include using social media, video conferencing, slack, teams, Google workspace or other communication tools that Gen Z employees are familiar with to ensure that any communication lands when it needs to, in the most effective way.
Celebrate successes along the way
This will help to keep employees, particularly Gen Z motivated and engaged. One of the key differences between Gen Z and previous generations is that Gen Z is more likely to value praise and recognition. They grew up in a world where they were constantly bombarded with feedback, both positive and negative. Research tells us that this has made them more adept at processing feedback, and it has also made them more likely to consistently seek out positive feedback. For Gen Z, celebrating success is not just about acknowledging their accomplishments, but also about validating their contributions. When Gen Z employees feel like their hard work is acknowledged and appreciated, they are more likely to be motivated and connected to their colleagues and the organisation as a whole – helping them thrive, engage, and perform even better.
By following these tips, you can support Gen Zers to advocate for themselves and create a workplace that works for them, while still maintaining good relationships with their leaders and employers’