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14 Ways Leaders Can Prepare For Generation Z’s

Generation Z thinks differently and approaches problems in a modern-age way. Managers must be therefore...
14 Ways Leaders Can Prepare For Generation Z's

With Generation Z reaching employable age, the expected influx of new workers presents a lot of potential benefits to the world of a business. However, equally as possible, it may bring with it its own challenges.

Compared to generations past, Generation Z thinks differently and even approaches problems in a manner unique to the experiences of the modern age. Leaders therefore need to figure out ways to adapt to this new influx of workers who are seeing through a different lens than they are.

To help, 14 members of Forbes Coaches Council share some tips for employers on preparing for new Gen Z workers and how they’ll affect the way business is run.

1. Don’t Make Assumptions

It’s hard to not categorize generations and their characteristics. Rather than overgeneralize, I think it’s important we recognize them by their work, effort and their energy—rather than assume we know what they want. As a millennial myself, it pains me when people think I want free beer, coffee and unlimited PTO—my business love language is money. Asking questions helps. – Maresa Friedman, Executive Cat Herder

2. Focus On The Essentials

As for all individuals and teams in the workplace, focus on giving deep insights, and guide individuals to personal satisfaction and their strengths. The focus on basic needs can be invaluable in gauging engagement, performance and what to change in the workplace to generate higher performance. It’s always about self-esteem (contribution), control, orientation, attachment, pleasure. – Cristian Hofmann, Empowering Executives | SUPERGROUP LTD

3. Understand What Motivates Them

If we thought millennials required adjusting to, just wait until Gen Z arrives. This generation is hyper-connected, setting new standards for off-hours communication. Their “whatever it takes” mindset will see them happy to work long hours, and I believe we’ll see more entrepreneurs coming through Gen Z than any before. Leaders will need to understand what motivates them and meet them there. – Shadé Zahrai, Influenceo Global Inc.

4. Adapt Or Die

The impact of Gen Z on the workforce will require organizations to become more flexible with work hours and adaptive to the unique needs of each employee. Leaders will need to become more comfortable with employees working from home. They will need to increase learning, push professional development and provide a steady stream of feedback that creates a highly supportive workplace culture. – David Liddell, Liddell Consulting Group LLC

5. Offer Creative And Situational Leadership

Gen Z will enter the workforce with less experience than previous generations, but will thrive in an intrapreneurial environment. With higher levels of anxiety, they will need environments that cultivate resilience and grit. With their higher levels of social connectedness, motivating with edgy and trendy products will work better than unique experiences. Creative and situational leadership will be required. – Dorothy Enriquez, The Communication Strategist

6. Embrace Multigenerational Diversity

There is a tremendous competitive advantage to building your institutional knowledge base by fostering the cross-pollination of multigenerational thinking. The Gen Zers have the synaptic horsepower but lack the experience and wisdom that can only be gained from the longevity of the previous generations. The amalgamation of these amazing life forces is the foundation for meaningful transformation. – Kevin Leonard, Emerald Bay Performance

7. Look At Life Through Their Lens

Gen Zers were born after the mid-1990s. Their life has always included a cell phone. YouTube is their go-to. Their schools had lockdown drills. They saw their parents struggle through the financial crisis. They think and connect globally and value diversity and inclusion. If this was your world experience, what would you need? Think authenticity, transparency, fulfillment and profitability. – Lynda Reid, EdD, PCC, Kusala LLC

8. Let Them Know Their Work Matters

Younger workers want their work to matter. They want to make a difference and contribute to society versus just collecting a paycheck or punching a clock. A good manager needs to take this into account to help drive engagement. If younger workers believe in the vision of an organization, they are more likely to take on additional responsibilities, above and beyond their specific job description. – G. Riley Mills, Pinnacle Performance Company

9. Tap Into Their Fresh Perspectives

Gen Z reminds us to focus on quality versus quantity, inclusion versus exclusion, smart work versus hard work. Leadership can enhance this fresh perspective to become innovative and efficient, making them viable collaborators to companies. – Gwen Dittmar, Gwen Dittmar Consulting, Inc

10. Listen And Keep Asking Questions

With Gen Z prepping to enter the workforce, businesses need to prepare for their arrival. This generation is going to be a generation that is really smart and diligent, forward-thinking and tech savvy. They will come equipped with nuanced ideas that will accelerate business growth over the next decade. Leaders must ask them a lot of questions and actively listen to their answers and ideas. – Jon Dwoskin, The Jon Dwoskin Experience

11. Focus On Transparency

As Gen Z enters the workforce, they will force organizations to be transparent; they will choose culture and purpose above everything else. They will push organizations to recruit based on the results rather than based on degrees. Eventually, this will push to level the corporate hierarchies. – Sudhakar Reddy Gade, Nirvedha Executive Coaching Solutions Pvt Ltd

12. Harness Their Sense Of Impatience

Gen Zers have a sense of impatience that, when harnessed, can drive a lot of creativity and measurable achievements. Much has been written about their passion for purpose and, while I find this holds true, it’s important to also note that they want to get things done, and are focused on impact—for themselves and the world. They are about movement, in all the senses of that word. Tap into it! – Joanne Heyman, Heyman Partners

13. Provide Growth And Development Opportunities

Too much is made of the differences between generations, but not enough of what is exactly the same. All generations want a context with safety and trust. They want to leave work each day feeling they’ve made a difference and have had positive interactions. They want to continue to grow and develop. Align your organization for this, at every age. – Dr. Joel M. Rothaizer, MCC, Clear Impact Consulting Group

14. Recognize The Speed Of Communication

Gen Z operates in an environment of rapid information flow. They tend to share quickly and broadly. Some say they overshare; however, this is a matter of perspective. Recognize how this will manifest itself in the workplace. Information will flow quickly, through multiple channels. The need for honesty, transparency and timely communications will increase—many back channels will be in place. – Faith Fuqua-Purvis, Synergetic Solutions LLC

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