Gen Z

How to Help Managers Lead Gen Z Employees

The Great Resignation has highlighted the importance of employee retention, but do you know which employees you need to engage the most? What should managers do? Gen Z employees are leading the mass workforce exodus. According to a study conducted by Adobe, about 59% of them aren’t satisfied with their jobs and want to switch employers in 2022. In other words, most of your young employees are probably eager to quit.

The onus is on you to keep them engaged. However, it can be tough to understand and meet the demands, actions, and needs of the newest entrants to the workforce. Generation Z team members are redefining success and challenging workplace norms, including paid time off and emoji usage. Unsurprisingly, their willingness to push back is irritating to managers who aren’t used to such boldness. Yet it’s up to those managers to initiate the necessary changes during this transitional time.

Management Skills That Improve Gen Z Retention

To be sure, I’m not defending every Gen Z worker’s choice. At the same time, I would like to remind you that this type of generational struggle isn’t new. Millennials rocked the boat vigorously with their “every day’s a casual day” attitude. Now, Millennials are the ones in charge — and they’re encountering the same struggles they caused their managers way back when.

Your role is to help your managers be the best possible bosses to their Gen Z employees. Equip them with the tools and training they need to successfully guide the next generation of workers. It’s not reasonable to blame managers for failing to retain young talent if you haven’t given them any assistance.

How Can you Mentor Your Managers?

Strive to boost their acumen in the following areas:

1. Empathy: Look beyond the employee to discover their story.

You might expect your Millennial managers to get along with Gen Z workers because they were young once, too. But guess what? We are tunnel-visioned creatures who tend to embellish and exaggerate our memories. This kills our ability to empathize.

To counter this, remember what Mr. Rogers taught people: “You can learn to love anyone if you just listen to their story.” Your managers might never fully understand their Gen Z team members, but they can learn to empathize by hearing them out.

Will Gen Zers be willing to share their stories? You might be surprised. According to the Springtide Research Institute, many young individuals want strong, supportive mentors. They are looking for bosses who care about their lives beyond work. If your managers can forge bonds with Gen Z employees, you can avoid massive turnover.

2. Civility: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

I had an experience with a former contractor who felt like she’d been wronged. That was fine. I was ready to handle her concerns with professionalism. Unfortunately, she was completely uncivil in all communication.

People often assume that the only way they can get what they want from someone is by powering up. “Let me get mad, and then I’ll see results!” While anger can produce limited results, it’s not an emotion you want guiding your managers. This is particularly true when they’re interacting with Gen Zers. How they communicate will largely influence their outcomes.

Train your managers to assume the best of the person they might be at odds with. By working together, they have a better chance of solving the problem and establishing mutual respect. There are enough bosses on the planet whose outbursts are legendary. Equip your management team with the tools and education they need to talk to Gen Z workers respectfully and thoughtfully.

3. Stewardship: Help them help you.

Do you still use the term “our people” when referring to employees? Stop. Your employees don’t belong to you. Your business is just a pitstop along their journey. You can pay Gen Z workers a handsome salary, and they’ll still quit if you cease to treat them as individuals. Rather, encourage managers to recognize individuals’ contributions.

Promote stewardship by helping Gen Zers get what they want. When they’re successful, they’ll want to help you be successful. Focus on enabling Gen Z workers to achieve their goals. Have managers find out what each employee wants to do in the next five years, and then see how your organization can assist.

Gen Z employees appreciate this type of guidance. A report from Bellevue University shows that Gen Z places communication high on the list of appealing boss attributes. Additionally, a Randstad and Millennial Branding study reveals that Gen Z workers crave constant feedback. So steward them by having managers provide regular assessments.

Finally

Every new generation makes waves when its members enter the workforce. Rather than swimming against the tide, you can surf smoothly by helping your managers better manage Gen Z employees.