11 Things Leaders Need To Know To Successfully Manage Gen-Z Employees

Originally published by Forbes.com

Loren Margolis, Founder & Managing Director, Training & Leadership Success

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The members of Generation Z are now entering the workforce, and their values, priorities and ideas about what work means are different from those of any generation that came before them. For a business to thrive, it’s essential for its leaders from older generations to understand how to best manage Gen Zers.

There are key elements setting Gen Z apart from other generations, and knowing these can help inform the most effective management styles and strategies. Here, 11 members of Forbes Coaches Council discuss what leaders need to know about successfully managing this up-and-coming group of professionals.

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Photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Support Them In Being Their Authentic Selves In How They Work
Managers are seeing Generation Z enter the workforce looking to work for an organization where they will have many growth opportunities. Today’s workforce employs a much different set of decision-making criteria when it comes to deciding where to work. Critical to their decision-making is working for a leader who will not only allow, but support them in being their authentic selves in how they work. – Curtis Odom, Prescient Strategists

2. Make Sure Your Company Commits To DEI
Leaders need to push their companies to commit to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Gen Zers will have an impact on today’s workforce because a more diverse workplace is what they are looking for. Gen Zers must be given the opportunity to learn new skills and take educational courses, as well as be mentored. With the goal of inspiring people, leaders must deliver real-time feedback to demonstrate a commitment to their personal progress. – Maureen Taylor, SNP Communications

3. Tap Their Thirst For Knowledge With Stretch Assignments
I’ve met many Gen Zers who have side hustles. They want to learn as much as they can through their jobs so that they can apply it to their side hustle and make it a success as fast as possible. They crave gaining knowledge and experience as quickly as possible. As a leader, engaging them in stretch assignments is an opportunity to keep them motivated at work, as it taps this thirst for knowledge. – Kevin Kan, Break Out Consulting Asia

4. Provide Solid Onboarding And Development
Research shows that members of Generation Z, more than any other group of employees, expect comprehensive and solid professional development plans that include mentorship, coaching and training courses, as well as career and succession planning. To successfully manage them, they need to experience solid onboarding, be challenged in a positive way, and be developed on an individual and personalized level. – Andreas von der Heydt, Andreas Von Der Heydt Coaching & Consulting

5. Lead With Empathy And Don’t Make Assumptions
Scientific evidence suggests that generational differences are more myth than reality. The key is not to make assumptions. Ask questions. Listen. Treat people as individuals, not as generational stereotypes. The less we lead with intuition and the more we lead with empathy, the better we will serve others, as well as ourselves. – Craig Dowden, Craig Dowden & Associates

6. Demonstrate An Impact On Society
Approximately 74% of Gen Zers surveyed ranked purpose as more important than a paycheck in a study conducted by Monster. Leaders need to demonstrate how the company and the work are impacting society. Having grown up with quick access to knowledge at their fingertips, Gen Zers want leaders to be open and transparent. Let them in on the inner workings and involve them in decisions. Create a culture of trust, purpose, and openness to evolving for Gen Z to thrive. – Anne Phey, Leadership Coaching School

7. Share Wisdom And Co-Create With Them
Gen Z consists of true digital natives who order their lives around information and social media. Leaders may find the old ways of “telling” are ineffective at winning their trust and respect, as Gen Z is armed with knowledge. “Managing” them means co-creating with them, sharing wisdom (as opposed to data), coming from a place of inquiry rather than advocacy, and using coaching instead of a directive approach. – Thomas Lim, Singapore Public Service, SportSG

8. Provide Constant Creative Challenges
To manage Gen-Z employees, you will need to be hands-on to keep them. This generation will be ready to move at a moment’s notice. That means leaders can never really take a day, a week or month off from understanding what is motivating the people who will make up nearly a third of the workforce by 2025. They live for distractions, so attract them with constant, creative challenges and a commitment to the world, the environment and their lives. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.

9. Contribute To Their Holistic Well-Being
Generation Z tends to be mindful of its stance on diversity, career development, working styles and core values in a workplace and expects more from its workplace than any other generation before. The impact of this generation will be seen in employers’ increased commitment to contributing to employees’ holistic well-being. – Michael Timmes, Insperity

10. Implement Early-Career Affinity Groups
I see Gen Z prompting the addressing of an overdue need for psychological safety. They report higher levels of depression than previous generations and are starting their careers with more anxiety due to the pandemic. Implement early-career affinity groups to create belonging and open dialog. Train your leaders to use a coaching approach that encourages listening, empowers their ideas and boosts their confidence. – Loren Margolis, Training & Leadership Success LLC

11. Treat Them With Respect And Dignity
Gen Z will impact the workforce, just as every other generation has. Each generation disrupts the workforce in its own way, meeting resistance from older generations (which, by the way, goes back to Chaucer and Shakespeare complaining about lazy young people). What do leaders need to know? Treat them like humans with respect and dignity. Listen and observe. Learn from them. They are our future. – Ira Wolfe, Success Performance Solutions