How to manage Gen Z effectively in workplace

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Generation Zoomer, also called Gen Z, refers to the group of people born between 1995 and 2010. This group is expected to produce roughly 60 million job seekers in the next decade. According to the World Economic Forum, Gen Z constitutes 27 per cent of the global population, making it the largest segment of digital natives in history.

According to the United Nations, over 60 per cent of the African population is under 25 years. In Uganda, 75 per cent of the population is below age 30. While Gen Z currently makes up 30 per cent of the world’s population, Generation Alpha, which comprises a group of those born between 2010 and 2024, will eventually become the largest generation ever. The workplace will be soon dominated by both Gen Z and Gen Alpha.

It has been observed that Gen Z workers prefer to be labelled as Chief Vibes Officers in the workplace because they provide all the jokes, banters, slang, and playfulness needed to “set the vibes.” While these “nice-to-haves” may not be entirely bad in a workplace, these activities should not blur the focus or decrease the productivity level and deliverables in the workplace.

Business owners must help Gen Z members understand that as much as lightening the mood and being the life of the office is not a bad thing to do, it must not compromise job productivity.

Gen Z is a multiscreen generation. According to the Pew Research Centre, ninety-eight per cent of Gen Z members own a smartphone, while 72 per cent use more than one device at a time. Gen Z members have an online presence on virtually all social media platforms, with social media usage reaching four or more hours a day.

Business owners must continually emphasise to them that everything is not content. They don’t have to vlog about every activity in the workplace with no respect for boundaries and privacy. It is great for Gen Z members to be enthusiastic about work but they should remember to maintain professionalism. Sharing sensitive company information on social media can have serious consequences.

There should be a balance between personal expression and our professional responsibilities. Knowing where to draw the line is very important. They should be properly guided concerning internal communications protocol, social media usage and the company’s culture and ethics.

Another characteristic of Gen Z members is that they don’t like too many long meetings. The eight-second attention span syndrome of Gen Z could be a challenge and hurt their outputs (although not all Gen Z members are victims). When different generations team up for work or discuss an issue properly, there is the likelihood that Gen Z members will lose interest very fast. This may result in conflict between the groups. However, they can be assisted with improved communication customised around this period.

Gen Z members show a quest for learning, with 76 per cent stating they prefer to learn via YouTube videos, according to Pearson. There is a need to integrate training centred on piecemeal interactivity and learning. Gen Z is not the suit-wearing, office worker. They love the work-from-home or hybrid model, and sadly this may not always be, depending on the industry. Also, they do not like the traditional yearly appraisal.

They crave ongoing and instant dialogue with their supervisors about performance, constructive feedback, and recognition. According to a survey by the Workforce Institute, 75 per cent of Gen Z members prefer to receive feedback from their employers in real time.

A popular narrative about Gen Z is that they have no loyalty. BBC Worklife predicted that Gen Z workers will switch jobs at least 10 times before they clock age 35. If Gen Z workers are unhappy at their workplaces, they quit. A survey from Bankrate shows that 78 per cent of Gen Z employees say they will search for a new job in the coming year. The CareerBuilder 2021 study put the average time at a job for a Gen Z worker at 27 months.

In all of these, leaders and team leads must learn to manage remotely and give instant feedback, align their job roles with a greater purpose and also support the financial goals of Gen Z members to harness their optimal productivity.

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