Each new generation challenges employers when they manage and collaborate with their employees. Generation Z, in particular, is often perceived as the most complex generation to work with.
A recent survey revealed that business owners and managers frequently hold a negative view of Generation Z, those born in and after 1997, due to the difficulties they pose in the workplace.
ResumeBuilder.com surveyed 1,344 managers and business owners in the US, disclosing that at least 74% of respondents feel that Gen Z employees are more challenging to work with compared to other age groups.
Approximately 20% of the respondents stated they had terminated a Gen Z employee within their first week on the job. In comparison, 27% indicated they had to let a Gen Z worker go within the first month of their employment.
Most of these employers and managers also confessed they prefer working with millennials, as they find them more productive and technologically adept.
The survey, conducted earlier in April, collected responses from numerous managers who shared their unique perspectives on why they find post-millennials challenging to manage.
The majority mentioned that Gen Z employees often lack motivation, exhibit a sense of entitlement, and do not prioritize productivity.
Some business owners also pointed out that one principal reason for digital natives facing difficulties in the workplace was their tendency to take offense easily.
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The marketing director at Hairbro, Adam Garfield, believes that members of Generation Z are highly innovative and adaptive compared to other age groups.
He said they’re unafraid to “challenge the status quo and bring new ideas.” He noted that Gen Z values authenticity and transparency and expects companies to be “socially responsible and ethical.”
However, he noted one area in which Gen Zers can improve in the workplace: communication. He said that while Gen Zers are proficient at digital communication tools, they may have to work to develop interpersonal skills for face-to-face interactions.
He added that Gen Zers could thrive in the workplace by developing communication skills to create better relationships with colleagues and clients.
Akpan Ukeme, HR head at SGK Global Shipping Services, says working with digital natives is tough. He noted that the Gen Z employees he has interacted with in their organization could be taxing because “they lack discipline, and they like to challenge you,” he said.
He further described experiences he had with one of them. Ukeme added that he has “butted heads more than once” with a Gen Z employee.
He emphasized that since their company is based online and Gen Zers believe they have a better grasp of the digital world, “they can teach me,” he said. “They think they’re better than you, smarter than you, more capable than you, and they will tell [it] to your face.”
While some business owners discussed the challenges of working with the so-called snowflake generation, others hold a different view and believe there are specific measures employers can take to create a favorable working environment.
Chief career advisor at ResumerBuilder.com, Stacie Haller, has noted the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of remote education in Gen Z’s outlook on the workplace.
As such, she believes members of Generation Z need more foundational skills to succeed in entry-level positions than older generations.
However, she recognized that few people develop communication skills well in the wake of remote work and education. In addition, some individuals prefer to work more independently.
She believes hiring managers must also be aware of these deficiencies when interviewing Gen Zers for positions. “This generation may need more training [with] professional skills,” she added.
She also challenges Generation Z: understand what professional skills you need to succeed in today’s workforce. Haller also recognizes that educational institutions must prepare students properly.
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In addition, business leaders must adapt to learn working with Generation Z. “Bias against younger workers is unacceptable and no different than the ageism we typically see against Baby Boomers,” she concluded.
Generation Z presents unique challenges for employers. It is due to their individualistic and technologically savvy nature. Gen Zs also have short attention spans, high expectations, and a desire for flexibility and purpose. Instead of viewing these challenges as insurmountable, employers can see them as opportunities to adapt and innovate.
By providing support, guidance, and training to Gen Z employees, employers can help them develop the professional skills necessary for success. Moreover, fostering an inclusive and understanding work environment can bridge generational gaps and create a more harmonious workplace.
Employers need to recognize Generation Z’s unique attributes and strengths while addressing the challenges of working with this age group. By doing so, companies can capitalize on the innovation and adaptability of Gen Z employees. Ultimately they can enhance their overall productivity and success.