Managing Different Generations in the Workplace

Imagine being born into a digital world with the internet and social media at your fingertips, inventing tools that will change the world before entering high school, and collaborating globally with large, diverse groups of people in a matter of seconds. Meet Generation Z (Gen Z for short), the newest generation to enter the workforce and the first to live completely in a technological world.

Who is Gen Z?

Born between 1994 and 2010, Gen Z represents 4% (156) of the County’s workforce and is estimated to make up 10% of the U.S. workforce by the year 2020. While demographers are still making predictions about Gen Z, some foresee their innate abilities with technology, and especially online connections, as having radical implications on the future of our workplace in ways that we can’t even imagine yet. Below are some characteristics of this emerging generation:

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Tips for Engaging Gen Z

As Gen Z continues to enter the workforce, leaders will need to know how to best engage and develop them. Below are some best practices and tips for successfully leading and retaining Gen Z:

  1. Leadership: Gen Zers want leaders who are accessible, provide guidance, help them solve problems, and keep close track of their successes. Be sure to meet with them frequently to define goals and objectives and provide support as needed.
  2. Coaching and Mentoring: Gen Zers want to focus on results and understand the purpose of the tasks they are assigned. Show them how their daily contributions matter by explaining the “why” behind assignments, and how they are linked to the mission of the organization.
  3. Communication: Gen Zers prefer brevity and conciseness in their communications. Providing information in small “chunks” helps them quickly learn what’s most needed, relevant, and applicable to their jobs. Because of their digital preferences, face-to-face meetings and phone calls may take some getting used to, especially for Gen Zers in their first job.
  4. Feedback: Like Millennials, Gen Zers crave frequent feedback from their leaders. Provide regular performance feedback and acknowledge a job well done, even with something as little as a quick “thank you” to motivate them.
  1. Continuous Learning: Gen Zers want to build “real life” skills, knowledge, and expertise quickly in order to grow within the organization, so provide them with formal and informal training opportunities whenever possible. Job shadowing, networking and mentoring opportunities are a great way for them to get well-rounded training and learn new skills.
  1. Encourage Peer Learning: Gen Zers believe peers are influential in their learning. Because they grew up with information available to them instantly online as well as access to a large online network of peers, they learn by sharing among themselves. Encourage peer learning or mentoring as a way to engage and retain this generation.
  2. Encourage Collaboration: Gen Zers are used to freely expressing their knowledge and opinions online. One way to help them feel more valuable to the organization is to provide opportunities for them to share their ideas and expertise with coworkers.

The following resources are available to help employees learn more about Gen Z:


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