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Navigating the Workplace Dynamics With Generation Z

With the entry of Generation Z (born from 1997 onwards) into the workforce, a fresh breeze has swept through office spaces. However, this new cohort has stirred up quite the conversation. Managers share their experiences and insights into why working with Gen Z can be a unique challenge. Let’s delve into the reasons behind this and uncover the nuances that make Generation Z tick.

Gen Z’s Unique Work Challenges

A recent survey of 1,300 managers offers valuable insights into the dynamics of working with Generation Z. The findings paint a complex picture: while Generation Z is brimming with potential, around 75% of managers acknowledge that it is indeed a challenge to work with them, surpassing the difficulties posed by other generations.

Fox/ Pexels | According to a recent survey, three out of four agree that Gen Z is harder to work with than other generations

This difficulty even led to a startling statistic — 65% of employers reported having to terminate Gen Z employees more frequently.

A Rocky Start

Starting a career during the pandemic has undoubtedly influenced Generation Z’s workplace demeanor. Remote work during their formative years has potentially stunted their understanding of office etiquette.

Communication skills are cited as one area that has suffered — 36% of surveyed managers reported subpar communication skills among their Gen Z hires. This becomes evident when considering interactions with colleagues and hierarchy, leaving managers like Peter from New Jersey’s hospitality sector perplexed about what can and cannot be said.

Attention Span Challenges

Distraction seems to be another hallmark of the Gen Z experience in the workplace. 36% of managers voiced concerns about Gen Z’s concentration abilities. Instances of team calls turning into instances of surreptitious smartphone usage highlight this problem.

A content creator and manager, Alexis McDonnell, recalled moments when her Gen Z employees seemed detached, confirming that concentration can be a significant challenge.

RDNE Stock project/ Pexels | Some professionals are worried their Gen Z colleagues might cancel them if they say or do the wrong thing.

The Quest for Entitlement

Generation Z’s entry has brought forth a new set of expectations when starting a job, and 21% of managers have recognized this as an issue. The concept of entitlement is taking root, with young employees seeking to influence how and when they work.

This differs from past generations who understood the employer-employee relationship as a commitment to follow instructions without questioning them. The notion of self-determined work is shaping the narrative.

Challenges in Feedback

Feedback, a cornerstone of professional growth, has also taken on a new dimension with Generation Z. Managers noted that 35% of Gen Z workers are prone to being easily offended, requiring a more patient and measured approach.

Dealing with their sensitivities and attitudes requires a unique touch, as Danny, a marketing manager from Chicago, explains. Striking the right balance between constructive criticism and nurturing their growth can be quite the tightrope walk.

Andrea Piacquadio/ Pexels | Gen Z employees are more likely to define how and when they want to work.

A Workplace of Activism

The influx of political ideals is undeniable with Generation Z in the workplace. A Deloitte survey in 2022 revealed that even at this early stage of their careers, 37% of Gen Zers have turned down job opportunities due to conflicts with their ethics.

The emergence of a strong social justice sentiment has caused shifts in office culture, often leading to debates. This infusion of politics has led employers to tread carefully, fearing the volatile nature of discussions and the potential for conflict.

The Challenge of Boundaries

The ever-evolving line between acceptable and offensive language has caused many managers to feel uncertain about their interactions with Gen Z employees. This sentiment is shared by Peter, who acknowledges his apprehension about inadvertently crossing a line.

The swift changes in the boundaries, compounded by the younger generation’s more assertive stance on social issues, create an environment where managers are continually challenged to adapt their communication style.

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