Don’t Believe These 3 Myths About Managing Generation Z

Generation Z

The next generation is ready to join the workforce. Do you know what it takes to motivate and manage them?

Generation Z – that is, individuals born from 1990-1999 – is set to comprise more than 20 percent of the workforce in just five short years. If you think they’re just like Generation Y, think again. This group, like all generations before it, has its own unique quirks and expectations.

To gain a better understanding of Generation Z, OfficeTeam’s parent company Robert Half teamed up with Enactus, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing together business leaders, academics and students to inspire entrepreneurialism, to conduct a survey of more than 770 college and university students between the ages of 18 and 25 in the U.S. and Canada. Results are available in the new white paper, Get Ready for Generation Z.

Here are some common myths about Gen Z and the reality of what they really want from managers:

Myth #1: They just want to work with their peers and don’t want to work with authority figures.

Reality: In fact, 21% of those surveyed said “mentoring ability” is the single characteristic they value most in a leader/boss, ranking second only to honesty/integrity. While these workers don’t want to be micromanaged, they do want supervisors to show a personal interest in their career success. They prefer managers who will guide and support them, and then give them the wings to fly.

Myth #2: They only want to interact by using their handheld devices and don’t want to communicate face-to-face.

Reality: It’s easy to see how this myth came to be. This generation doesn’t know a time without the Internet and most don’t remember what it was like before smartphones. It would be simple to conclude that they want to live in a digital world and shun real interaction. However, nearly two-thirds (64%) of those polled said they prefer to collaborate with a small group in an office. The percentage wanting to work remotely? Single digits.

Myth #3: They want to be left alone to figure things out on their own.

Reality: Gen Z knows it has a lot to learn. Just 6% said their ideal work environment is working for themselves as consultants or freelancers. They expect to receive the necessary coaching and training to master their jobs, and that their employers will provide it to them. This generation, in particular, likes to ask questions as part of their learning process. If managers aren’t open and honest with their responses, these workers can become concerned they’re being kept in the dark – and decide it’s time look for a new job.

Once Gen Z employees feel that they’ve built their expertise in their field, they expect to be respected for what they bring to the table, even if they’re still in junior roles.

For more insights about this generation of workers, download your free copy of Get Ready for Generation Z.

If you’ve already hired Gen Z employees, what has been your experience managing them?

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