Adapt a More Agile Approach to Future – Proofing Your Workforce – #21

At a time when job openings exceed employees and 17 million Gen “Z er’s” are entering the workforce, with 50 million following within the next 10-20 years. It is important for employers to understand that they will have to be adaptable to the changing needs of the “Zer’s” and make those changes in order to maximize the productivity of the employee. The broad consensus is that they are scarred, cautious but hardworking. The managers from the Baby Boomer, Gen “X” and Millinneal generations have different sets of value systems that are applicable to management. Therefore, a need, for existing managers, human resources personnel to have training in the cultural differences that Gen “Z” represents. While this is a recommendation, please recognize the need for training at all levels for it represents one of the best investments you could make. Management has to understand and know their employees, this fact has never had more importance than NOW – :

    1. Scarred, cautious and hardworking – all these factors differ vastly from Millennials (1981 – 1997) – who need to provide the environment for the business to succeed. These Gen (Zer’s) are extremely competitive and can be evidenced by women making up 51% of supervisors and managers. “The Good Old Boy Networks” that have excluded Women for so many years are slowly disappearing. The Women are making headway as a result of the “do-it-myself” mentality of Gen “Zer’s”.


    1. The “Zer’s” have watched people succeed in their own businesses – which they like – but in total they are not willing to own their own businesses. This indicates that they are willing to work on independent projects. However, they are not willing to work on their own – too much risk – but they do want to make it happen by leading a team to success – as long as they don’t have to bear the risk that would go along with a start-up of their own. Managers should encourage them to think beyond their job descriptions in order to keep them engaged and help them feel loyal to the company.


    1. Gen “Zer’s” caution is reflected in the fact that when they were teenagers many of them postponed risk-taking rites of passage such as sex, drinking, and getting drivers licenses. Now the avoidance of student debt is high on the list avoidances. Damn the education, they are not going to become slaves of student loans.


    1. Gen “Zer’s” are the most racially diverse generation in American History. Almost half of them are a race other than non- Hispanic white. On the realization of this fact, management has to deal with varying cultures which requires them to adapt to and adopt a multiple set of rules policies and leadership styles that meet the requirements of this diversity.


    1. No more is the college degree a must for numerous jobs. HR has to develop a whole new series of strategies in the key areas of recruiting, retention, replacement and career paths. A solid Mentoring program will go a long way towards answering the need for belonging and building trust with the employee.


    1. Provide affordable health care plans, and make other benefits affordable and even free. “Zer’s” may not know how to manage these new benefit plans. Don’t insist that 401K Retirement Plans are best managed by financial folks who just happen to be best friends with HR personnel. Management has to get their investment focus in line with Gen “Z” needs and overall faculties, and then make sure that they understand their 401K’s. They will feel more, loyal to and part of your business, as you provide for their longer term success.


    1. Gen “Z” likes face-to-face contact, they want to get engaged. Proof of this is the increase in open work spaces and creative work areas are used by start-ups and technology companies recruiting younger employees. Don’t overlook the fact that they like independent projects for which they get credit toward their success. Gen”Zer’s” will work with a group of people as long as they can avoid accepting failure and let the group accept this fact. They of course are more than willing to take credit for the success. Team is a “four letter word” – and amongst millennials there has been a lack of accountability due to the “team” receiving all the credit for success but no accountability for loss.


    1. Gen “Zer’s” are also more interested in making work a central part of their lives and are willing to work more over-time than most millennials. The work ethic is supported by the fact that that they want individual recognition, and additional pay. However, make sure that the flexibility to move is discussed and reviewed with every existing and future employee. Managers have to recognize the importance of the Spouse’s career path plus assistance with income differentials. You want to promote a deserving employee only to find the employee having reservations during the promotion process. Once you present the option, the employee informs you that the spouse will not make the move due to their role at work and the proximity of their relatives. These situations usually result in losing the promotable employee – the question has to be why? All because management had not made that subject a part of initial interviews and the addressing of this critical issue at every performance review session – previous facts do change. Any factor affecting the career path of the employee must be reviewed with the employee – there should be no surprises. In this manner, we can avoid extensive investment in the employee past a mutually developed set goals. Management has to know their employees – factors such as honesty, leveling, transparency should be contributing to the employees trust and loyalty of management. Gen “Zer’s” will be joining to succeed – make sure they do!


    1. “HR” activities will regain their importance as a key function in most businesses (smaller businesses could utilize out-sourced HR Services) because Gen “Zer’s” will require a totally different approach. Many of them have seen their families go through financial turmoils, and their desire is to avoid these for them and their families. Therefore, they want to know there is a future for them at their place of employment. Again, it is critically important for managers to work closely to develop a means that communicates a career path that allows for a minimum evaluation annually and leads to building of a complete data base that identifies insiders as potential promotables. From joining to retiring the Gen “Zer’s” have to have pride in the products you produce, their fellow employees, their standing in the global community, and most importantly themselves. If you won’t be fulfilling these requirements, they will leave. Remember they are “Free Agents” and it is up to Management to keep them on your team by providing a total environment that is focused on Customers and Employees.


  1. As they start their new job, the Gen “Zer’s” are representing a new generation that will require strict workplace rules. Outlining rules regarding dress code and other key workplace rules, such varying and universal rules have to be explained and accepted at the moment of final hiring process to include signature of the new employee.

We will continue to focus on the fact that management has to know their employees, and needs to recognize that demographics demands adaptability, flexibility and constant development of your people and yourself.