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Generation Z in The Workplace (by Adrian Laksmono)

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the COVID-19 pandemic caused hardships for individuals and families. During the beginning of the pandemic, “tens of millions of people lost their jobs.” Job insecurity has led people and workers to reevaluate their lives and careers, which led to the event known as The “Great Resignation.” 

The Great Resignation is a pandemic-era event and is named in regard to the 44% of employees planning to look for a job or those who are already looking for a new job. This pandemic-era phenomenon has made it difficult for businesses that are trying to recover from the pandemic and are not able to find labor as unemployment rates are high and there is a shortage in the labor market. 

The most prominent group of people who are willing to resign and move on are those born between 1997 and 2012, or Generation Z. Coincidentally, they are also the ones entering the workforce in the pandemic setting. Those categorized as Generation Z look for strong leadership and active communication from their employers and in the workplace. Among other things, they are also motivated by higher pay and free food, but then again, who isn’t? 

As with all generations across the board, regardless of age, employees will perform better, give a better effort, and maybe even be content with less pay if they work for an outstanding employer who invests in their career development and cares about its workers. On the contrary, managers who are poorly trained will cause unnecessary stress and additional work. Having a supervisor who has received training in "people management" would increase work performance.

Coming from someone who is considered a Generation Z, here are some tips for leading Gen Z out of the pandemic mindset and into the real world:
 
  • Provide the leadership team with proper training on how to lead in-person, hybrid, and virtual teams.
  • Almost all of Generation Z like, if not prefer, to work remotely when they return to work.
  • Avoid micromanaging; Have a one-on-one check-in between employees and managers at least once a week to create an open dialogue and build a mentor/mentee relationship.
  • Provide career development and growth opportunities by assigning additional responsibilities beyond the regular job duties. These extra responsibilities should be tailored and based on the individuals’ interests that can be beneficial to their future career path. For example, a job rotation program to develop well-rounded employees and keep them engaged in the company.
  • Provide and discuss the expectations from the first day of work about their role.
  • Mental health is especially important with this generation. The pandemic has taken an impact on Generation Z’s mental health. Managers should be able to provide and identify resources for their staff to refer to or utilize. For example, this can be a company-paid counseling/therapy, mental health apps, etc.
  • Measure preferences and engagement in the workspace. Nothing is consistent, especially when it comes to people, as everyone is different and has their own lives outside of work. Having a short survey about the workplace environment and preferences will help companies understand how to keep their employees engaged and happy. 
Leadership is an important factor when it comes to retaining and recruiting employees, as they will reevaluate their career choice. Companies, organizations, and businesses need to adapt to the new norm of having the means to work hybrid or remotely. This can be started by training managers with the complexity of the new generation and adapting to the new corporate environment.

Will Generation Z revolutionize the workplace? If so, what will that look like? How will the workplace change if we are continuously adapting to the change in society?

About The Author

Adrian Laksmono is a third-year student at Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona. Adrian is currently focusing on rounding his experience within the operational departments before going to his interest in revenue management or hotel development. Adrian has worked in the industry for more than four years and plans to graduate in Spring 2023. He is involved on campus with Inter-Hall Council, Delta Sigma Pi, and Collins Ambassador. He is currently working on campus with University Housing Services to assist the residents living on campus. Fun facts: Adrian has lived in four countries and moves constantly.

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