Post-pandemic, leaders will need to stay savvy to lead, inspire and foster collaboration across their multi-generational workforce. As the largest generational cohort in history, Gen Z’s interests and expectations are poised to shape the next “normal” in the workplace.
In order for a business to thrive, leaders must understand this new generation’s ambitions and preferences, and find strategies to recruit and retain their young talent. Stakeholder capitalism, transparency, accountability, and trust will be key to engaging Gen Z in our post-pandemic world.
What exactly is “normal”?
You may have noticed that some of your employees from the baby boomer generation have been desperately asking when things will ‘return to normal’. There appears to be a greater willingness amongst this generation to return to the office, as they sense that something has been lost from work life in the COVID-19 economy.
On the other hand, Generation Z and Millennial employees were already beginning to seek flexible working arrangements before COVID-19, showing great interest in breaking free from the traditional 9–5 grind.
Initially, this meant offering more creative physical workplace environments, such as:
– Co-working stations
– In-office bars and social events
– Allowing employees time to pursue personal endeavours
In the wake of COVID-19, young professionals are now seeking freedom to balance their careers and personal lives by working from home.
I am certain that the pandemic has made younger generations realize that the way things used to be will no longer be considered optimal moving into the future, and leaders need to plan for this.
Understanding Gen Z and Millennial workers
There are key differences between the baby boomer workforce and Millennials/Gen-Zers. Some of the key ones are:
More often than not, young people do not want to work for ‘big evil corporations,’ regardless of their remuneration. Diversity, inclusion, sustainability, purpose—these things are all vital for attracting and retaining young talent on your team.
They’re online and social.
Growing up surrounded by the internet, video conferences, and online collaboration are second nature to these generations, so teamwork can easily be performed if the right tools and software are available.
Results-driven, and the desire for autonomy.
Being part of a big corporate machine often isn’t appealing for many Gen Z and Millennial workers. They want to work towards outcomes that matter and want the autonomy to decide on their own how to accomplish them.
Personal growth and a sense of self.
Once upon a time, working for a great brand was enough to make you a superstar and get you the praise you wanted. However, those times have passed. Social media has given people an opportunity to be seen as part of the development of a company. They want to be known and recognized for their own work, not just as another cog in the corporate wheel.
As a leader, it is key to listen to the needs of your employees and ensure you provide them with the tools and support they need to succeed, whether they are baby-boomers or tech-savvy Gen-Zers. If you want to learn more about how you can become a more effective leader, reach out to me to schedule a consultation.