While the threat of a recession has dampened quit rates, 3 in 10 workers are still looking to leave their current job. As a general rule, resignations and dismissals tend to cause remaining colleagues to consider leaving their position. Leaders cannot afford to be complacent.
This potential domino effect finds momentum among younger generations in particular, with Gen Z workers being 2.5 times more likely to react to the resignation of their peers by following suit themselves.
Last year, Gen Z was also changing jobs at a 134% higher rate than before the pandemic, while baby boomers were changing 4% less than in 2019. This follows data that shows that Gen Z is more burnt out at work than older generations and underscores the need to bridge generational gaps between leaders and employees who are new to the workforce.
Although the demands of Gen Z workers have been clearly defined, even the most experienced leaders find themselves ill-equipped to combat long-held stereotypes in order to connect authentically with their teams, especially as they consider more uncertainties.
As a leading provider of executive coaching services, we understand the unique challenges executives face today. In 2023, leaders should focus on making themselves more directly accessible to their youngest employees.
While pre-pandemic work environments may have once demanded that leadership remain largely out of sight, our knowledge of what younger employees want from leadership supports that uncertain times call for some change and that being visible, accessible and connected to new members of the workforce is essential to successfully preparing for future unknowns.
Gen Z workers, who will make up a third of the global workforce by 2030, don’t just want visible leaders. Young workers want personal relationships with senior managers and to be aware of their thinking and decision-making processes. Like their millennial counterparts, Gen Zers want to see their own values reflected in their leaders.
We know that employee satisfaction is driven by a sense of belonging to the organization and leadership. However, the pandemic-induced shift to remote and hybrid working has driven a wedge in human connection. Some 73% of Gen Z workers say they still feel lonely at work, and 90% of workers say they wouldn’t let their supervisor know about work-related challenges, further highlighting a connectivity gap that must be filled.
Leaders are often quick to see the ambitious nature of this generation as a symptom of entitlement and apathy toward hard work. But if we stop and examine why Gen Zers defy convention, it’s clear that they yearn to be invited into existing structures and to improve upon them.
Having started their careers in fractured work environments with hybrid or fully remote offices being the only office structure they have ever experienced, new hires not only crave human interaction, but are also extremely curious and eager. to learn.
Beyond a desire for upward mobility, they want to understand how to be an employee in the most basic sense. Some 67% of Gen Z workers want to work in companies where they can learn skills to advance their careers. Two-thirds also think an understanding of corporate office culture is essential, but with 55% of Gen Z workers feeling deprived of a significant part of adulthood due to the effect of the pandemic on office culture, they are left in limbo. It’s no surprise that they seek guidance on a personal level that far exceeds what previous generations needed or ever thought to ask.
With this in mind, simple gestures like hosting informal coffees with team members, participating in new staff orientations, attending team meetings, or making it a point to attend occasional social events, can go a long way towards welcome Generation Z. personnel into your company and into the wider world of work. By identifying low-pressure situations to interact with entry-level staff, leaders can make the direct, authentic connections that today’s employees need.
Despite deep-rooted traditions, leaders can also use their closeness to everyday staff to reflect and validate the values of their Gen Z employees without being performative or hypocritical. Since the pandemic, top CEOs have felt a unique pressure to appear more human in the workplace, but they often don’t know how to do it in a meaningful enough way to resonate with their younger employees.
Whether it’s something as small as making visible on your calendar personal time for a walk or meditation, going out of your way to recognize a common interest, or even talking about personal experiences in When it comes to work-life balance or mental health, letting your employees know that you share common ground creates a real “we’re in this together” mentality.
Leaders will need to be intentional and make room in their busy schedules to connect with their younger employees. By making their presence and thoughts directly known, leaders can inspire and motivate Gen Z workers to stay the course no matter what comes their way.
Gaëlle de la Fosse is the president of LHH. Nick Goldberg is the CEO and Founder of EZRA.
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