Human Resources: Generation Z is Redefining Respect at Work

Posted by Mitzi Branvold | Friday, April 23, 2021

Human Resources: Generation Z is Redefining Respect at Work

Posted by Mitzi Branvold | Friday, April 23, 2021

You have adjusted to working with millennials. Now, get ready for Generation Z. Young people who were born in 1997 or later are entering the workplace. Their experiences and attitudes are somewhat different from those of their slightly older counterparts. Compared to millennials and Generation X, they are more racially and ethnically diverse, more are immigrants, and they have higher levels of education. In addition, they have a different view of respect at work.

Pandemic shutdowns interrupted their brief workplace histories. An astonishing 25 percent of 16- to 24-year-old employees experienced layoffs between February and May 2020. During the same period, 13 percent of millennials had the same experience, according to a Pew Research Center analysis. What they expect from work is not stability but a sense of purpose. So, as you manage the youngest employees, keep these differences in mind.

Respect Their Values

Generation Z members have a tendency to demonstrate social consciousness on issues such as protecting the environment and valuing diversity. They want to work for companies that respect the same values. As a manager, show your young employees what your company is doing to be socially responsible. For instance, describe how the company is reducing its carbon footprint. In addition, if you intend to build the diverse workforce of the future, mentor employees from traditionally marginalized groups, supporting them as they move from entry-level positions into management.

Respect Their Need for a Shared Vision

If you think your role as manager is to guide your team to meet organizational goals, you are a transactional leader. However, Generation Z members tend to be less concerned about wellbeing of the organization. They are more interested in how they can make a difference. Therefore, they will respect you more as a leader if you apply aspects of a transformational leadership style. For instance, share a vision of how you and your team can change the company to be more effective, even if that means discarding old ways of doing things. You can do this while continuing to prioritize the goals of your company.

Respect Their Independence

Many members of Generation Z grew up with access to digital resources. Therefore, they seek and find answers themselves rather than always turning to older adults. They seek information that will help them meet challenges. As employees, they expect managers to be teachers who do not talk down to them. They respect managers who guide them rather than tell them what to do and how to do it. 

As a manager, encourage them to share and implement their ideas. For instance, grant them projects of their own that they can complete. As a result, your Generation Z employees will know that you respect their knowledge and capabilities. In turn, you will benefit from their talent and enthusiasm.

After you understand Generation Z’s values, you can relate to young employees based on a shared vision. Then, you can form a connection with them based on values you have in common. As a result, you can empower them to apply their strengths as individuals who are independent-minded. Forming a strong team, you can complete short-term projects while making a long-term impact. Then you can manage Generation Z with mutual respect. To learn more about unlocking the potential of your employees, contact ModernHR.