The Gen Z workforce is coming to your workplace. But wait, who are these Gen Zs? The generation born between 1997 and 2012 are known as the Gen Zs. Research says that there is a huge disconnect between what Gen Z wants and what their managers think they want. In this article, we will address the different traits that Gen Z look for in their managers so that they can be better prepared and build a company culture that can attract and retain Gen Z talents.
Traits that Gen Z look for in their managers
Gen Z has needs and priorities different from those of previous generations, from inclusivity to mental health and wellbeing. Let's look at some of their top priorities in 2023 and beyond and what they expect from their managers.
Encourage work-life balance
Gen Z, as a generation, values work-life balance. A global survey found that 74% of Gen Z would be willing to switch jobs for a better work-life balance. A better work-life balance doesn't mean this generation desires to put in less effort or work. For this generation, what matters most is the flexibility to fulfill both their personal and professional commitments.
What it means for managers: Gen Z looks for empathetic managers who respect their time. Gen Z looks for managerial traits that allow employees to take breaks and time off, encourage open communication, and set clear expectations within the team. Managers who set realistic goals, give options to work remotely or in a hybrid format, support and respect the personal commitments of the employees ( medical needs or family functions), and avoid micromanagement are the ones who will win the hearts of Gen Z workers.
Value and prioritize mental health
Gen Z prioritizes their mental health, unlike their prior generations. A survey mentions that 55% of Gen Z have already received a diagnosis or treatment for their mental health. They are open to talking about mental health and de-stigmatize it. In another survey, 61% of the Gen Z respondents mentioned that they would accept less pay if the workplace valued mental health.
What it means for managers: Gen Z looks for managers who care about the mental health of their employees. Managers who are empathetic and understand the mental well-being needs of their employees are the ones who are sought by Gen Z in the workplace.
Foster a diverse and inclusive workplace
Gen Z is the most diverse and inclusive generation, as data shows 47% of Gen Z employees identify as BIPOC, compared to 39% of Millennial employees identifying themselves as PoC, 34% as Gen X, and 25% as Boomers.
What it means for managers: As the Gen Z population continues to grow in the workplace, managers need to be more open to learning how to manage a diverse workforce. Gen Z expects their managers to be unbiased. They hope to see more diverse representation across leadership, training other employees on diversity, equity, and inclusion(DEIB), and proactively embrace DEIB initiatives.
Value learning and development
Gen Z is the most entrepreneurial generation that looks for workplaces that offer growth. This generation has grown up amidst a recession and a pandemic, so naturally, they are pragmatic about work and job security. They want to be more marketable and seek opportunities to learn new skills.
What it means for managers: Gen Z looks for managers who offer plenty of opportunities for upskilling and reskilling. This gives them hope that the organization they are entering is invested in their employees and that their managers care about their personal growth. Know that managers who offer learning and development opportunities to their employees are better at retaining the top talent.
Invest in building workplace relationships
Although known as digital natives, 7 out of 10 Gen Z employees value in-person and face-to-face socialization. Social connection is important for Gen Z, whether in a remote, hybrid, or on-site job.
What it means for managers: Gen Z looks for managers who care about building workplace relationships. So, managers should proactively build a culture of in-person contact with colleagues to help Gen Z stay connected.
Care for the environment and social values
Gen Z is a big advocate of environmental and social matters compared to their previous generations. 58% of Gen Z look up to environmentally and socially responsible companies. As mentioned, they care about social matters, including diversity and inclusivity.
What it means for managers: Gen Z seeks managers who support social matters and lead by example. Managers who care about environmental, social, and corporate governance —- for Gen Z, managers who show these traits are always ahead of those who don't.
The key takeaway
If there's one trait that Gen Z looks for in their managers, it has to be 'care.' Whether caring for their mental health or personal growth and development, Gen Z values managers who genuinely care for their people. So, organizations that hire empathetic and caring managers will attract and retain top talents in the long run.