February 19 2021 - As the newest generation leaves college, businesses have to be ready for yet another wave of new blood. Although there is no estimation of the long-term effects of the COVID-19 crisis, businesses should anticipate meeting this new generation with quarantined standards. Whether they like it or not, remote work is here to stay for Generation Z.
This generation will experience new methods of working as they develop and evolve. Whatever the long-term effects of the pandemic, the next generation of employees will bring with them a unique perspective.
With this unique perspective comes unique opportunities for employers. Employers have some new opportunities when hiring Gen Z employees. They get to see what makes them so great - they’re the first generation of technological natives and make the perfect match for a remote team. So amidst the chaos, make sure to listen to them. They may have insight into making your business a better place.
Keeping An Open Mind
Gen Z has had the most consistent access to the internet throughout their lives, more so than any other generation before them. As technological natives, many might assume that this means they want to work in remote environments, but this isn’t necessarily true. Although Gen Z may be more comfortable with technology than other generations, this doesn’t mean that they’re reliant on it.
Studies have shown that Gen Z students and workers use digital devices for unrelated activities during class and work fewer hours than millennials. In fact, many want to step away from technology to better their lives and engage with their careers. In one survey, the majority of the Gen Z respondents said that they preferred in-person training to online or remote training. This could be a big hurdle given the current state of the world.
With Gen Z interested in more in-person style training, companies will need to approach these employees with a new lens. Consider how you can make the training process more intimate. Use screen sharing and offer individual training sessions for new team members to address their needs while learning on the job. You should also consider updating how you communicate with your employees.
Gen Z is familiar with asynchronous communication like emails, slack chats, and message boards. This can be used to your advantage to help reduce stress and support your new hires. Utilizing asynchronous communication can give employees a greater sense of autonomy. By allowing them to respond to communications on their own time, you instill a sense of trust in their time management. This can be especially helpful during early employment when they may be overwhelmed with new information.
Make sure to find out the sources of potential overwhelm for new and potential employees. Addressing these issues before they arise can make you a more desirable company to work for. When you seek out these answers, take them into account, and act on them.
Support At Home Employees
Though it may not be ideal for everyone, remote work is the way of the world at the moment. As we become more used to these new conditions, make the transition to home offices smoother for new employees. These steps can be applied across the company, and help to raise morale and improve employee satisfaction.
One way you can offer your support to employees as they work from home is to offer a small stipend for home office comforts. With Gen Z facing a less than ideal economy, being able to receive direct support for their day to day wellbeing can be a step in the right direction.
This generation of employees is already familiar with how to communicate and work online. Take the opportunity to build off of that knowledge. Find these strengths, and search for ways that these strengths can help the company grow. Some improvements they might bring along could be through building a knowledge base, researching possible solutions, or solving workflow issues. Implementing their suggestions can help you make your employees feel heard.
Listening to Your New Employees
As employees, Gen Z can implement new methods and techniques that can be beneficial to your business. Request feedback from new employees on freshly implemented workflows. This is an opportunity for you to support your team and listen to their concerns.
As the most technology savvy generation to date, Gen Z is familiar with not only identifying problems but finding ways to fix them. Solicit feedback and get insight into their suggestions for solving problems. This will give them ownership of their jobs at an early stage. Ownership of their positions gives them the power to grow as professionals and support the company simultaneously.
Although the pandemic stands in the way for most businesses, many have shown agility and innovation by making changes for a post-COVID world. For many, this meant accepting remote life for good. Consider the benefits of continuing as a remote company, and how they affect this new generation of employees. Temporary solutions can become long-term features of your workplace during this transition.
Turning Short-Term Fixes into Long-Term Solutions
Remote work processes were originally put in place as a temporary response to what we hoped would be a temporary situation. As the pandemic spreads, it has become evident that we have to be prepared to work remotely for the foreseeable future.
However, if businesses plan to keep remote life around, some things need to be reevaluated. Communication, training, and employee support are all areas that may need to change. When the pandemic first started, companies flocked to communication platforms like Zoom and Slack. Although these platforms filled the temporary need, more permanent solutions need to be found. As your business moves forward with remote life, research into other tools that will make communication more transparent and accessible especially for new employees.
For new employees, these temporary communication platforms may not be enough. In your training process, make sure to tailor your education to remote life. Create documentation and guides that support new employees in their training and beyond. You should also offer the option to have one on one training sessions. By sharing screens, or other ways of providing a more personal method of training, you can address the need for individual training safely.
As the new generation begins searching for work, employers need to be aware of the fact that while they are technology natives, their preferences are very different than their millennial predecessors. They will need to make sure that they listen to their employees, and fill the holes that are found in their processes. Keeping an open mind to these suggestions will be vital in making Gen Z employees feel like a part of the team.
We are still waiting to see what the long-term effects of the Coronavirus pandemic are going to be. Generation Z is experiencing a historic public health crisis and all the financial and social challenges that come along with it. When bringing them into the workforce, ensure their voices are heard among your other employees. They, and the rest of the company, will thank you for doing so. Although some may fear the changes that come with this new generation, their potential says otherwise. A new generation in your company will surely lead to innovation, improvement, and overall success.
Jori Hamilton is a freelance writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to business productivity, recruitment, HR, and marketing strategies. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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