Managers talk about their experiences with Generation Z employees

Directors talk about their frustrations with Gen Z.
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  • Some Gen Z managers told Insider they were tired of their young employees.
  • While Gen Z employees struggle to adjust to the job, some bosses aren’t sure how to lead.
  • One career coach believes personalizing professional growth can inspire Generation Z.

As more young people enter the workforce, some managers are not convinced they are ready to succeed.

Generation Z — roughly those born between the mid-1990s to the early 2010s — are increasingly graduating from college and high school and taking their first jobs. Frustrated bosses criticized young professionals as lazy to work in a report from wall Street Journal, A millennial manager accused them of being too emotional at work.

In a public callout, Insider asked managers to share their experiences mentoring Gen Z workers. More than 20 people, ranging from millennials to baby boomers, have sent emails describing their experiences managing Gen Z.

Two people said they did not feel young workers were lazy, while the rest criticized this generation’s work ethic. Insiders verified the hiring of the supervisors mentioned in this story.

One manager said that some Gen Z find it hard to focus on work

Jeff Elkins, director of security at a casino in Florida, has accused his Gen Z employees of repeatedly looking for “gray areas” in cases he believes are “very black and white”.

He said his industry is very tightly controlled, and his young employees have described their standard operating procedures as “outdated”. Elkins said those employees also described their standards of conduct as “outdated” and that they “feel like they don’t apply to them.”

Amber Forrest, a 28-year-old pizza shop manager, told Insider that many of her Gen Z employees spend their working hours eating free food, pocketing tips, and hanging out with their friends.

“It’s hit or miss,” she said. Of her young employees, she said: “I would say 70% of them don’t play sports because they lack motivation and initiative. It’s annoying because most of the time I end up doing all the work despite my efforts at delegating.”

Forrest, a young millennial, said the whole ordeal was “more than frustrating”, and she remembers when her generation was labeled as a zombie.

“How the tides have changed is paradoxical,” she said.

Sean Cusack, a 41-year-old CEO of a biotech startup, defended Gen Z’s modus operandi and said he’s found some ways to make them work better. For example, he said, “summarizing data in a tractable digital format” helped younger employees outperform the face-to-face meetings favored by Gen X and older.

Younger employees may stop working sometimes, but it’s not out of laziness, he said.

“Personally, I would say that what I noticed in Generation Z is the tendency to turn inward for fear of making mistakes,” Kozak wrote.

Managers must understand what drives Gen Z to work

Experts said that recent graduates who spent most of their time in school taking online classes and working remotely lack soft skills. This means they may have difficulty writing emails or find it difficult in professional settings.

Experts said managers can help them develop these skills, and talk to their younger employees about what motivates them at work.

Abhijit Bhattacharya, an India-based career coach, told Insider that many Gen Z employees are looking for more meaningful work with higher salaries.

“They are more likely to trade salary for better quality of work even though salary is an important factor,” Bhattacharya said. “However, most organizations do not have high-quality entry-level roles, which is the main reason why they feel disconnected.”

Bhattacharya, who has 15 years of experience as a career coach, believes Generation Z is prioritizing “personal career development in their journeys.”

In January, C-level HR executive Gianna Driver said company leaders will need to cultivate a “culture of psychological safety” with work-life balance and diverse hiring if they want to keep Gen Z workers engaged.

“A lot of Gen Zers feel drawn to a company’s mission and purpose, as opposed to things like salary,” says Michael Yan, founder of job search platform Simplify. He previously told Insider in November.

Young workers are using TikTok and taking courses to succeed at work

Some members of Generation Z say they also struggle with confusion and feelings of neglect at work. Nearly half of the participants were from Generation Z and Millennials to A linkedin The survey conducted in June showed that they did not understand the terminology used in the office.

To combat this confusion, some Gen Z members are turning to TikTok for answers on how to talk to their bosses and know what to wear to work. according to The Wall Street JournalOthers take courses in business etiquette.

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