Executive Leadership / Organizational Strategy

From “Big Yikes” to “GOAT wins”: How the C-suite Can “Touch Grass” to Grow Effective Leadership Teams.

If you didn’t understand the title here is a translation: “From horrible to excellent wins- How organizational leaders can get in touch with what’s needed to grow effective leadership teams.” Don’t think this is necessary? A recent report from the Society of Human Resource Professionals may change your mind. Consider the misalignment of the below Graphic illustrating HR professional perception of Gen Z in the workplace:

In a world where workplace dynamics are constantly evolving, the entry of each new generation often sparks controversy and debate. This is not a new phenomenon but rather a recurring cycle throughout history. Recently, the spotlight has turned towards Generation Z, born roughly between 1997 and 2012, as they increasingly populate the workforce and bring with them a set of values and behaviors that challenge traditional workplace norms.

Many critiques aimed at Gen Z echo sentiments once directed at earlier generations. Complaints range from accusations of entitlement to a perceived lack of loyalty and poor communication skills. However, it’s essential to view these criticisms through a broader lens, one that considers the unique experiences and influences that shape each generation.

Lindsey Pollak, an expert on career and workplace issues, points out that Gen Z has been significantly shaped by events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which has heightened their awareness of social justice and diversity issues. They are the first generation to grow up entirely in a digital age, where social media and online platforms are integral parts of their lives. This upbringing has not only shaped their worldview but also their expectations from employers regarding workplace culture and communication.

Contrary to some negative portrayals, Gen Z is characterized by their individualism and a strong emphasis on values such as inclusivity and career advancement opportunities. Rose Ann Garza, SHRM-SCP, highlights that many young professionals prioritize workplaces that offer developmental opportunities and a supportive, inclusive environment.

However, challenges remain. Older generations often perceive Gen Z’s outspokenness on social issues and their preference for remote or hybrid work arrangements as clashes with established workplace norms. Megan Gerhardt, a professor of management, explains that while previous generations learned the value of respect through different means, Gen Z’s approach to career advancement emphasizes self-advocacy and visibility.

This presents a great opportunity for the C suite to understand Gen z’s priorities. A precursor to developing the organizational culture necessary to develop impactful leadership teams.

To effectively integrate Gen Z into the workforce, businesses must adapt their strategies. This includes offering flexibility in work arrangements, prioritizing mentorship programs, and providing opportunities for professional development. Companies like PwC and KPMG have recognized the importance of tailored training programs to bridge the gap in soft skills, ensuring that young employees are equipped with the necessary tools to succeed.

Furthermore, understanding Gen Z’s financial concerns, such as student loan debt, and offering benefits like student loan repayment programs can significantly enhance their job satisfaction and loyalty. This generation values financial stability but also seeks meaning and personal growth from their careers.

As Gen Z continues to redefine workplace dynamics, it’s crucial for organizations to embrace diversity of thought and adaptability. Instead of viewing generational differences as obstacles, businesses can leverage the unique perspectives and technological savvy of Gen Z to drive innovation and growth.

In conclusion, the portrayal of Gen Z in the workplace is not simply a matter of generational stereotypes but a complex interplay of societal influences, technological advancements, and evolving workplace expectations. Human Capital can help you develop a modern strategy for your leadership development strategies that are relevant, research based and tailored to your organizational needs. By fostering developing a leadership team that engenders an inclusive and supportive environment, companies can harness the potential of Gen Z employees and build a resilient workforce capable of navigating future challenges.