Amid the social media boom and the rise of the Kardashians, young employees around the country got branded as a lazy and entitled generation. And honesty, as Gen Zer myself, nothing could be further from the truth. After all, we are talking about a socially conscious, tech-savvy, and highly educated generation. Sure, you’ll find them scrolling on Instagram or laughing over a Tik Tok vid. But hey, aren’t we all guilty of some low-key meme action?
Millennials and Gen Z take up over 40% of the current workforce, and they care about a lot of things when it comes to work and their career. And as the number increases, at some point being their colleague was bound to happen. But don’t stress. We’ve taken out five tips from our collective cover letters here at 5Why Media, to keep your managing skills up to modern times – so you and your new young employee / intern / future boss can have the most positive working relationship possible.
#1 Be Flexible
Flexibility in the workforce has never been more desired or demanded as it is now. Whether it’s working from home options, part time roles and mental health days. Young employees prefer a job where both their skills and needs are taken into account. It’s a fact, that working freedom incentives employee’s performance and creativity. Sure they’ll need guidance, but trust that if given the space to perform as they know how to, the results will surprise you.
#2 Be Open
Most workspaces are removing the traditional hierarchy at work. CEOs will still be CEOs, but the feel and leadership style has changed. Millennials don’t want to feel that their bosses are their bosses, but rather their mentors. So how do we create an engaging space that will provide a two-way conversation that will help people? Eliminate authoritative ideas, instead, start to create an open channel for communication and growth to occur.
We should be open to give feedback, guide, and encourage employees. As they should be able to do with us. As in any relationship, this goes as a two-way street where communication is key. If your staff see you as an intimidating manager, they’ll be out the door sooner than you use stan in the right context.
#3 Keep It Fresh
So how do you keep that talented 23-year-old designer? Not many young employees want to stay in the same role for too long. Once it feels like our work is not meaningful, or the culture doesn’t align with our beliefs, we start looking for alternatives. For this, have a weekly or fortnightly one on one meeting with the team here at 5Why Media. One where you create and work towards a career plan with them.
We see how their goals align with the company, and how both parties can keep it fresh and beneficial. By stepping up and allowing them to shine through a different outlet, a sense of belonging will take place. So let them pitch that new product for you or be part of that meeting. This will only provide more meaning and future purpose to their work.
#4 Stay Cool
Cancel culture is upon us, and exposing a personality, brand or employer has never been so juicy. Social media has allowed a space to do so, and no one wants to be exposed as a prick. At the same time, no one wants to be feared while leading. So make a cup of tea and loosen up, encourage friendly humor, and be relatable. This will help you connect with your employees. And as we see in social media, there’s nothing that performs better than being authentic.
And a big PS here. Humour isn’t crass, old, 2001 office humour. That type of stuff is often high-key rude, so let’s not preach that.
#5 Adopt The Tunes
This is the generation that adopted the iPod, downloaded free music through Limewire, and had a cringey MySpace profile. It’s extremely common for Millennials and Gen Z to wear headphones while studying and working. Many say it stimulates productivity and makes them focus, especially while working in open office spaces. It’s also common for offices to have a ‘community’ playlist while working. This, to transform the workspace into a more inspirational and comfortable one.
Embrace that love for music in whichever way you feel best suits your office, team and culture.
So there you go. By focusing on some of these tips, you’ll be taking the right steps for a positive work community. Now, go shopping for some office snacks (soy crisps are a must for our team). Don’t be afraid to let your guard down. Authenticity and flexibility will create a joyful synergistic working environment. Remember flowers bloom brighter in groups than alone. So nurture that environment, take care of it, and see it blossom.