Gen Z – strengths, shortcomings and their contribution to business in an uncertain world
The latest study highlights Gen Z’s skill set, the areas where they may need support, and what they bring to the world of work in times of COVID-19 uncertainty.
Top 5 skills where Gen Z shows particular strength:
💡 Deciding and Initiating Action
💡 Formulating Strategies and Concepts
💡 Planning and Organising
💡 Achieving Personal Work Goals and Objectives
💡 Building relationships and influencing others
But they need support in:
🔹 Resilience – when facing setbacks and criticism they are more likely than most to lack the resilience needed to start again when things go wrong. They may be prone to losing their drive and confidence to make decisions.
🔹 Following instructions and rules – they are likely to question rules that they do not understand or feel are relevant.
🔹 Willingness to adhere to corporate values and principles – their focus may tend to be on their personal needs and goals above those of their function or organisation.
🔹 Listening to the needs of customers and delivering excellent customer experience.
What Gen Z can offer in times of uncertainty, like during the COVID-19 pandemic
⚡️ Their ability to solve problems, propose new ideas fast but that are high quality, and thought through in a strategic way.
⚡️ Decisiveness, drive and energy.
⚡️ Leading others through understanding, inspiration and clear management of outcomes.
The 4 areas businesses must focus on to attract and retain top Gen Z talent
Undoubtedly, Gen Z’s have a lot to offer to businesses, even if they need a bit of support in certain areas. Companies, therefore, have a unique opportunity to make the most out of young people’s talent. To that end, however, they need to consider these four vital points:
#1. Match the right people in Gen Z with the company
The company must ensure its selection process focuses on the qualities the organisation really needs.
Objectively assess candidates’ potential – it’s more relevant than applicants’ school, university or the subject of their qualifications and offers equal opportunity candidates from less privileged backgrounds to demonstrate their potential.
Utilise a range of diverse entry-level programmes like apprenticeships and internships, in addition to more traditional graduate entry programmes. This will provide opportunities for all of tomorrow’s leaders to get a chance to prove their value.
#2. Harness Gen Z’s strengths and help them manage challenges
Companies must develop ways of drawing out the strong work ethic, strategic thinking and exceptional drive in a psychologically safe environment – while helping them build resilience and manage setbacks.
Offer ongoing learning, vocational training, reskilling and upskilling to ensure constant development for Gen Z, while giving them a chance to gain experience that leads to recognition and rapid promotion.
Generate a safe environment that learns from failure, rather than penalizes it. Create the opportunity for them to experiment with low-impact, moderate risk activities and ensure they record their lessons learned from the failures as well as from the successes.
#3. Capitalise on inter-generational strengths in the business
Create a leadership culture that values ideas from all levels and generations within the business. This will promote richness and diversity of thinking and culture that will motivate the workforce and benefit the business.
Develop a mentoring program for Gen Z. Mentoring can help them build resilience, as well as giving them a chance to develop a cross-generational workplace support network.
Consider creating a ‘shadow board’ – a formal body of younger leaders – that can bring new thinking and energy to the strategic direction of the business.
#4. People in Gen Z want to be part of an organisation that provides them with a meaningful and supportive environment
Bring alive the company’s values, goals, objectives, and norms in a compelling and relevant way. Gen Z will need to be convinced before buying-in to the corporate culture.
Business leaders have a great opportunity to take advantage of this powerful capability and potential; equally, they have a responsibility to create an environment that allows Gen Z to express their real strengths. If they can get this balance right and consistently deliver on their promises, they will become an employer of choice for Gen Z.