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I work for a government agency in California that has been growing this year.  Several of our new hires are recent college graduates (Gen Z) that we onboarded virtually because of the pandemic, three of which report to me. Is there anything special that I need to know about helping my Gen Z employees succeed?


Answer: Gen Z is reaching young adulthood during a time when the world as they knew it has stopped.  Overnight, they lost their daily interactions with the teachers who trained them and friends who sustained them. And, while, they’re very fortunate if they’ve landed a job right out of college, they’re having to deal with the highs and lows of starting a career and missing the ritual of graduation, while worrying about a pandemic and civil unrest.

While it’s too early to tell what the lasting impact of these events will have on Gen Z, research suggests that focusing on two areas can help you bridge the gap as their first manager.

Skill development. The transition between college and the professional world can leave Gen Z feeling disoriented and confused. Since their structured learning was upended, you may need to develop greater patience as they adjust to early assignments, and pair them with virtual mentors who can help them navigate and develop expertise. Take time to familiarize your new staff members on your agency’s purpose, goals, and objectives to help them appreciate where they fit and why they matter.

Stress management. For more than a decade, researchers have noted that Gen Z reports higher levels of anxiety and depression than other generations. This will be exacerbated by the events of 2020. Make time to connect with each of your new employees one-on-one each week to discuss issues beyond their list of tasks.  Encourage open conversation in a supportive environment to reduce anxiety and boost confidence in their ability to succeed.  This will help you partner with your new employees to keep minor performance issues from blowing out of proportion.


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