Sticky solutions to your everyday business challenges
Question: I’m a partner with a small fintech remote startup. My colleagues and I are all Gen Xers or Millennials. We recently hired a new college graduate to help with marketing and administrative work. She’s very enthusiastic and smart, and I want to provide a good foundation to help launch her career. Do you have any tips for managing a new Gen Z employee in a remote work environment?
Answer: It will be years before sufficient data exist to measure the full impact that the merciless barrage of recent world events will play on this burgeoning generation. The lifecycle markers, rites of passage, and traditional onboarding all but vanished. Without the formal and serendipitous interactions with other colleagues in an office environment, your new team member will need extra support to learn and thrive. That means you’ll want to be both manager and coach to your Gen Z employee. Here are three areas to focus on to help her gain a sure footing.
Teach transferable skills. In addition to training her on your technology platforms and the basics of her day-to-day tasks, schedule regular meetings focused on career-building. Topics for these meetings might include:
- Help her see how her work fits into the bigger picture of the firm
- Encourage her to not only report problems, but bring her recommendations for solving the problems she identifies
- Teach her how to develop, manage, and report on a budget for a project that she’s responsible for
Build in mental health check-ins. For more than a decade, researchers have noted an alarming trend: Gen Z reports higher levels of anxiety and depression than other generations. Let your new team member know that you don’t expect her to be a machine, and it’s okay to take some time out if the stress is overwhelming. Consider offering pay-per-use Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services to get support from trained counselors.
Develop emotional intelligence. Research demonstrates that emotional intelligence, consisting of self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills, is a critical element of effective leadership — and can be taught and learned. Gen Zers have experienced a massive interruption in their ability to discover what motivates them. Challenge your new team member to listen to podcasts on emotional intelligence and share her thoughts and feedback with you.
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