According to a recent survey by Resume Builder, 75% of managers say that Gen Z (people born between 1997 and 2012) is harder to work with than other generations.
The biggest issue, many say, relates to language: “I feel hamstrung on what I can and can’t say,” says Peter, a manager in the hospitality industry in New Jersey. “I don’t want to offend anyone or trigger someone. I always have it in the back of my mind that I’m going to get angry one day, and I’m going to get canceled.”
Other issues that managers cite include:
- Professionalism and Communication Skills. “They don’t know how to conduct themselves in a business setting. I was taught how an office operates, whether it’s dealing with a hierarchy or just something as simple as when someone’s in front of you, you look them in the eye.”
- Concentration. “We would be on team calls and they would be on their phones. If we called on them, it was like deer in the headlights, and you knew they hadn’t been paying attention.”
- Effort. “Anytime a customer would come in even remotely close to closing time, they would do anything to get that person out of the office quicker.”
- Flexibility. One physician reported, “They ask for things like, ‘Oh, I don’t want to see patients.’ When I was in their shoes, I would never respond that way to my supervisor. When they told me to do something, I would do it, no questions asked.”
- Feedback. “You must be careful because I think they’re a bit more fragile and sensitive. And you must deal with their attitude when they don’t take the feedback well.”
A generation of people marked by the Internet and social media; technology is part of their DNA. And while technologies may make them neglect their interpersonal relationships, Gen Zers give more of a voice to social causes. They also get high marks for being diverse, inclusive, independent, and entrepreneurial.
Jill, What Can I Do? Gen Z questions everything, which in turn, will cause us to challenge the status quo and change. Because they are our future, it’s our responsibility to impart wisdom to them, have open minds, and learn from each other.