Leadership Challenges And The Promise Of A Young Workforce

Gen Z currently makes up 24% of a growing workforce, and employers are adjusting to this significant shift in company dynamics. Like Millennials and generations that came before, Gen Z brings a unique set of strengths and weaknesses. These emerging leaders were born just before or post-9/11, and they were shaped by their experiences, including a national recession and a world-wide pandemic. They are also extremely resilient, socially conscious, tech-savvy individuals. Today in our blog, we will discuss how to tap into the incredible promise that Gen Z holds as well as the leadership challenges employers may face with a young workforce.

The Impact Of The Pandemic On Gen Z

The youngest members of our workforce have had a difficult start on their professional path. Growing up, some witnessed their parents struggle financially in the midst of a recession. In young adulthood, they likely have already faced career setbacks since American life came to a halt in March of 2020. Undoubtedly, the pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges in the workplace, which have greatly affected Gen Z employees. Working from home has become commonplace, disrupting any sense of work-life balance from the start, and a turbulent job market has led to feelings of instability and great uncertainty about the future. In fact, 68% of Gen Z employees are worried about their potential for career growth, compared to only 43% of older employees, as reported by The Business Journals.   

What Young Employees Need And Expect At Work

Gen Z employees are more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous generation. This has shaped their views of the world in several positive ways, and they expect their place of employment to be ethical and align with their core values. Forbes notes that Gen Z is “acutely aware of, well, everything. Therefore, for the workforce to continue to advance and thrive, a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and belonging (DEIAB) is essential. According to Harvard Business Review, mentorship and skill development is also important to our next generation of leaders, as well as an increased focus on mental health. 

How Companies Can Support Emerging Leaders

As their numbers continue to grow, employers must recognize the valuable attributes Gen Z members bring to the workforce. Alongside youthful optimism and a fresh perspective, these young employees are hard-wired with useful skills, having been immersed in social media and modern technology since birth. A recent Gallup poll further confirms that Gen Z employees want to work for a diverse and inclusive company that cares about their well-being — and their future success. Employers can support emerging leaders by keeping them engaged and respecting any ideas they bring to the table. A recent survey by tech company Zapier found that Gen Z employees plan to stay at their jobs for an average of six years. Offering competitive health benefits and salaries, and helping with student loans, can help support, attract, and retain this future generation of leaders long-term.

Our team at Tammy Dowley-Blackman Group delivers programming designed to support Gen Z and their managers. We have spent nearly two decades building companies focused on delivering innovative approaches to leadership and organizational development in the corporate, government, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors. For more information on what we do and how we can work together, contact us today.

Tammy Dowley-Blackman Group, LLC is a certified National Supplier Development Council Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Small Business Administration (SBA) Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB), and Women’s Business Enterprise Network Council (WBENC) woman-owned company. The company comprises a suite of brands, including TDB Group Strategic Advisory, a management consulting firm, as well as Looking Forward Lab, which offers a full-service learning engagement model focused on Gen Z workplace development and support for their managers.

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