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How do I manage new graduates in today’s workplace?

Updated: Nov 7, 2020

We call these new graduates Generation Z or GenZers.

As the person in charge you could be the manager who leads or a leader who manages; whichever you are, your job is not to motivate your staff, but to set an environment for your staff to motivate themselves. Create an environment at work that works for them! If I were managing Gen Zers today, these are my seven suggestions to help create the best environment to maximize their potential:

1. I would:

Ensure they are part of my ‘in-group.’ In-group members receive more attention, training, development, mentorship and therefore they get promoted more quickly. Gen Zers value meaningful work, upward mobility and personal growth, not necessarily pay increases. Gen Zers are less financially driven than Millennials.

2. I would:

Not be overly concerned if I trained and developed a GenZer…and they left. If my company cannot provide them with the advancement they require I need to be comfortable if they moved on to other opportunities. Why? They will appreciate what I’ve done for them, and are likely to work for me in the future – if the opportunity presented itself. Remember they are my internal customers and I will be building customer loyalty by developing them.

3. I would:

Provide structure and organization with an adequate amount of freedom. Gen Zers want to know their boss is competent and committed. Gen Zers appreciate this more than Millenials (Gen Y’s) do.

4. I would:

Have frequent, scheduled one-on-one meetings. Why? Gen Zers grew up on smart phones, tablets, VoIP technology and social media. This technological overload has provoked a desire on the part of the GerZer for more human contact than their slightly older Millennial. Feedback is everything!

5. I would:

Become very familiar with non-traditional forms of communication such as translation apps. High performing Gen Zers emerge from every part of the globe and will work in all parts of the world. Language barriers are becoming less relevant. Don’t loose out on hiring and retaining great talent because you (or they) don’t speak Spanish or Hindi or French or German or Mandarin…the list goes on…

6. I would:

Provide formal, informal mentoring to them. What do I mean by formal, informal mentoring? Mentoring that’s casual in its communication style, goal setting requirements and outcomes, yet still scheduled, consistent and organized. Gen Zers want to learn from individuals with worldly experience - with a proven track record of success - without the judgment… in essence a mentor or a coach who speaks from a place of knowing and treats them as a friend.

7. I would:

Provide an entrepreneurial environment within my team. This means providing structure and goals that allow for individual task completion WITHIN a project. This can be challenging to do, but necessary. GenZers need autonomy over their jobs, while continuing to work in a spirited team environment.

Overall, there is one discernable difference between Gen Z and Gen Y. Gen Z is committed to finding a job with meaning and relevance; money is secondary. For Gen Y, it’s reversed.

Note to my fellow Gen X’ers: Yes! There is a difference between Gen Y and Gen Z; so take note how you manage a 21 year old vs. a 29 year old! You Millennial managers, you also take note of what drives your new co-workers.


Generation Name Births Start Youngest Age Today*

Generation X (Baby Bust) 1965 - 1979 39

Millennials, Generation Y 1980 - 1994 24

iGen, Gen Z, Post Millennials 1995 - 2012 6

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