Managers have spent the past few years venting their frustrations about their Gen Z employees, lamenting that they’ve been ahead of the pack in the Big resignation, quiet stopAnd flexible work requirements unheard of in the pre-pandemic period. But there is much more to the situation than the seemingly apathetic and disloyal young worker makes it seem.
Gen Z workers are “caught in a blow between COVID and ChatGPT,” Melissa Swift, head of transformation at consulting firm Mercer, recently say it FinancialTimes. Graduating in the pandemic, she said, left them “in the desert.” At the time, the unemployment rate was the highest it had been since the great depressionleaving new graduates struggling to gain a foothold in their careers.
If the unemployment rate has since rebounded (it hit lowest since 1970s last year) and the generation was able to get back on the career path, many Gen Zers have only worked in a distant world; their very different entry points created a deep disconnect, resulting in a lack of mentoring opportunities, mismatched expectationsand even more granular things like difficulty deciphering tone and context on Slack.
It does not help this artificial intelligence like ChatGPT threatens to undermine many entry-level tasks and roles, which disrupts much of the work early-career professionals did when they were learning the ropes, Swift said. No wonder around 40% of workers who know ChatGPT fear that the chatbot will completely replace their job, for March 2023 Harris Poll.
Because of these compounding factors, Swift said Gen Z has developed a list of “unusual needs” for additional support and deeper mentorship, setting them apart from any previous generation of workers. It created a perfect storm for discord with their tired managers, she added. Indeed, Generation X and Generation Y managers face historic levels of burnoutwhich left them with very little free time to train their direct reports, let alone conduct a full audit of what their first work experience looks like.
It’s a shame, because they actually have a lot in common with their Gen Z reports. Gen X, who began their careers during the dot. Z currently does. It marked a generational shift in how we view the work that stays with us in the present, Jeffrey Arnett, psychologist and senior researcher at Clark University, said The wealth Hillary Hoffower. This means that Gen Z’s attitude towards work is not just shaped by generational identity and their experiences, but by their life stage.
But middle managers are missing a critical moment to recognize and identify with such common reproaches because they have their hands full trying to manage. persistent labor shortages raise demands for high inflation and raise the demands during high inflationwhile implementing the C-suite back-to-school mandates.
The ensuing burnout has ripple effects: almost half (46%) of middle managers say they are likely to leave their job within a year due to work-related stress , according to a survey of 3,400 people. investigation by the Workforce Institute of UKG.
“The chronic anxiety that comes with going through one global crisis after another weighs on employees,” said Jarik Conrad, executive director of the Workforce Institute, at the time. “Being overwhelmed consumes human energy and impacts retention, performance, innovation and culture.”
Indeed, middle managers often serve as the “shock absorbers” of an organization, equally affected by and responsible for the needs of newer workers and the demands of more experienced workers. THE OC Tanner Institute World Culture 2023 report found that bosses consistently report worse work experiences than their direct reports.
While a salary bump wouldn’t hurt, higher salaries don’t make up for a lack of appreciation, Gary Beckstand, Vice President of OC Tanner, written for Fortune. “Non-monetary recognition is key,” he said. “It creates lasting impact when it’s personal, heartfelt, and connected to one’s efforts or accomplishments.” Middle managers are often asked to recognize the unique contributions of each of their team members, Beckstand continued. They too “should be given thoughtful recognition”.
It’s an idea Gen Z can follow; despite all the concerns about their insistence on bucking tradition, they actually want to go to the office – and receive that recognition, mentorship, connection and hands-on education –more than anyone. Who knows; maybe over an in-person coffee, these young workers and their older bosses will talk and realize they have more in common than they might have guessed.
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