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What Your Millennial and Gen Z Employees Need From You Right Now

For the younger generations, Millennials and Gen Z, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be particularly profound. For some of them, too young to feel the full weight of other recent, life-changing events like 9-11 and the 2008 market and jobs crash, this pandemic is their first exposure to real hardship. And, the most profound hardship most of us for any generation have experienced; it’s taking away the in-person human connection that is our primary source for safety and belonging. For other generations, the effects of the last recession, 9/11, wars, swine flu, still haven’t faded away.

As the employer and future employer, to the next leaders of our world and your workforce, you must truly understand this younger generation’s experience. And what they need from you in the workplace or the marketplace. They currently account for 38% of the workforce and by the end of the decade, 58% of employees will be either a Millennial or a Gen Z. If you and your business want to continue to survive and thrive in the new world of work, it’s not an option to ignore the needs of the younger generations and the effects the pandemic is having on them. You must meet them where they are and give them what they want in order to build your high-performance team and extend their reach to connecting with your clients. These generations actually account for 3 trillion dollars worth of annual spending!

Really, what Millennials or Gen Z employees want from their employers is no different than what any of us want. They just tend to be more vocal about it and more insistent that they get the support they’re seeking. This is one reason I love working with young people – they are absolutely determined to make it a better world and they’re not shy about going after it.

To help your Millennial and Gen Zs learn to be resilient from all the change we’ve had over the past few months and thrive, focus on these simple things:

 

Help Them Feel Safe

This is a big one and we covered it in our last blog. People need to feel safe at work. Physically safe (make sure they know the steps you’re taking to protect them from the virus), but also emotionally and psychologically safe. They need to know the workplace is a safe place to speak up, to tell it like it is, and to call out toxic or damaging behaviors. The depth and spread of the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements have shown how much the younger generations value creating spaces of inclusivity, equality, and safety. As I tell all of my clients, listen and listen like a trampoline, meaning bounce back with even better questions.

 

Help Them Feel Like They Belong

We all want to feel like we’re part of something that matters and again, Millennials and Gen Zs are no different. They place a high value on finding workplaces that allow them to do work that is meaningful. And it’s up to you to make sure they can clearly see how their work has meaning and how it’s contributing to your overall organizational goals. If you need help, we’re here. We’ve helped hundreds of organizations and teams solve the crisis of disengagement by helping connect team members to their personal and professional purposes (their why) threaded to your corporate missions through our flagship online program, Strengths & Story.

 

Provide Access to Mentoring and Coaching Opportunities

Though COVID-19 has done away with a lot of our traditional ways of providing professional development through the method of sending our people off to workshops and conferences, the younger generations were craving something different even before the pandemic. In a recent blog, we discussed how today’s young workers want the freedom and flexibility to seek out their own mentors and coaches, to learn on demand and in the way that suits them, sometimes even informally. They also need to take ownership in their mentoring relationships. With our teams working remotely and feeling isolated, helping your young people access new mentoring and coaching opportunities and techniques is critical.

To help, we recently launched our online portal, Hooga, to provide a virtual and on-demand coaching options for your people to learn the principles of our Strengths & Story workshops. Reach out to us to find out how you can get access!

 

Show Them How to Build Resilience

With all the uncertainty and stress that’s invaded our lives recently, one of the most important things Millennial and Gen Z employees need from you is to learn how to build and cultivate their own resilience. Sometimes called “grit” but even deeper, a person’s resilience is simply a measure of their ability to bounce back quickly when things get tough. And things have never been tougher for our workers than the challenges of COVID-19.

We have a 3-step system you can use to help them build better resilience. Click here to check it out now.

 

Reskill Them on Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is key for success in the future world of work. And with so much stress, anxiety, and uncertainty, people need people. We need to feel connected to each other and that we have strong relationships, whether it’s with our bosses, coworkers, clients, or friends and family. Make sure your younger employees are equipped with the skills they need to up their game when it comes to their own Emotional Intelligence. Learn how to reskill them and coach them on Emotional Intelligence here.

 

Your Millennial and Gen Z employees need you to step up and help them in the wake of COVID-19. Start here with these five ideas. If you need help implementing any of the above strategies or would like a personalized recommendation for your team, reach out to us to learn how we can support you to success.

The Case for Creating Safety and Belonging in the Workplace Has Never Been Clearer

As we get used to a new normal and over the shock and grief of COVID-19, it’s never been more important to care about our workplace. Our employees and teams really need a sense of safety and belonging. Both in the psychological and in the physical sense, as COVID-19 leaves us with new rules and regulations.

Simply put, if people don’t feel safe at work and if they don’t feel like they belong, they won’t do their best work. It really is that simple. The key to creating a successful culture that helps your company thrive and deliver high performance is to make sure your employees are safe. That means addressing their fears and concerns over their physical and psychological safety in a post-COVID19 world. Here’s how:

 

Ask, “What Can I Do Differently to Serve You?”

To solve any problem in your workplace, start by asking great questions. Questions that encourage the other person to go deep and really mine for the crystals so you can help solve for the challenges. I love these ideas from Google’s Head of People Analytics – start this week by asking these questions of every person on your team:

1) What am I doing now that you want me to continue to do?

2) What am I NOT doing frequently enough that you’d like to see more of?

3) What can I do to make you more effective?

Asking great questions demonstrates to the other person that you care about them, that you’re willing to listen, and you’ve got their back. When people know you care, they’ll trust you. Trust goes a long way toward creating a true culture of safety and belonging. In this new world you actually may want to share your procedures for physical safety and further check to see if they do feel physically safe and social distanced.

 

Ask, “What Makes Work Meaningful?”

We all want to do work that is meaningful, that makes a different for someone else or the world. With all this time at home, worrying about what’s going to happen to our families, our friends, our jobs, it’s got a lot of people thinking about what’s really important in life and questioning if they’re living in alignment with those principles.

Make sure you’re helping everyone on your team connect their work to their meaning and purpose. Help them see why they’re doing something and how it’s contributing to larger team or organizational goals. When people can see that they are part of something and helping to meaningfully create progress, they will feel that they belong. Again, COVID-19 is a game changer. Is there something you can do to help your employees or clients create meaning while protecting them at this time?

 

Seek to Reskill on Emotional Intelligence and Behaviors to Create Safety and Belonging

In previous articles we’ve discussed the importance of cultivating Emotional Intelligence (EQ) in our changing workplace. As we reenter the world and workforce with differing fears, anxieties, and stresses, demonstrating EQ has never been more important. Self + Others = Success. EQ helps us get there.

Reskill your team on the basics of EQ and make sure they understand how to really listen in a meaningful way, how to ask great questions, how to have empathy for the other person, and how to tap into their own strengths and story to connect. Also, make sure that you understand the real challenges of the current times and be sensitive to how they are feeling. Seek to address how their colleagues and clients may be feeling as well.

Check out our toolbox here for free resources you can use to help your people level up and let us know if we can help you apply them to our current day scenarios.

 

If you make a conscious choice to intentionally create a culture of safety and belonging, your team and company will thrive. We’ve seen it happen over and over again with our clients – and we’re sure these simple hacks will make the difference for you, too.

Need some support? Reach out to us – our Strength & Story system guarantees you will create a culture of safety and belonging and see real results with your team and business in 100 days or less. Contact us to find out more about how we can help you grow and thrive.

Coaching and Teaching Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace: Why it Matters and How to Achieve Success!

IQ, AQ, SQ, EQ…there are so many acronyms that get thrown around in business. And, yes, when it comes to developing the high performing worker of the future, the one you most need to know is EQ, which stands for emotional intelligence.

According to the World Economic Forum, emotional intelligence is one of the top ten most in-demand skills listed by employers. It even beat out such stalwart skills as negotiation and service orientation. And there’s a reason why emotional intelligence is ranked so highly – in this changing world of work where technology and automation are rapidly shifting the landscape around us, people who can connect with themselves and connect with others will win. 100% guaranteed.

But before we dive into the increasing importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace and how you coach it in your employees, we need to first start by defining it.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Generally speaking, EQ or emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage our own emotions and those of others. The term was created by two researchers, Peter Salavoy and John Mayer, and later popularized by a book of the same name by David Golemon.

According to Golemon, there are five components that make up a person’s emotional intelligence:

-Self-Awareness

-Self-Regulation

-Internal Motivation

-Empathy

-Social Skills

These five components work together to determine how you relate to yourself and others. Some people are naturally predisposed to score higher on assessments that test components of emotional intelligence, while others struggle to relate.

But one of the great things about emotional intelligence is that it can be developed and increased. It’s not a fixed data point. With the right tools and strategies, you can increase your skills and “xFluence” those around you to do the same.

Why Does Emotional Intelligence Matter?

We are in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution. Technology is rapidly advancing and things like A.I., machine learning, automation, predictive analytics, and more are forcing our work to change and evolve. According to The McKinsey Global Institute, as many as 375 million people around the world will need to change occupational categories by 2030 due to automation

So what does that mean for us? It means we need to increasingly focus on the human element: the worker of the future! Research proves that since the beginning of time and forever, it’s the people that will matter in this new world of work and we need to find a way to make them more human. Success requires new skills that teach all employees how to actively connect with themselves and own who they are so they can connect with and manage those around them. It’s the only way.

How Do You Coach Emotional Intelligence?

If emotional intelligence will matter more than ever in the future, how do you develop it in the employees you have now? How do you coach them to be their best selves so they can show up and crush it for you at work?

First, you’ve got to find a way to connect. HACK 1: Start by turning your organization upside down and finding out who your employees are and what they need from you. When you listen, when you look for opportunities to form a connection, and when you model that behavior in everything you do, you will xFluence those around you to do the same.

Next, encourage self-awareness by creating a safe workplace environment free from politics and bs. Support your employees in being vulnerable and sharing their truth. They have to be able to connect to who they are inside to be able to connect to others – including your customers. Encourage your employees to get vulnerable and do the work of increasing their own self-awareness.

Finally, put in the really hard work and engage in workplace mentoring and coaching. Obviously to do that, you have to first invest in yourself to increase your own emotional intelligence. But if you do enough work on yourself, you’ll soon be able to identify where those around you are struggling. Coach and mentor them on the spot. Today’s employees relish constructive feedback delivered in an informal manner so don’t wait for your next quarterly review to offer advice!

Doing the work to improve emotional intelligence in the workplace is simple but it isn’t easy. And it’s especially not easy when you have a whole team of people that needs improvement if your company is going to make it.

That’s where we come in. Click here to schedule your free introductory coaching session with us today. We offer both individual and team coaching to help you succeed in the future world of work.