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.