GUEST POST from Shep Hyken
There has been a shift in the workplace culture. Some employees are going from “The Great Resignation,” in which they outright quit, to “quiet quitting,” which means they do the bare minimum and nothing more. While all ages have potential quiet quitters, Gen-Z seems to have earned the reputation (right or wrong) for this practice. The problem with employees participating in this movement of doing the bare minimum is that it can turn into a lack of engagement, and the impact could be felt by customers in the form of a bad customer experience.
I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Santor Nishizaki, author of the upcoming book Working with Gen Z: A Handbook to Recruit, Retain, and Reimagine the Future Workforce After Covid-19, and he has some great tips for leaders to help Gen-Z employees be more engaged at work and create a better customer experience. Here are six of his tips, followed by my commentary.
1. Have Clear Expectations
Dr. Nishizaki’s research found that 98% of Gen-Zs want clear expectations from their employer from day one. It’s frustrating for workers not to understand what is clearly expected of them. The expectations must be set on day one, if not during the hiring process. Proper onboarding is crucial. According to Gallup, clear expectations are essential for all generations. How can we best serve our customers if our employees don’t know what we expect?
2. Be Transparent and Show the “receipts”
Dr. Nishizaki refers to “receipts” as evidence. Just as a customer might get a receipt as proof of purchase, the same concept is relevant for Gen-Z employees, and is one of the significant challenges to getting them to come to work and do more than the bare minimum. Rather than proof-of-purchase, consider proof-of-value for employees. This is especially important as employees are being asked to return to the office after two years of remote work. Feeling valued must be more than words. True appreciation is needed to get workers to feel good about the company that employs them.
3. Help Them “glow up” by Investing in Their Strengths
Dr. Nishizaki believes in playing to Gen-Z’s strengths. Specifically, he uses the Gallup CliftonStrengths to help them grow to their potential. Focusing on your employees’ strengths and partnering them with coworkers whose strengths complement their weaknesses significantly impacts their enjoyment of work and serving customers. Spending extra time to let people do what they do best will make them happier, which translates to more engagement with fellow employees and customers.
4. Support Their Mental Health
Dr. Nishizaki heard from his clients and saw the rise of mental health challenges on college campuses and realized the need for leaders to respond. Recent data from McKinsey found that Gen-Zs are more likely than Millennials to feel stressed or anxious regularly (53% for women, 39% for men), and 82% want mental health days. Leaders must ensure that all employees are aware of resources available to them (mental health apps, therapy, etc.), and lead by example by taking mental health days and being open about burnout. Creating a positive and engaging customer experience is difficult when an employee’s basic needs aren’t met.
5. Build a Culture of Impact
What impact does your company or brand have on its customers—and even the world? Gen-Z is attracted to creating impact, and it doesn’t have to be a major impact. Taking a few extra minutes to explain why someone’s work is important to a customer or their colleagues can satisfy this need.
6. Be a Coach, Not a Micromanager
Dr. Nishizaki found that Gen-Zs ranked the skills necessary to be a good manager as a “coach and mentor” over “technical expertise” and a “task assigner.” If you’re managing Gen-Z (or employees from any generation), asking good questions will help them learn better and is less confrontational. Dr. Nishizaki quotes Timothy Gallwey, an author and performance coach, who said, “Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It’s helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” Customer service role-playing is a great training tool, but rather than offering a list of what they did wrong, ask them why they took their approach. Usually, they’ll figure out what they did wrong without any drama, and you’ll see your retention and customer satisfaction surveys improve.
Gen-Z wants its leaders to be engaged. Managers who can turn up the volume on their leadership skills will retain the best employees, win the war on talent and create a better experience for internal and external customers.
Image Credit: Pixabay
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