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When SHRM Online reported on a new survey that found managers are wary about Generation Z, people across social media spoke out.
Members of Generation Z—generally, people born between the mid-1990s and the mid-2000s—are just beginning to enter the workforce. Older co-workers are unimpressed with them, says a new poll from APPrise Mobile, a mobile employee communications tool.
"To the extent Millennials are associated with 'entitlement,' there probably is a level of fear that Gen Z will turn out worse," said APPrise Mobile's founder and CEO, Jeff Corbin. "The farther away in age, the greater the likelihood that [current managers] believe that they won't be able to relate to [Gen Z]."
More than a third (36 percent) of managers said Generation Z will be harder to manage than other generations. Survey respondents expressed concerns about their productivity, challenges in training and communicating with them, and their impact on company culture. Experts called them unprofessional and "unrealistic" about what they could achieve in their first few years of employment and said they lack patience and have short attention spans.
[SHRM members-only toolkit: Developing and Sustaining Employee Engagement]
Many readers on Facebook and LinkedIn took umbrage with the article, calling the comments stereotypical and negative. Others are excited that Generation Z is joining the workforce.
Here are some responses.
And from the SHRM LinkedIn Company Page:
There are drawbacks to each generation. Best way to handle it, is stand your ground. They need to be willing to prove they want to keep the job. The employee ultimately ends up firing themselves If he/she doesn't care.
Great article! I think the focus to have Generation Z conform to traditional workplace standards is too prevalent. Rather, the workplace itself should be shifting to meet Generation Z. The fact is, Millennials sparked the change, but Generation Z will be the ones to see it through. I appreciate Generation Z and their problem-solving skills, relationship building skills, and overall enthusiasm for life. All generations have their advantages; it's unfortunate that Gen Xers continue to place stigmas on generations coming after them.
Gina H. Gilbert, SHRM-CP
As a Gen X er (& parent of a couple teens (Gen Z) ) I can say that generations previous to us did the same thing, so blaming Gen X is just as bad as blaming any other generation. We all need to be a little more open to the value each generation brings to the table. No generation has all the answers, we all can learn from each other.
Perhaps they are not entitled and impatient, but rather young people trying to figure out work place expectations. A skilled manger is all that is needed to connect with and shape the new generation. A focus on strengthening the skills of management is more important than discussing the entitlement level of the new generation.
As SHRM Online Editorial Director Beth Mirza responded:
"Your discussion of this article sparked a lot of conversation in our office, as well. Our intent in publishing any article is to provide readers with information—in this case, about a survey of a significant number of managers and their concerns about the workplace. The writer made sure to include viewpoints from a researcher who doesn't think certain assumptions about Generation Z are true; that, as commenters have mentioned, success in the workplace depends more on how managers understand their employees and what motivates them, rather than the difference in their ages and experiences."
Emily Scully, a city clerk in South Portland, Maine, who initiated the Facebook discussion, told SHRM Online that while "people born around the same time will have shared experiences that help to shape their understanding of the world, the danger lies in those who see this and go further to make generalizations about someone's character based on their birth date."
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