Three Ways to Motivate your Gen Z Professional

My emails have been lit up from my clients this past week asking what to do about Lazy Girl and their Gen Z workforce. Okay, I get it. The big question now is how to motivate them to work productively in our organizations. 

Those who can effectively attract, acquire, develop, and retain this young talent will have a significant advantage over their competition in building and growing their organizations for the future. Talent trumps everything.

So I pulled out the data on Gen Z professionals from our Annual Employee Satisfaction Report for insurance professionals working in the WDC region to be released on September 5th. 

The Top Three priorities for the Gen Z professional are as follows:

A Sense of Purpose: We must provide meaningful work, because for many Gen Z professionals, it isn’t just about the paycheck. They need to be involved in work that is aligned with their core values that provides them with a sense of purpose. 

This purpose must be communicated up and down the chain of command on a consistent basis. It can’t be something framed on the wall in the conference room.

Hiring authorities should also make a greater effort in the interview process to find out what a young candidate’s core values and purpose are. If not aligned with the company goals and purpose, then don’t hire them. The key is the alignment of the individual’s goals with your company goals. If you can do this, you have magic in a bottle.

And communicate on a consistent basis the reasoning behind tasks and projects. These are people, not machines. Once they make the connection, you’re off to the races.

Growth & Development: Upskilling and Reskilling are two terms I hear a lot about when talking with a Gen Z professional. They want to get better. They want to succeed like everyone else. They want a bright future.

Mentoring and coaching is a huge value-add for a young person. More and more of my clients are now assigning a mentor to a young hire to shadow them for the first year. To meet with them on a regular and informal basis to act as a sounding board. Listen to them. Really listen.

This has been very effective in retaining top young talent. It also fosters a sense of extreme ownership in the minds of the employee. Trust me, once they own it, they take the ball and run with it. I do it in my firm and it works. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Work-Life Balance: The reality is that many young people in the workplace have a lot of balls to juggle outside of work. In the insurance world, a very high percentage of young workers are single-dads and single-moms. 

I have the highest amount of respect for these individuals. Their lives are simply a lot busier and more complicated than ours.

I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to do this myself. But they do. And many do it very well. But it’s a balancing act. Several of my clients recognize this. 

They promote workload management, encourage staff to take regular breaks, have flexible PTO policies, and, most importantly, set clear expectations and boundaries regarding work hours. And please get rid of the time clock. That doesn’t work. Never has.

The issue now in the insurance brokerage sector is that firms are expecting their support staff and account managers to work 50 – 60 hours per week now without a lot of downtime to recharge. Folks are getting burned out. Thank you, private equity. The turnover rate of their young workers is catastrophic right now. This must change.

Other top priorities of Gen Z are:

·        Well-Being Benefits

·        Positive Feedback

·        Technology

·        Reward & Recognize

·        Mental Health Support

·        Compensation (notice this is last on the list)

All this will be discussed in great detail in our upcoming Annual Employee Satisfaction Report for Insurance Professionals in the WDC Region. This is scheduled for release on Tuesday, September 5th to our clients via direct email and everyone else via LinkedIn. 

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