Care and Feeding of Young Employees

Published on November 27, 2017

Jamie Belinne

Employers may still be trying to get a handle on working with Millennials, but Generation Z is suiting up, preparing to leave its own stamp on business operations.

If that seems scary or challenging, chances are you haven’t yet read Jamie Belinne’s book, “The Care and Feeding of Your Young Employee: A Manager’s Guide to Millennials and Gen Z.”

In it, Belinne, assistant dean for career services at Bauer College, draws on research gathered over nearly three decades of working with young people as they prepare to enter the workforce.

She detailed two takeaways for business owners and managers in an interview:

• “Gen Z came into the world, and they could use their IPad before they could speak. And as a result, they’re very accustomed to just going off and doing their own thing without talking to anybody about it.

“So instead of having programs to encourage people to take initiative and take risks, we need to have programs in place to explain hierarchies and boundaries. Because they don’t see that. They see a very flat wall. And they’re more likely than any previous generation, if they don’t like what’s going on at your company, to just go form their own competitor.”

• Gen Y (aka Millenials), accused of not being highly motivated, has probably been somewhat misunderstood, Belinne says. Employers need to value their employees as people as well as more explicitly communicate a higher purpose to their work in order to reap “motivation,” she explains.

“Both Gen Y and Gen Z need to understand how the work they are doing is making a difference,” Belinne says. “The solution may be better explaining to the employees how the product you’re creating is improving the lives of your customers, or how you’re able through your work to make businesses successful, so that people can have jobs and take care of their families.

“Whatever the purpose and meaning are behind the work that you’re doing, be very clear on those values with your workers, and live those values you say your company stands for. They are very turned in to whether or not your values are legitimate, and are in line with their own.”

By Julie Bonnin