The Advertiser

Gen Z workers lose touch

EXPERT ADVISES HOW TO BUILD NETWORKS WITH COLLEAGUES

- MELANIE BURGESS

Generation Z workers are struggling with the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, as their crucial earlycaree­r experience­s have been forced to adapt to an evolved job market and way of work.

Not only have entry-level positions become harder to come by, but many young people lucky enough to land a job are failing to build meaningful networks while so many colleagues and managers work remotely.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data show in February that just 74 per cent of people aged 15 to 24 not studying full time had a job – the lowest February figure since 1997.

Meanwhile, exclusive figures from Microsoft reveal 47 per cent of young Australian workers are struggling in some way.

It’s a global trend, with Gen Z more likely than any other generation to report having trouble getting a word in during conference calls, bringing ideas to the table, balancing work with life, feeling engaged and excited about work, and advancing their careers.

So what is the way forward? We asked corporate trainer and author of People Follow People, Sam Cawthorn for his tips.

ALWAYS SHOW UP ON TIME

As well as being good manners, being on time – and ideally early – to video meetings also gives young people the opportunit­y to establish profession­al relationsh­ips.

“They can connect and communicat­e and do the small talk before the meeting starts,” Cawthorn says. He advises sticking by this rule “for every single meeting – no matter what”.

“As an employer of Gen Z workers, I have noticed they are always that little bit late,” he says.

OFFER TO HELP WITH TECHNOLOGY

What Gen Z may lack in experience, they typically make up for in tech savvy, so Cawthorn advises leaning into this.

“Gen Zs can gift tips and tricks around how other generation­s can adopt digital technology faster,” he says. “We are looking at a world where everything is online … and Gen Z have the upper hand there.

“They should be generous with their time and their advice, and older generation­s will certainly be appreciati­ve of that.”

SPEAK UP, BUT LISTEN FIRST

Cawthorn says young people who are bold and courageous and speak up are more likely to become “known” and therefore better placed for promotions in the future.

“Inside meetings, always be curious to listen to other people’s opinions and advice before you speak out. This means you are gaining all this knowledge and where everyone’s point of view is. Once everyone has spoken, give your thoughts. When your opinion is heard last, there is more credibilit­y in that as well.” If they are not ready to share their opinions, he recommends asking questions. The key is to be “approachab­le and credible”.

RECOGNISE YOUR ADVANTAGE

Although many Gen Z workers may feel disadvanta­ged by their entry into the profession­al workforce during a pandemic, Cawthorn says there are also benefits.

“Gen Z are perfectly placed to leverage the current digital age. From adopting webinar technology through to being comfortabl­e behind that video camera in meetings and conference­s (they are at an advantage).”

Marketing programs manager Natassja Lo, 25, says she struggled to connect socially with colleagues after making the shift to full-time remote work last year, and it affected her productivi­ty. She became more upbeat, however, after her employer introduced digital collaborat­ion tools and encouraged team building activities.

Lo says she has since become more confident and more comfortabl­e with being herself in front of colleagues.

“The impact remote work had on my routine was hard to overcome at first, but in the end I’m so happy to have flexibilit­y as an option,” she says.

In Australia, Microsoft’s research reveals 50 per cent of Gen Z workers say they are likely to leave their employer this year.

Such a move may be risky, though, as a survey by human resources software company HireVue finds recruitmen­t demand is skewed towards more senior employees.

Just 26 per cent of Australian HR decision makers see the most vacancies for entry level or junior roles and internship­s, compared to 38 per cent for senior management roles and 27 per cent for middle management roles.

 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Motivation­al speaker and author Sam Cawthorn says Gen Z employees should capitalise on their tech smarts in the workplace, and below, marketing programs manager Natassja Lo.
Motivation­al speaker and author Sam Cawthorn says Gen Z employees should capitalise on their tech smarts in the workplace, and below, marketing programs manager Natassja Lo.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia