What Everyone Should Know About Managing Gen Z
Carrie Viohl, the co-owner of The Square, a restaurant in Moultrie, Georgia, manages a team of Gen Zers (those born between 1997 and 2012, the oldest of whom are just entering the workforce). But she wasn’t optimistic about hiring them at first. “Restaurant life is hard. It’s demanding work. We went through hundreds of employees in the first year of the restaurant — people would show up and not even finish their shift,” she tells Thrive Global. Initially, she believed the worst stereotypes about Gen Z, including a greater propensity to ghost employers, and wouldn’t consider bringing them aboard. “I thought they’d be even worse than the people we’d been hiring,” she says. But when she finally did, she realized some facts she hadn’t foreseen.
Some of the emerging criticisms lobbed at Gen Z — they’re non-resilient, extremely anxious, addicted to screens, perpetually stressed, and hyper-sensitive — are, in fact, supported by several studies, books, surveys, and news reports, including Thrive Global’s own Thrive on Campus, which investigates the complicated reasons college students today are suffering the highest rates of anxiety and depression in history — so much so their schools’ mental health facilities can’t accommodate their needs. As Gen Z enters the workforce, employers are scrambling to address their mental health needs, which cost the global economy $1 trillion annually, according to the World Health Organization. In fact, the quest to create a culture sensitive to their vulnerabilities so resonated with employers that a Wall Street Journal article on the topic, “The Most Anxious Generation Goes to Work,” went viral earlier this year.
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