Management Strategies That Play to Gen Z’s Strengths written

Jul 1, 2023 | Sample Content

With the oldest members of Gen Z now in their mid 20s, the likelihood is that the majority of new hires in a junior position within law firms and accountancy practices will be part of this generation. Which leaves managers wondering how to ensure they get the most out of them, help them fulfil their potential and stick with the firm for longer than it takes to train them. Do they really need a different approach than Millennials or even Boomers? Are their aims and ambitions not broadly similar?

The answer is, annoyingly, yes and no. While it is a mistake to assume that any generation, whether it’s Millennials (born 1981-1995), Gen X (born 1965-1980) or even the Post-War Baby Boomers, is a single homogeneous cohort, it’s true that each has been shaped by certain major events that took place in their formative years. And for Gen Z (anyone born between 1996 and 2010, also known as Zoomers) these are generally agreed to be climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic and economic uncertainty, both from the late 2000s and more recent times. All three will inevitably play a factor in decisions such as who they work for, how they work and what they want from their career.

Meanwhile they are also the first generation of workers to have grown up with social media, making these so-called ‘digital natives’, in general, more connected and tech savvy than anyone who preceded them.

With these things in mind, we’ve put together some pointers aimed at helping anyone feeling unsure about the best way to manage their youngest team members. They might just come in handy for other generations, too.


  • Treat them as individuals A one-size-fits-all approach rarely fits anyone – whether they are Zoomers or Boomers. Don’t assume that you know what they want, and avoid making assumptions based on age alone. Take time to find out about their career aspirations and motivations from the outset, garnering information through the recruitment and onboarding processes, as well as via regular structured reviews.
  • Be flexible Arguably more than any other generation, the youngest members of the workforce know what they want – and they are prepared to ask for it. Hybrid working with greater flexibility around hours and a better work/life balance are all likely to be high on their agendas. Do not confuse an awareness of how work impacts their lives with a lack of commitment, though. Instead, encourage them to be vocal about their concerns from day one.
  • Expect more questioning… And do not pretend to always have all the answers. Remember that innovation and creativity often stem from challenging the status quo. Gen Z employees tend to thrive in environments that are open to their ideas and input.
  • Consider implementing a reverse mentoring scheme This will help foster better understanding and co-operation, and defuse any areas of inter-generational friction within teams, and in the organisation as a whole. ‘Teaching up’ has been found to provide solid business advantages too: generating fresh ideas, addressing cultural shifts and, crucially, reducing employee churn among younger workers.
  • Give them a sense of belonging Retaining talent is all about showing people they are valued and have a contribution to make – whatever their age. Gen Z are particularly focussed on making an impact, and will look to you to show them how they can do that. Don’t assume that career progression is not important to them; it is. Instigate conversations about their future within your organisation, frequently and right from the start.
  • Lead by example when it comes to ESG With environmental anxiety high on their list of concerns, it’s no surprise that sustainability and diversity and inclusion matter to Gen Z. In fact, a 2023 KPMG survey found that a fifth of young people had turned down job offers based on an employer’s ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) strategy, while 45% researched firms’ ESG credentials before applying. As a manager, you need to demonstrate that you and the firm have values that align with theirs. Make sure you can answer questions about ESG, and embrace and incentivise initiatives at team level.
  • Have regular check-ins Keeping lines of communication open will help satisfy the need for a sense of belonging and connectivity, two things that are particularly important to Zoomers. Provide clarity around what is expected of them, and offer direct and frequent communication on how they are doing.

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