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NextGen Magazine


Communications Specialist Offers Insights on How to Inspire Younger Workers

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Nov 17, 2023

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Changes in the professional landscape over the past 10 years require leaders who takes workers’ mental well-being into account, meaning that leaders need to inspire the young members of their teams by fostering a positive environment, Jab Media President Christina Gnozzo wrote in Fast Company. Jab Media is an advertising and marketing firm.

A leader who treats workers with kindness and empathy will inspire the members of Generation Z—who are predicted to comprise 27 percent of the workforce by 2025—to work harder, Gnozzo wrote. Accordingly, the old approach of ruling by fear no longer works, and it can have a negative effect on productivity and the bottom line.

Instead, Gnozzo suggested three ways in which leaders can inspire their young workers.

One way is finding out what motivates them. Merely asking a direct report, “What motivates you?” is insufficient as it may intimidate the employee into giving an answer that he or she believes the manager wants to hear. She suggested gaining employees’ trust by taking a genuine interest in their lives and well-being, and nurturing the relationship from there. Examples could include asking about their weekend activities or other interests. “Active listening and showing a genuine interest in their lives can convert to trust, and through trust, a better understanding of where their motivation stems from,” she wrote.

The second way is to play into employees' strengths, which comes after finding out what motivates them. That could entail giving employees more responsibility for something about which they are more passionate, or encouraging them to work on a skill that requires growth. Or if an employee is not inspired by a certain activity, the manager may decide to give it to someone who is inspired by it.

“This all leads to people feeling heard, supported, and valued, which has been known to reduce turnover rates,” Gnozzo wrote.

The third way is being vulnerable. “When I started my career, I was under the impression that my managers never made an error in their life and never questioned anything,” Gnozzo wrote. Now, talking to colleagues can create a support system. "If a colleague can relate to you, it can boost their confidence and serve as a connection point toward fostering a better relationship," Gnozzo wrote.

“Younger employees are bursting with wonderful ideas” that can result in ideas that can benefit the company, she added.

“Nurturing and valuing younger employees is a key factor in driving a competitive and industry-leading company,” Gnozzo wrote in conclusion. “So, it’s in everyone’s best interest to boost Gen Z workers’ confidence, inspire them, and power forward.”