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Creating Successful Leaders

A version of this post was first published in September, 2019

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

I often hear people complaining about the “new generation” of workers as being disloyal to the company. They change jobs like gym shorts and can’t commit to a single business for more than a few years. While that may be true, have you ever stopped to think about WHY that’s the case?

1. Stagnant Wages

For many young and not-so-young (the oldest Millennials are in their 40s now) people, the workplace landscape is MUCH different than it was when Boomers and Gen Xers began their careers. Wages have stagnated and benefits aren’t what they used to be. In many cases, the only way to get a raise is to negotiate one by switching jobs.


Make sure your business is competitive. Offer fair wages, and regularly give raises that account for cost-of-living increases. In addition, make sure your list of benefits is attractive and competitive in the industry.

2. Boredom

“But what about their short attention spans!?” you might say. “We can’t seem to capture their interest.”

Sure, job boredom may play a role in Gen Z and Millennial job-hopping, but this is often a preventable woe. If more than one or two of your staff seem bored or distracted, it’s probable there’s something systemic going on. It may be that…

  1. They are not well-suited for their role.
  2. They are so efficient that they complete their workload much faster than previous generations of workers.
  3. They have checked out because they feel like they don’t fit in in the workplace.
  4. They have checked out because they don’t think they have a voice.


In all these scenarios, communication can help prevent boredom. Regularly check in with your staff and make sure they are feeling engaged and supported. Give them the space to express how they are feeling and vocalize what they’d like to see changed. Then, work with them to strategize ways to make positive changes.

If your young workers are checking out because they feel like they don’t fit in, counter that by encouraging team-building workshops (consider Insights Discovery as a starting point), after-work outings, or collaborative projects. Pay attention and make sure your seasoned workers are giving the newer workers a voice.

3. Feeling Lost

According to a study of 6,900 young people, Gen Zers are actively seeking mentorship at work. The vast majority (82%) want a boss who cares about them and can “relate to them on issues beyond work.” They also crave guidance during this early and formative stage of their career.


The guidance this younger generation is seeking can come in the form of mentorship or sponsorship. Establishing a mentorship program does not have to be terribly involved. Rather, it can be as simple as aligning experienced workers with less experienced workers, advising them to meet once per month, and (if you’re a leader or HR rep) checking in with them every once in a while. I’ve talked about how to start a mentoring cohort in a past blog post, and have also provided steps to find one’s “perfect mentor.”

4. Lack of Freedom

Nobody likes it when others look over their shoulders to supervise their work. It conjures images of elementary school, when teachers had to keep a classroom of rambunctious youngsters in line in addition to teaching multiplication tables. Such treatment in the workplace could induce anxiety and the feeling of being hemmed in. No one works well under that kind of pressure.


Your staff are not elementary children and should not be treated as such. It’s a good idea to demonstrate trust in your team by giving them a long leash when it comes to projects, minimizing your involvement, and being open to different styles of working and different solutions.

Another thing: consider allowing your staff to occasionally work from home. We live in a time where technology enables many people to work remotely on at least some of their projects. As long as the work is being done, who cares if they work in their pajamas?

If you have a retention problem, ask yourself if any (or all!) of these four factors are coming into play, and then DO something! I’m here to help.




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