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Managing Gen Z in the workplace in the life sciences industry

Posted on October 2023

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​Projected to make up 27% of the global workforce by 2025, Generation Z is emerging as is a force to be reckoned with. Born between 1997 and 2012, this generation is characterized by passionate individualism, enjoying both collaboration and fierce competition, a strong affinity for technology in the life sciences workplace, and pragmatism.

However, according to a recent survey, 74% of managers and business leaders felt that Gen Z is more challenging to work with compared to other generations. In this article, EPM Scientific explores strategies for life sciences leaders to best manage Generation Z.

The different generations in today’s workforce

The different generations in today's life sciences workforce consist of Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials (Generation Y), and Generation Z. Each group brings distinct qualities and characteristics to the workplace:

Baby Boomers: Born 1946-1964, known for discipline, focus, and a strong work ethic.

Generation X: Born 1965-1980, characterized by entrepreneurial spirit, independence, and a value for work-life balance.

Millennials: Born 1981-1996, noted for confidence, tech-savviness, and a focus on work-life balance.

Generation Z: Born 1997-2012, display traits of competitiveness, entrepreneurship, and independence.

Understanding Gen Z employees

Effectively managing Gen Z in the workplace hinges on understanding their unique characteristics, which, while not universally applicable, can be:

  • Individualism and collaboration

  • High motivation through competition

  • Preference for in-person over online communication

  • Recognition of technology as a valuable work tool

  • Expectation of authenticity and transparency from leaders and colleagues

  • A desire for frequent feedback

  • Pragmatism and practicality

Effective communication with Gen Z

To communicate effectively with Gen Z employees in the life sciences industry, it is essential to:

  • Encourage sharing of perspectives in regular team meetings to support their collaborative spirit.

  • Prioritize open and honest communication, valuing their opinions.

  • Provide regular, constructive feedback.

  • Emphasize equality and knowledge-sharing.

  • Utilize bite-sized and video content to engage Gen Z.

Leadership styles that resonate with Gen Z

Certain leadership styles resonate more with Gen Z. Leadership approaches that align with their values include:

  • Coaching leadership, which supports their desire for personal and professional development through on-the-job training and mentorship.

  • Democratic leadership, valuing inclusivity, open communication, and appreciation of their opinions.

  • Transformational leadership, which inspires and challenges Gen Z to succeed.

Motivating Gen Z employees

Motivating Gen Z employees in the workplace involves understanding their key motivators:

  • Autonomy and ownership of their work.

  • Alignment of projects with their values and passions.

  • Gamification of goals and tasks.

  • Task variety and rotation.

  • Flexibility.

  • Regular feedback and progress updates.

  • Teamwork, open communication, and active input-seeking.

  • Collaborative cross-functional projects.

  • A healthy work-life balance.

Conflict resolution strategies with Gen Z

Effective conflict resolution strategies with Gen Z and team members from other generations entail:

  • Understanding differing work styles.

  • Consideration of generational values.

  • Sharing of perceptions.

  • Seeking generationally appropriate solutions.

  • Finding common ground among generations.

  • Managing expectations.

  • Facilitating mutual learning.

Grow and retain your team with EPM Scientific

Every generation brings its unique strengths and perspectives, contributing to organizational success. Whether you seek to hire Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, or Baby Boomers for your life sciences company, EPM Scientific can connect you with the right talent. Grow and retain your team by partnering with EPM Scientific - submit a vacancy or request a call back.

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