How To Lose A Gen Z Employee In 10 Days

Written by
Ananya Rao

You have a new Gen Z employee in your team - social savvy, opinionated, ambitious, a new perspective of the world, a new perspective to the workplace. Don’t like ‘em? Here’s a how-to-guide on getting rid of them in 10-days. 

Day 1. Lights, Camera, No action
Your newest employee walks into the workplace, you carry on with the induction, talk about the company, talk about the company values, paint a rosy picture of the future of the company, amplify the perks, put them on cloud 9. The next day, you welcome them into the real work place. The party is over, back to ground reality. One of the quickest ways to get rid of your Gen Z employee is to deceive them, and show them that the company they so passionately joined is just like every other capitalistic-money-hungry company out there. 

With this on day #1 and the crippling uncertainty slowly setting in - you’re on an accelerated path to receive their resignation. 

Day 2. Give them menial, inconsequential tasks

Gen Z is *just* entering the workforce. Right out of college. Right into the not-so-idealistic world they’re yet to experience. On day 2, they’re hunting for opportunities to make their mark, and for them to display value and ownership to their task. Give them inconsequential paperwork with no context or no scope for growth. Don’t balance their work tasks with a healthy mix of learning curves, and an opportunity for them to get out of their comfort zone. If you’re in a hurry to get rid of them, ask them to run coffee errands. 

Gen Z doesn't work for a paycheck, they work for themselves, their values, their integrity. Working for a paycheck is so… last generation. 

Day 3. Re-define ambiguity

One of the most common requirements for startups or even corporations these days is to be comfortable to work with ambiguity. Gen Z loves that. That is precisely what separates them from other generations at work, and also what keeps them going - no set systematic procedures can make them feel liberated. If you want them to feel challenged and excited, give them a task and let them figure out how to get it done. 

On the contrary,  if you turn ambiguity to cluelessness, you might get rid of your Gen Z employee faster than you can imagine. Ambiguity can quickly change to cluelessness if the company’s leadership doesn’t keep evolving with their surroundings.

Day 4. Talk down to them 

Make them feel tiny. Make their work feel tiny. Make their contribution feel insignificant. And….that’s it. You’ve now successfully laid down the foundation of what is going to become a constant hindrance of who they are, and who they wanted to be once they entered the corporate world. 

Unlike other generations, Gen Z can’t tolerate, rather sustain themselves with the age old trick of negative reinforcement. They’re idealistic, yes. But when it comes to themselves and personal growth, there’s no other generation who knows themselves better. So, when we talk about insecurity, it is definitely not about themselves, but rather if they’re an ideal fit for the company or team. 

On day #4, you’ve tightened the screw of the idea of applying to different places, or worst case scenario, you’ve led them to corporate existentialism. 

Day 5. Judge them based on (the wrong) numbers

Gen Z has had side hustles on the internet even before they knew what they were doing were called side hustles. A large range of skills whether it be social media management, brand strategy, styling, sales, coding, or even business development, an ideal progressive company would judge their applicants based on their skills, or their success metrics rather than evaluate them based on their years of experience in the industry.

Unfortunately, even today, most candidates are evaluated and compensated based on their ‘years of experience’ rather than the impact they create. Gen Z won’t stand for this backward thinking, because they know their value. Expect them to give their fullest for minimum wage, be sure that they’re mentally out of your organisation already. 

Day 6. All work and no play
Ambitious, yes. Willing to sacrifice work life balance, no.

Watching the generations before them, whine about their lives - to be more specific, whine about the unification of their work and personal lives, this is a big no no for Gen Z. No amount of compensation, equity, perks or any other factor can play a role to allure the generation, if work-life balance isn’t a part of the work culture. 

This isn’t arrogance, this isn’t them being lazy, this is them prioritising their lives and health from the very inception of their career. To be fair, all the other generations must learn this key sustenance rule for their personal and professional growth. But hey, if you want to see them out the door, ask them to unnecessarily work three consecutive weekends. 

Day 7. Respect hierarchy over opinions 

We hear ideas from the most unexpected sources. And when working in a corporate environment, hierarchy is an unsaid rigid structure. Hierarchy, however, comes in various forms to accommodate these ideas to better the company, or organisation - to even better people, culture, and the workspace environment. 

Progressive organisations, smaller ones at least adopt a horizontal hierarchy compared to a vertical one. Gen Z prefers to work in horizontal hierarchical organisations because it provides more opportunity for them to make a larger impact, without them having to go through multiple levels of approvals. Also, this allows them to be more productive and proactive. 

Day 8. Mental health is a myth 

Especially with the onset of the pandemic, everyone’s mental health is on the brim of sanity. And with Gen Z, they don’t shy away from publicly talking about their mental health - that’s why they expect the same from the organisation they work in as well. 

Every company gives their employees ‘sick days’, but that doesn’t cover days where your mental health is at an all time low. But since the past two years have been so tough on everyone around, days off to tend to one’s mental well being is evolving to be a common occurrence. 

Ignore the concept of mental health in the workplace, if you want your Gen Z employee to cringe and storm out. 

Day 9. Dictate don’t mentor 

One of the key needs of a young Gen Z employee is to find a mentor who’ll guide them, educate them, allow them to grow. That’s what they’re going to be looking for in their initial few days in the workplace as well. If no one in the organisation respects them, values them or doesn't seem like someone who can help them pave way for their future growth, Gen Z won’t hesitate to look for a mentor outside work - which translates to them mentally switching off any emotional connection to the workplace. 

Being a mentor to Gen Z, is making them an ally, rather than treating them like a junior. Treat them like they’re beneath you, and watch them sail through the exit doors with a blink of an eye. 

Day 10. Repeat, repeat, and repeat 

Reiterate what you’ve been doing for the past 9 days, and congratulations! You’ve just lost a Gen Z employee. 

Work-life conversations that question the status quo.
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