The Keys to Leading Gen Z Employees

July 24, 2019
An award-winning shop operator offers his biggest tips for leading the youngest members of the current workforce.

A day after being honored as CARSTAR's top U.S. franchise partner recently, Jamie White was still all smiles. 

While roaming the lobby of the Chicago Hilton at CARSTAR's annual conference, White, the owner of CARSTAR Dalton South and CARSTAR Ken's North in northern Georgia, had no problem admitting that he got plenty of help in winning the business accolade. 

Namely, White credited his largely youthful, energetic staff. 

"My employees are amazing," White says. "They're willing to do whatever it takes. They're willing to grow and eager to learn." 

White, 36, said he is the fifth-oldest of his business' 40 employees. Many of his shop employees are around the age of 25, right on the cut off of what many consider to be a member of 'Generation Z' (researchers typically consider someone born between the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s to be member of Gen Z).  

"Our employees are young," White says, "and [the key is] just showing them that, the more we grow as a company, the more they can grow personally, as far as moving up the ladder. 

"As long as our sales are growing their pay is growing, and they can go from being an estimator to a manager." 

White's other keys for leading Gen Z employees include the following: 

Illustrate that you hire from within.

"I'm just up front from the beginning," White says. "I tell them, this is where you're at, and, as we grow and we prove that this one location has it figured out, we will continue to look for another location. And, once we get another location, all my employees know that I hire from within.

"We bring 'em in young, teach them, and let them grow." 

When possible, give employees creative license.

Young, Gen Z employees want to feel at least a little freedom to make their own decisions during their workday, White says.

"They don't like being stood on top off, with yelling, or screaming, or demands," the shop operator notes of Gen Z employees. "If you give them a goal, and they see you reaching that goal, then they tend to tie to that and they want to help you reach that. You just have to ... give them freedom to help you reach it with their ideas."

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