Gen Z is estimated to represent 30% of the workforce by 2030. And while their predecessors largely prioritized characteristics like job security and professional development when assessing work opportunities and job satisfaction, younger workers are placing more emphasis on things like company ethics and work-life balance.

Some employers may be unaccustomed to working with this new culture and related set of expectations. In fact, a recent study by revealed that nearly three-quarters of managers and business leaders find Gen Z employees more difficult to work with than older employees. But it doesn’t have to be. In order to leverage the unique skill sets and passion Gen Z brings to the table, employers may simply need to adjust the way they interact and manage their employees.

Meeting Today’s Employees Where They Are

Surprising statistics from a study by career experts at Zety reveal a significant disconnect between what today’s employees need to be successful and what employers are currently offering.

79% of Zety survey respondents feel they are being taken for granted by their managers, with one third stating they rarely or never receive praise from their managers.

It’s important that managers recognize a job well done with praise. “Positive reinforcement creates emotional and psychological safety which leads to higher levels of engagement and performance,” says Mary Axelsen. The founder and CEO of WeMaax Consulting says that positive reinforcement is a motivator and when recognizing an employee, managers should give real-time, specific feedback that includes the impact the employee’s performance had or will have on the organization.

Positive feedback also helps with retention. “Giving recognition for a job well done isn’t just empty words,” says Impact’s Dominic Fitch. The consultant says it can result in employees being less likely to leave a job, which means the company holds on to the best talent available, helping performance and saving costs on new recruitment and training.

25% of employees say they rarely or never receive praise from their colleagues.

Employees often feel a sense of competition with colleagues, rather than collaboration. This stifles the supportive work environment that most employees crave. However, when employers clearly articulate company goals, and make certain all employees understand these goals and their role in achieving them, employers can create a team mindset and employees will rally together to deliver on it. “When a team is competitively collaborative,” says Axelsen, “they freely share with each other, focus on beating out the competition and praise one another’s contributions.”

30% of respondents cited sensitivity to criticism as their greatest weakness.

Being sensitive to criticism is being human. Our brain is five times more developed to anticipate and respond to threat than reward. So, in order to constructively share feedback that an employee will actually hear and respond positively to, it’s important to do it in two steps. First, establish a safe and friendly space by sharing positive feedback – what has been going well and what’s working. Positive reinforcement triggers the reward portion of our brain. Employees feel seen, valued, and appreciated.

Then, deliver the constructive feedback. Share what isn’t working or what can be done better. “Refer to specific goals or outcomes so there is mutual understanding of what needs to be achieved,” advises Axelsen. She also recommends flipping the script and rather than telling the employee what went wrong, instead ask them to share what they think missed the mark and what they can do differently. This communicates to the employee that he or she is capable of solving the problem.

Only 38% of respondents feel proud of their professional achievements.

Fostering a sense of pride among employees is important. Employees that feel good about themselves, their employer and their performance at work are six times more likely to endorse their workplace to others. This helps with corporate brand reputation and recruitment. They are also twice as likely to stay at a job for an extended period, reducing turnover, which can be costly.

Setting clearly defined goals and expectations sets employees up for identifiable “wins.” Offering professional development opportunities instills a feeling of growth and progression. And of course, providing and soliciting feedback – encouraging two-way communication – lets employees know they are seen and heard and makes them feel part of a team or community.

77% of respondents said they would sacrifice their mental health to go really far in their career.

Sacrificing one’s mental health is NOT an effective long-term strategy. “Loneliness, burnout and stress are at an all-time high, especially for women in senior leadership roles, single mothers and black women,” says Axelsen. To support employees’ mental health, it’s important that leaders proactively manage workloads, provide flexibility on how, when and where work gets done and show care and concern for the person, not just the employee.

Employees are a company’s most valuable asset. Making small changes to the way employers manage and interact with today’s employees can have a meaningful impact on employee satisfaction and, in turn, employee productivity.