Board Converting News, May 22, 2023

BoardConverting Serving the North American Corrugated and Folding Carton Industries for 39 years May 22, 2023 VOL. 39, NO. 21

Managing The Fastest Growing Part Of The Workforce: Gen Z

Supremex Acquires Assets Of Graf-Pak For $6 Million Montréal, Québec based Supremex Inc., a leading North American manufacturer and marketer and a growing provider of pa- per-based packaging solutions, announced the acquisition of the assets of Graf-Pak Inc., a provider of folding carton packaging solutions to a variety of commercial markets. The transaction was concluded for a total consideration of approximately $6 million, on a cash-free and debt-free basis, subject to customary adjustments, financed through the company’s existing credit facility. Founded in 1995 and employing close to 25 people, Graf-Pak operates a facility locat- ed in Pointe-Claire, Québec, near the compa- ny’s primary folding carton plant in Lachine. Its offering is comprised primarily of the printing and manufacturing of folding carton packaging products, mainly for the food and cosmetics markets. For its last fiscal year, Graf-Pak generated sales of approximately $6.7 million. “The acquisition of Graf-Pak is a perfect fit with our existing folding carton operations in Quebec,” said Stewart Emerson, President and CEO of Supremex. CONTINUED ON PAGE 4

BY PHILLIP M. PERRY The Gen Zers have arrived.

As the fastest-growing component of the nation’s labor pool, people in their early twenties are having a major impact on business opera- tions everywhere. “Gen Zers are the new workforce, whether manage- ment from previous generations likes it or not,” said Dr. Zachary Ginder, Executive Director at Pine Siskin Consulting.

To deal effectively with Gen Zers, employers must retool their work environments to meet the needs of a generation that sees the world in a radically new way. “It's necessary to have people on your business team who can communicate with Gen Zers in their language and with their way of thinking,” said Michael Gibbs, CEO at Go Cloud Careers. The most visible change is a growing level of racial and ethnic diver- sity - a transformation that is also apparent in the nation’s customer pool. “Brands must understand the massive demographic shift toward multi- cultural America that Gen Zers represent,” said Natalie Griffith, Director of Product & Content at Collage Group. She noted that Gen Z is the first American generation where multicultural groups make up more than half the population. “While it may be obvious that focusing on this cohort will attract Gen Z dollars now, it also future proofs a business as the nation’s shift toward diversity is here to stay.” The more diverse workforce is also demanding that employers take a stand on larger social issues. Collage Group found that Gen Zers CONTINUED ON PAGE 24


6 x x 8 x x 12 x x 26 x x 3 ICPF Offers Program To Help Fill Open Plant Positions 6 CorrExpo Panel To Offer Tips On Upgrading Equipment Emerging Leaders: The Future Of The Corrugated Industry 22 Sutherland Packaging Invests In HP PageWide Digital Press


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Machinery and Handling for the Corrugated Board Industry

ICPF Offers Apprenticeship Program To Help Fill Open Plant Positions The International Corrugated Packaging Foundation (ICPF) has announced a new opportunity for corporate partners to fill plant floor positions through registered apprentice- ships. ICPF is working on a partnership with SkillsUSA Il- linois to make their Registered Apprenticeship Program available to interested partners. This program targets spe- cific positions and allows high school students to partici- pate in work-based learning experiences while in school. This solution is designed so companies can create their own unique talent pipeline. SkillsUSA Illinois handles all the U.S. Department of Labor paperwork and helps recruit the candidates. Companies take part in the selection pro- cess and bring on apprentices who want to work, can learn under senior employees to close the knowledge gap, and go on to become full-time employees. Students 16 years or older can participate in the program and this will work in a union environment. The Registered Apprenticeship Program is currently available only to those with facilities in Illinois. However, SkillsUSA Illinois is currently working on a grant that can in- clude a national rollout for the industry. All they need is for the industry to show interest. For information, visit icpfbox. org . Contact to set up an informa- tional meeting with SkillsUSA Illinois.

AVERAGE CONTAINERBOARD PRICES The average prices reported are tabulated from prices PAID by various sources throughout the United States the week previous to issue. Prices in some areas of the country may be higher or lower than the tabulated average. The prices tabulated here are intended only for purposes of reference. They do not connote any commitment to sell any material at the indicated average. Transactions may be completed at any time at a price agreed upon by seller and purchaser.

REGION E. Coast Midwest Southeast Southwest

42# Kraft liner $ 9 55.00-960.00 $ 9 70.00-980.00 $ 9 70.00-980.00 $ 970.00-980.00 $ 1000.00-1 010.00 $ 9 73.00-983.00

26# Semi-Chem. Medium

Short Ton Del. Short Ton Del. Short Ton Del. Short Ton Del. Short Ton Del. Short Ton Del.

$ 890 .00-9 4 0.00 $9 0 5.00-9 2 5.00 $9 0 5.00-9 2 5.00 $9 0 5.00-9 2 5.00 $9 2 5.00-9 4 5.00 $9 0 8.00-9 2 8.00

West Coast U.S. Average

SHEET PRICES BY REGION (AVERAGE) Per 1MSF, local delivery included, 50MSF single item order, truckload delivery. Sheets

E. Coast Midwest South-SW S. CA N.CA/WA-OR US Aver.

200# 275#



$62.69 $82.80

$85.35 119.54

$73.13 101.29












107.46 118.45

114.69 129.32

116.54 137.25 117.82 145.56

141.08 148.46

122.76 131.80

CANADIAN SHEET PRICES (AVERAGE) In Canadian Dollars, per 1MSF, local delivery included, under 50MSF single item order, truckload delivery. 200# 275# Oyster UC 275#DW 350#DW $78.56 $99.18 $9.00 $96.32 $105.83 CANADIAN LINERBOARD & MEDIUM The average prices reported are tabulated from prices PAID by various sources throughout Canada. Prices may be higher or lower in various areas of the country. The prices tabulated here are intended only for purposes of reference. They do not connote any commitment to sell any material at the indicated average. Transactions may be completed at any time at a price agreed upon by seller and purchaser. Prices are Canadian $ and per metric ton.

42# Kraft Liner 26#

Semi-Chem Medium

East West

$9 2 0.00 $ 96 5.00

$9 1 0.00 $9 4 5.00


May 22, 2023

Supremex Acquires (CONT’D FROM PAGE 1)

Core Competency

“Graf-Pak’s well-established business in the food and cosmetics sectors will provide further critical mass in these two important growth vectors for Supremex. "Its state-of-the-art equipment ensures speed, effi- ciency, accuracy, and superior quality at every step of the manufacturing process. Given its proximity, we intend to integrate Graf-Pak’s operations into our Lachine hub over the next 90 days and we expect this tuck-in operation to rapidly yield synergies within our folding carton group.” In January, Supremex announced a $26.6 million ac- quisition of Impression Paragraph Inc., an integrated pro- vider of paper-based packaging, print and a broad range of commercial markets. Paragraph operates two facilities in Ville-Saint-Laurent and Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec. Its of- ferings include folding carton packaging and point-of-sale displays for the cosmetic, pharmaceutical, food, confec- tionary and retail sectors. Supremex operates 11 manufacturing facilities across four provinces in Canada and six manufacturing facilities in four states in the United States employing over 1,000 people. Supremex's growing footprint allows it to efficient- ly manufacture and distribute envelope and packaging solutions designed to the specifications of major national and multinational corporations. For more information on the acquisition and the com- pany's offerings, visit .

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May 22, 2023

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CorrExpo Panel To Offer Tips On Upgrading Existing Equipment Like the song says, you can’t always get what you want. At CorrExpo 2023, August 28-30 in Cleveland, Ohio — the Rock-n-Roll Capital of the World — you can learn tips and tricks to help you get what you need. Produced by TAPPI, the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry, the program will include the pan- el discussion, “Maximizing the Efficiency and Quality of Ex- isting Capital Equipment,” on Wednesday, August 30. Attendees will learn from industry experts about op- tions for upgrading existing equipment for efficiency, qual- ity and waste reduction. Moderator Dave Burgess, Sales Director, JB Machin- ery, will lead panelists through this scenario: A converter learns he will not receive funds for a new machine and

attempts to upgrade the existing equipment — knowing that it will not have all the capabilities of a modern-day machine, but still moving the quality and efficiency in a positive direction. The panelists will discuss actionable op- tions such as: • Machine audits, possible mechanical and electrical upgrades CorrExpo 2023 will be held at the Huntington Convention Cen- ter in Cleveland, Ohio on August 28-30.

• Additional print stations (including top), vacuum dwell, doctor blade retrofits and mi- cro-grinds • Anilox roll audits, print objectives leading to engraving choices • Ink management systems • Ink recovery and wastewater manage- ment systems • Back-end enhancements/retrofits to im- prove speed and quality CorrExpo 2023 provides industry deci- sion makers with a variety of unique connec- tions through educational opportunities, net- working events, and an extensive show floor. A special multi-discount tiered pricing is available for box plants ranging from $2,800 for one to three employees and $9,715 for 15 or more employees. One of the optional events includes the Corrugated Golf Classic Tournament at the Sleepy Hollow Golf Course on August 28 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Registration in- cludes breakfast/lunch and transportation. Rental clubs are $60 per set. Book your room before August 4 to re- ceive group rates. The conference hotels include the Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Tower and the Westin Cleveland Down- ton. The Hilton Cleveland Downtown has al- ready sold out. Visit to register, view the schedule at a glance, book your hotel ac- commodations and to learn more about this industry event.


May 22, 2023


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PCA To Idle Mill In Wallula, WA

Box Shipments ( U.S. Corrugated Product Shipments) Industry Shipments In Billions of Square Feet Month December 2022

Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) will be idling its paper mill in Wallula, Washington affecting some 300 jobs, according to the Tri-City Herald . Operations are expected to resume later this year. Facilities producing corrugated products in Richland and Wallula, however, will remain open, the paper said. The Washington mill produces about 1,800 tons of unbleached paper and corrugated medium per day and consumes about 1,000 tons per day of old corrugated containers (OCC) it sources from around the region. Based in Lake Forest, Illinois, the PCA is the third-larg- est producer of container board in the US. It operates more than 100 facilities and employs approximately 15,000 employees. The decision did not fall under the Worker Adjust- ment Retraining Notification (WARN) Act which requires advance notice for companies employing more than 100 people, the report said. PCA’s packaging division includes seven container- board mills and about 90 converting operations. In 2022, PCA produced about 4.6 million tons of con- tainerboard and shipped about 63.4 billion square feet of corrugated products. PCA's net sales in 2022 was $8.5 billion.



Percent Change Avg Week Percent Change

2022 2021

30.124 34.180


7.927 8.545


Industry Total

Year-to Date

December 2022



Percent Change Avg Week Percent Change

2022 2021

400.520 416.189


7.979 8.291


Industry Total

Containerboard Consumption (Thousands of Tons)



Percent Change Year-to-Date Percent Change

2022 2021

2.4260 2.7360


32.5461 33.8321


Container Board Inventory - Corrugator Plants (Thousands of Tons)

Corrugator Plants Only


Percent Change Weeks of Supply

Percent Change

Dec. Nov.

2.2603 2.2586


3.5 3.6


Shipping Days




2022 2021

19 20

251 251

SOURCE: Fibre Box Association

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May 22, 2023

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Kodiak Announces Investment In Kolbus Hycorr Rotary Die Cutter Chicago, Illinois based packaging manufacturer, Kodiak LLC, announced its investment in a four-color Kolbus Hy- corr 135-inch rotary die cutter. The machine is currently being installed and is planned to start up later this month.

shapes and designs with accuracy and efficiency, making it a solution for a wide range of packaging and display ap- plications, from shipping boxes to retail displays. With its vacuum transfer technology, the Hycorr deliv- ers registration and color dependability. Other features include a quick setup, easy operation and productivity; durably built construction with automation capabilities de- signed to work for short and long run work in addition to a slitter/slotter section. "We are excited to add the Kolbus Hycorr 135" rotary die cutter and anticipate that our customers will be im- pressed with its capabilities," a Kodiak spokesperson said. "This machine will enable us to expand our offerings and provide our customers with even greater flexibility and customization options for their packaging needs." “The Kolbus Hycorr 135 is specially designed to handle high-volume, high-speed production with precise printing and die cutting capabilities,” said Jeff Dietz, President, Kol- bus America. “It provides great flexibility while handling a wide range of corrugated board and thicknesses, making it a perfect machine for Kodiak and their customers.” Founded in 1997, Kodiak is the most recent of the Pack- Pros companies which have more than 70 years of design and manufacturing expertise. The companies operate un- der the leadership of Tony Mooter, sons Justin and Anton, and daughter, Sheyanne, who operates Kodiak. For more information, visit .

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AICC Emerging Leaders: The Bright Future Of The Corrugated Industry BY ASHLEY PRAZYCH

The corrugated industry is filled with tenured and knowledgeable indi- viduals whose careers began and thrived in the field. With established leadership and decades of relationship-building across independent box plants and OEMs, the corrugated industry for many is more than just a career; it’s family.

Packaging ERP Algorithmic Scheduling Web-Based Access Online Customer Portals Paperless Workflows Mobile Sales Systems Digital Signage Production Monitoring Mobile Logistics Analytics & Reporting Cloud Hosting IT Management Services Cyber Security Management

As the industry evolves, it is essential to invest in future leaders who can continue this legacy. That's why the AICC introduced the Emerging Leaders program. Open to any employee under the age of 35 working at an AICC General or Associate Member company, the program aims to encourage, engage, and support young professionals in the paper and packaging industry as they find their voice, grow their network, and de- velop skills that will serve them throughout their careers. This year’s theme for Emerging Leaders is Leading at Any Level, which promotes the message that anyone can make an impact in their organization, regardless of their position. From customer service and HR to marketing or engineering, the program is intentional in attracting mem- bers invested in their professional and personal growth. This emphasis on quality over quantity ensures that the program fosters a community of ambitious individuals who are actively contributing to their own develop- ment as leaders in the corrugated industry. Membership in the Emerging Leaders program provides numerous benefits, including a culture of connection with like-minded individu- als and access to a multitude of learning opportunities like mentorship programs, plant visits, cross-functional training, and C-Suite insights via monthly webinars. Members are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the numerous onsite training sessions and networking events held annually. Though these events are optional and sometimes require ad- ditional fees to participate, they provide invaluable opportunities for face- to-face interaction with fellow colleagues. At the 2023 AICC Spring Meeting in Miami, Justin Delcher, the newest member of the SUN Automation Group marketing team, had his inaugural in-person corrugated event and experience with Emerging Leaders. CONTINUED ON PAGE 14 AICC Emerging Leader Delegate John McQueary, Vice President of Sales at CST Systems, addressed attendees at the AICC Spring Meeting in Miami, FL.

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Emerging Leaders (CONT’D FROM PAGE 12)

In addition to networking and leadership opportunities, members of the Emerging Leaders program can partici- pate in industry committees such as government relations, paperboard supply and regulation, and industry education. Also, within the Emerging Leaders group is a delegate pro- gram for individuals looking to get even more involved in industry activities.

Reflecting on his journey so far, Delcher shared, “Being new to the corrugated industry has been overwhelming at times. I'm constantly learning about the intricacies of the industry and the inner workings of large manufacturing companies, while also embracing my own role within this

A panel of industry professionals and alumni of the Emerging Leaders program discuss the importance of leadership, communi- cation, and professional growth at this year's AICC Spring Meeting.

dynamic field.” He further emphasized the value of Emerg- ing Leaders, stating, “The program brings a real human el- ement to the daunting nature of entering an industry with such vast knowledge and history. The emphasis on net- working, communication, and personal growth has played a big role in helping me acclimate to my new career.”

The program's delegate course offers three levels: freshman, junior, and senior, with annual elections for the entry position. Junior delegates take on a more hands-on role in developing and growing the program through tasks like event coordination and webinar planning and creation.


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May 22, 2023

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Emerging Leaders (CONT’D FROM PAGE 14)

The senior delegate acts as a strategist and advisor to the junior delegate, as they both report to the AICC board on behalf of the Emerging Leaders.

When John McQueary, now Vice President of Sales at CST Systems and Junior Delegate for Emerging Leaders, was a newbie in the corrugated industry, he did what any ambitious professional with growth aspirations would do. This year's Emerging Leaders networking event was held at King's Dining and Entertainment in Miami. Young professionals from around the US caught up and played games, unwinding after a busy day of presentations and meetings.



May 22, 2023



Emerging Leaders (CONT’D FROM PAGE 16)

The Perfect Combo Get Peak Performance From Your Equipment with Matched Component Sets

Recognizing the importance of networking and learning from industry veterans, he seized every opportunity to ex- pand his knowledge and connections. After immersing himself in the industry for about a year, McQueary identified a unique prospect within the Emerg- ing Leaders program. “It can be intimidating to step into a new organization, particularly in a specialized field like cor- rugated.” McQueary said. “I became an Emerging Leaders delegate to build upon the existing support system, plac- ing a strong emphasis on welcoming and supporting new members. When they enter an event with unfamiliar faces, I want them to feel enthusiastic about the vast opportuni- ties, new colleagues, and friends that lie ahead.”

Nothing’s more rewarding

than a couple made for each other. That’s why the engineers at ARC International have focused their skills and talents on crafting perfect

matches between the components that must work in tandem on your exo folder gluers and die-cutters: • Anilox Rollers and Ink Chambers • Anilox and Wiper Rollers • Feed and Pull Rollers • Glue and Meter Rollers You can achieve the press speeds and print quality you need to ll your most demanding orders by pairing your team with The ARChitects of Flexo. Contact ARC today to learn how these engineered matches of exo folder gluer and die-cutter components (new or

McQueary's unwavering commitment to cultivating an inclusive and supportive environment for young profes- sionals highlights the pivotal role of programs like Emerg- ing Leaders in the corrugated industry. With approximately 100 active members and growing, this program serves as a win-win for independent corrugators and the rising inno- vative leaders it aims to develop. Together, they are driv- ing the industry forward and ensuring a prosperous future for the corrugated industry as a whole. Companies who support their young professionals in the Emerging Leader program get the benefit of increas- ingly knowledgeable employees who are developing their soft skills and have an interest in contributing to the health of their company on a high level. AICC Member Compa- nies can retain young talent by encouraging their employ- ees to participate in the career development opportunities offered by the EL program. To learn more about the pro- gram and to become a member, visit . Ashley Prazych is a Jacksonville, Florida based Con- tributing Editor for Board Converting News. John McQueary of CST Systems and Junior Delegate connects with Jordan Dawson of Harris Packaging, Freshman Delegate, at the 2023 AICC Spring Meeting Emerging Leaders network- ing event in Miami, Florida.

reconditioned) can help you achieve a more perfect union of production and prots.

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3/31/21 6:09 PM

HHS Announces Covid-19 Public Health Emergency Transition Plans The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced policy changes now that the Public Health Emergency (PHE) phase for COVID-19 has expired. While the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, remains a public health priority, the HHS said we are better prepared in our response to viral outbreaks than we were three years ago and can now transition away from the emergency phase. The HHS will focus on improving standards of care in partnership with state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies, industry, and advocates, to ensure an orderly transition. Over the last two years, the Biden Administration has implemented the largest adult vaccination program in US history, with nearly 270 million Americans receiving at

least one shot of a Covid-19 vaccine. Since the peak of the Omicron surge at the end of January 2022, daily Covid-19 cases are down by 92 per- cent, deaths have declined by over 80 percent, and new Covid-19 hospitalizations are down nearly 80 percent. Covid-19 vaccines and treatments, such as Paxlovid and Lagevrio, will continue to be accessible to all who need them. When the transition to traditional health care cover- age occurs later this year, many Americans will continue to pay nothing out-of-pocket for the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines are a preventive health service for most private insurance plans and will be fully covered without a co-pay. Covid-19 products, including tests, vaccines, and treat- ments, will also not be affected. Here's a glance at what will be affected: • Certain Medicare and Medicaid waivers and broad flexibilities for health care providers. The waivers were necessary to expand healthcare facility capacity during the pandemic. • Access to free over-the-counter COVID-19 testing will end unless insurance companies continue to include it. • Reporting of COVID-19 laboratory results


and immunization data to CDC is no longer authorized, but the CDC has been working on voluntary Data Use Agreements, encouraging states and jurisdictions to continue sharing vaccine administration data. Hospital data re- porting will continue to be required. • Certain FDA COVID-19-related guidance documents for industry that affect clinical practice and supply chains will end or be tem- porarily extended. • Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) abili- ty to detect early shortages of critical devices related to COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment will be more limited. While the FDA will main- tain its authority to detect other potential med- ical product shortages, it is seeking congres- sional authorization to extend the requirement for device manufacturers to notify FDA of significant interruptions and discontinuances of critical devices outside of a Public Health Emergency (PHE). • Public Readiness and Emergency Pre- paredness (PREP) Act liability protections may be impacted. The amended PREP Act that provides liability immunity to manufacturers, distributors will not be affected, but liability protections for countermeasure activities not related to any USG agreement will end. • The ability of health care providers to safely dispense controlled substances via telemedicine without in-person interaction is affected; however, rulemaking will be pro- posed to extend these flexibilities. To see the full report, visit .

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Sutherland Packaging Invests In HP PageWide C550 Digital Press Andover, New Jersey based Sutherland Packaging, a lead- er in corrugated point-of-purchase (POP) displays and re- tail packaging, announced the expansion of its digital print capabilities with an investment in the world’s second HP PageWide C550 Digital Press. Sutherland Packaging is among the first U.S. suppliers to add the newest generation of HP’s single-pass digital press, which features offset-quality printing in more than 16,000 colors at speeds comparable to conventional presses. Sutherland’s investment allows customers marketing flexibility to engage their customers with brand messaging that can change seasonally, regionally, per SKU, or with targeted variable data. Any change in messaging requires a small artwork setup fee, and no replacing of costly print plates. The HP C550 features include “litho replacement” reg- istration and ultra-fine detail down to 4pt font, made possi- ble by a million printing nozzles per pass. Production costs are maintained via make-ready times and speeds averag- ing 2400 sheets per hour. Sutherland customers also have access to these benefits on super thin, F flute board. The new press expands Sutherland Packaging’s abil- ity to handle on-demand printing, last minute changes,

and flexible print runs, expediting production time for ev- erything from one-off prototypes to large-scale rollouts. Sutherland Packaging can print and ship orders in as little as 14 days.

Sutherland Packaging’s partnership with HP partner- ship provides access to cover digital needs throughout the company’s East Coast service base, from Canada to the Carolinas. The new press offers Sutherland Packaging’s customers increased flexibility to expand sales in sub-opti- mal economic conditions. “As one of the first suppliers to incorporate this sophisti- cated digital printing press into our day-to-day operations, Sutherland can offer our customers next-level speed, col- or-matching and flexibility,” said Tom Sutherland, President of Sutherland Packaging. “The press further enhances our digital services portfolio and exemplifies our commitment to infrastructure investments offering the latest technolo- gies — to the benefit of our diverse set of customers.”

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SINCE 1955

Managing Gen Z (CONT’D FROM PAGE 1)

Little wonder that Gen Zers are a little more cautious than previous generations and view with skepticism the promises of prospective employers. “Driven by anxiety, Gen Z mostly seeks a stable 9-to-5 job that pays the bills,” said Griffith. “This point was recently corroborated by sur- vey data from Handshake, an employment site for Gener- ation Z, which asked 1,800 new graduates what they want- ed most from their future employers. The overwhelming majority—85 percent—answered ‘stability.’ Pay and bene- fits also ranked high, but both of them in my estimation are proxies for the same thing. The desire for ‘a fast-growing company,’ on the other hand, garnered only 29 percent of the vote.” It makes sense, then, for prospective employers to ac- centuate the longevity of their firms, and the dedication to career support that can go hand in hand with long term employment. And this is all the more the case due to the unsettling tendency of the young generation to job hop. “Gen Zers are likely to switch jobs faster than previous generations who would typically stick things out a lot lon- ger before deciding to move on,” said Ginder. “This has a lot of financial implications, since the cost of turnover can exceed 20 percent of a position’s annual costs.” At first blush, a tendency to job hop may seem to con- tradict a desire for stability. But the fact is that an aggres- sive series of career moves can provide more security than blind faith in the loyalty of a single organization. “Gen

are likely to support brands that offer support to women, Blacks and people with disabilities. Wise employers will create a sense of larger purpose for business activities, then emphasize how employee actions contribute to that initiative. “Management needs to regularly reinforce how each individual's work fits into the greater good of the or- ganization,” said Ginder. “How do the business operations have a positive social impact? That speaks to purpose, to inclusion and to social justice.” Meeting The Challenge While understanding the younger generation can be difficult in any era, Gen Zers represent a particularly tough challenge. “I have to say that I speak with a lot of man- agers who are scratching their heads, trying to figure out how to connect effectively with post-millennial folks,” said Ginder. One common error is to expect favorable results from communication styles that worked well in the past. “We're talking about a totally different group of people who grew up with different influences and cultural values and norms.” A good starting point, said Ginder, is to understand the anxiety felt by people in their twenties, due largely to their experiences with the Great Recession and the Covid 19 pandemic. “In their early impressionable years, Gen Zers saw their parents get laid off, get upside down in their mortgages, and maybe even lose their homes.”


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Managing Gen Z (CONT’D FROM PAGE 24)

job itself. “With Gen Zers specifically there's a lot more desire to know,” said Gibbs. “Transparent communication tells them they are valued, that they are worth communi- cating with, and that there's a level of respect. And if they receive that respect, they will in turn respect the manager.” Transparency goes two ways: Gen Zers also want a seat at the table when it comes to authority. “Traditional- ly, early-career professionals have felt their voices would be dismissed because of their inexperience,” said Ginder. “With this new generation of post-millennials, though, we're talking about folks who have a real focus on respect and inclusion in the workplace. That means they want to be able to have a voice when it comes to decisions. They want to understand the process and procedures for how things function.” Gen Zers want to enjoy some autonomy when it comes to how they get their work done. All of this can be a bit un- settling for employers. “One challenge is that a lot of Gen Zers have not had jobs prior to their first position, so they have little experience,” said Ginder. “It can be challenging for an employer to foster a sense of autonomy.” One way is to encourage experimentation within boundaries. There is a trend toward normalizing failure as a learning tool, as a way to move everyone forward on the skill path. Avoid Temptation To Award Promotions In Name Only “Gen Zers will see through title inflation,” said Ginder. “It may be attractive at first, but because they're a gen- CONTINUED ON PAGE 28

Zers don’t just look at the current job, but at the next job and the job after that,” said Bob Verchota, senior consul- tant at RPVerchota & Associates, Minneapolis. “And they don't think anything about working in a gig environment. They're fine with that. They may have six gigs going at once.” Another thing: Many Gen Zers have gigs on the side, and management has to be comfortable with that. Being Transparent Employers can also reduce the incidence of job-hop- ping by being transparent about the nature of the positions being offered to candidates. “Success is about managing expectations,” said Ginder. “Be extremely transparent with job descriptions, what the hours are, the positive and neg- atives of the organization, what advancement's going to look like, how feedback works, and information about the organization’s communication styles.” Transparency needs to begin long before a candidate even thinks of applying for work. “We’re living in an in- formation age, and this is our most technologically-savvy workforce so far,” said Ginder. “Everything from a compa- ny's reputation to its organizational culture can be found online. So that is important for getting the Gen Zers to actually apply for the job.” Companies must take pains to polish their images on social media and review sites such as . That same transparency needs to be provided on the

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Managing Gen Z (CONT’D FROM PAGE 26)

distractions such as social media.” The Gen Zer’s penchant for technology can also make them loners. That can be problematic in a workplace where one-on-one interactions often help drive revenues and efficiencies. “Gen Zers tend to be individualistic and

eration that values transparency, it will eventually fall flat. And then they're going to be disillusioned and job hop a lot quicker.” Will these approaches help reduce employee turnover? Maybe to some extent, but no matter what the company policy, Gen Zers are unlikely to possess the same job loy- alty as previous generations. “The Happy Feet syndrome may decrease a bit and maybe longevity will go up, but it's not about loyalty the way boomers and the greatest generation people think about it,” said Verchota. “It's really about loyalty to me, to my career, to what I want out of life, and about how I'm responsible for getting it.” Finding Champions Gen Zers also differ in their favored sources for instruc- tion. “Older generations tended to look for guidance from people who had maybe 20 or 30 years of experience,” said Gibbs. “Gen Zers, though, tend to look to their peers. So rather than having an expert tell them how to do some- thing, it can be more effective to find a champion in their age group whom you can turn into a superstar and let them be the communicator.” Too, Gen Zers tend to eschew reading and have short attention spans. That can make instruction manuals less effective. “It’s smart to provide video content, short bits of training that only last two to three minutes,” said Gibbs. “Provide bite-sized infotainment to help drown out other

would rather communicate through technology than face to face,” said Ginder. “But that’s not how an organization typically works. It's not just a bunch of solo folks doing their thing. Most things happen within some level of teamwork.” This is where managers can experience a lot of frustra- tion, and the new generation will need some assistance.



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Managing Gen Z (CONT’D FROM PAGE 28)


“It’s important to help Gen Zers build their personal skills by supporting structured team activities,” said Ginder. “There will have to be a lot of coaching around when it's appropriate to pick up the phone or to walk down the hall and communicate with someone, especially during situa- tions of conflict or where there's a higher opportunity for misunderstanding.” Making It Work Managed correctly, the growing wave of Gen Zers en- tering the workforce will have a positive impact on com- pany operations. “Gen Zers have a lot going for them,” said Ginder. “Research shows they're highly achievement oriented, more educated than previous generations and more diverse. That speaks a lot to some of their qualities, but also to how we can tailor the way we work with them.” If older generations have a bit of a struggle dealing effectively with the youngest workers, the result can be worth the effort. “There is much upside potential to learn- ing how to adjust our management practices to maximize the potential of Gen Zers,” said Ginder. “There's so much there. It's an amazing generation, as all generations are. Using the right framework and approach, the sky's the lim- it.” Are You Ready For Gen Z? Is your business managing Gen Zers effectively? Find out by scoring 10 points for every “yes” answer to the fol- lowing questions. Total your score and check your rating at the bottom of the sidebar. 1. Does your company present a healthy work environ- ment on social media? 2. Do you emphasize stability in your work positions? 3. Do you provide career support to employees? 4. Are you transparent about positive and negative work factors? 5. Does your company exhibit a commitment to social justice and multiculturalism? 6. Do you encourage Gen Zers to speak up about their ideas for improving operations? 7. Do you allow some autonomy in how work is accom- plished? 8. Do you identify champions who can effectively pass along expertise to Gen Zers? 9. Do you help Gen Zers improve their one-on-one communications skills? 10. Do you couch your business operations in terms of a larger social purpose? What’s your score? 80 or more: Congratulations. You are creating a productive environment for effective man- agement of Gen Zers. Between 60 and 80: It’s time to improve your interactions with young workers. Below 60: Your business is at risk. Take action on the suggestions in the accompanying story. Phillip M. Perry is a syndicated award-winning journalist and frequent contributor to Board Converting News.


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