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How to Manage & Motivate Gen Z

Employers in today's workforce seem conflicted about Gen Z employees (born between 1995 and 2012). On the one hand, they're incredibly tech-savvy and hardworking. On the other hand, many employers see them as being high maintenance compared to other groups (a trait they share with Millennials).

While it's true that Millennials are the largest demographic in the workforce today, the oldest members of Generation Z are turning 27 now, and their share of the workforce population is rising rapidly and will only grow further over time. In fact, by 2025, estimates indicate that "Gen Z" will make up 27% of the total workforce.

That fact will complicate managers' lives because they'll have to contend with and balance the needs of five generations in the workplace. No matter how talented a manager you are, that's a challenging task.

We hope that this guide will help you navigate the complex currents of today's workforce, particularly as it pertains to Generation Z. Let's take a closer look at what makes this generation tick.

What Members of Generation Z Want from their Employers?

Before we can answer this question, we should look at GenZ engagement levels. There's surprisingly good news here. While Millennials tend to be somewhat less engaged (only 41% of Millennials describe themselves as engaged), a more robust 49% of Gen Z employees describe themselves as engaged.

While Millennials are often described as being "digital natives," they're perhaps more accurately described as being late-stage pioneers since they grew up without the internet as we know it today. Gen Z, however, are true digital natives. They've spent their entire lives swimming through the ether of the web and engaging with friends and family using a wide range of apps and social media.

Because of that, they're the most tech-savvy generation ever to enter the workforce, which drives many of their most prominent, unique characteristics.

For instance, statistics show that 61% of Gen Zers prefer interacting with co-workers face to face, but these statistics, taken at face value, are misleading. This is because to a Gen Zer, using apps like Zoom Meetings or FaceTime counts as "meeting face to face." Wise is the manager who factors this into their thinking!

In the United States, Gen Z is also far and away the most diverse generation we've ever seen. This fact is one of the reasons that, as a group, they are regarded as more high-maintenance than prior generations. That's not accurate. What is true, though, is that as a group, they're unlikely to be happy in an environment that isn't welcoming and accepting of different cultures or ethnicities.

Another hallmark of Gen Z is the fact that they love modularity. In the workplace, that translates into a focus on flexibility. They want a broad range of options and greater personal autonomy. That means flexible work schedules, a greater emphasis on work-life balance, work-from-home opportunities, and the like.

Not surprisingly, given their diversity, Gen Z is all about culture. Sure, money talks where this generation is concerned, but equally important is the culture you've built into the DNA of your company. If it's not open, engaging, and compelling, you're unlikely to keep top Gen Z talent if it doesn't speak to them personally.

Suppose you have not spent much time thinking about nurturing and developing your company's culture. In that case, you'll see great success by focusing on that and creating an environment that will excite the Gen Z contingent of your workforce to stick with you.

Finally, remember that Gen Zers are the most progressive generation ever. They tend to care more about the environment and other progressive causes than others.

Understanding these points is critical to your company's success because statistics show that a company with a highly engaged workforce is 21% more profitable than one without. That's too significant to ignore.

Manging Gen Z Employees

Managing Gen Z employees can be similar to working with employees from any other generation. Still, some unique characteristics of Gen Z may influence how you approach management. Some key things to keep in mind when managing Gen Z employees include the following:

Gen Z is highly tech-savvy: Members of Gen Z have grown up with technology, so they are likely to be comfortable using digital tools and platforms in their work. As a manager, you should be prepared to support your Gen Z employees using technology to its full potential. You should be open to incorporating new technologies into your workplace.

Gen Z values flexibility: Gen Z employees may place a high value on work-life balance and may appreciate the ability to work flexible hours or from different locations. As a manager, consider offering flexible work arrangements whenever possible and be open to discussing individual employees' needs.

Gen Z is used to instant gratification: Gen Z employees may be used to getting what they want quickly and easily, thanks to the instant gratification provided by technology. As a manager, you should be prepared to provide timely feedback and support to your Gen Z employees and be willing to help them navigate any challenges they may face. Be prepared by keeping thank you gifts on hand and words of praise at the ready.

Gen Z is diverse: Gen Z is the most diverse generation yet, so your Gen Z employees have a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. As a manager, you should be sensitive to the unique needs of your employees and should strive to create an inclusive and welcoming workplace culture.

The key to managing Gen Z employees is to be open, flexible, supportive, and willing to adapt to this generation's unique needs and characteristics.

What Motivates Gen Z to Be Productive at Work?

Gen Z employees are likely to be motivated by various factors, just like any other generation. However, some unique characteristics of Gen Z may influence their motivations and engagement in the workplace. Some potential motivators for Gen Z employees include:


Gen Z is often motivated by a sense of purpose and may be drawn to jobs and companies that align with their values and beliefs. As a manager, you can help motivate your Gen Z employees by ensuring their work is meaningful and positively impacts others.


Gen Z employees may be motivated by recognition for their efforts and accomplishments. As a manager, you can motivate your Gen Z employees by providing regular feedback and praise for their work and offering opportunities for growth and advancement.


Gen Z values flexibility and may be motivated by the ability to control their schedule and work-life balance. As a manager, you can help motivate your Gen Z employees by offering flexible work arrangements and being open to discussing individual employees' needs.

Flexible work schedules show that work-life balance is as essential to your company as it is to members of Gen Z; if and where possible, entice them with flexible work schedules whenever possible that will allow them at least some ability to handle the real-life events that sometimes come up during the course of a regular work week.


Gen Z is highly tech-savvy and may be motivated by the opportunity to use technology in their work. As a manager, you can help motivate your Gen Z employees by providing access to the latest tools and technologies and encouraging them to use technology to its full potential.

The key to motivating Gen Z employees is understanding their unique characteristics and needs and providing a supportive and engaging work environment that aligns with their values and aspirations.

Keep Gen Z Employees Engaged at Work

Given the above, you'll find that Gen Zers are receptive to several non-monetary perks that will keep them engaged and fully invested in your company. These include:

1. Offer Work From Home Opportunities

Naturally, this won't be applicable for every position at your company, but when and where possible, allow your Gen Z employees the option of working from home at least a day or two a week (or full-time, if that's possible) go a long way toward keeping them fully invested.

2. Regular Communication

While your Gen X employees, Boomers, and those from the "Silent Generation" tend to need less regular feedback, that's not the case with Millennials and Gen Zers. You'll want to check in with them regularly face to face (though, remember that face-to-face includes FaceTime and similar) to give them constructive feedback.

3. Opportunities for Collaboration

At first blush, this may counter the Gen Z desire for autonomy. In reality, those two concepts pair very well. Because Gen Zers are much more diverse, they love opportunities to form ad hoc teams that allow them to work together toward larger corporate goals. Encourage this, and give them plenty of opportunities to do so.

4. Work Culture

This isn't so much a perk as it is a thing you weave into the very fabric of your organization. To keep Gen Zers excited about working for you and fully engaged, you should work tirelessly to foster a culture of acceptance and celebrate diversity as your organization's core strength. The more you can do this, the happier your Gen Z employees will be.

5. Motivational Gifts and Rewards For Gen Z

If you have an employee recognition program at your firm, then gifts given to Gen Zers will fundamentally differ from those given to employees born in other generations. Here are some generationally appropriate ideas to consider:

Remembering that Gen Zers value work-life balance, any employee appreciation gift you can give that serves as a callback to that will be greatly appreciated. A gift like this Balance Zen Garden print is a great way to express that you hear and understand them.

Gen Z'ers want motivational gifts and awards. Gen Z'ers were born in 1997 and are in their early 20s, so don't pick a boomer gift! Lol.

While most people are fond of plants, they're a perfect gift for the more progressive, environmentally conscious Gen Z crowd. A plant like this in a mug sporting a motivational phrase is an excellent option that's sure to be appreciated.

You can also find trending Corporate gifts on Tiktok and other social media platforms that GenZers frequent.

Acknowledge That You Value Your Employee's Time

Since work-life balance is so important to Gen Zers, a desk clock with one of our motivational prints, in miniature, serving as an accent is an excellent, practical option. These understated clocks will blend seamlessly on almost any desk, and we have a stunning range of accent print options.

Remember that Gen Zers are Technophiles

The last two gifts for employees we recommend have for you are technology-based, given that members of Gen Z grew up with technology and viewed it as an indispensable part of their lives. With that in mind, something like our wireless earbuds or fabulous mini speakers and power bank gift set would thrill almost any Gen Zer!

Customer Favorite Awards and Trophies

Updated Sunday 07-14-2024
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