How to motivate and engage Generation Z

The latest influx of talent to be welcomed into the workplace will be Generation Z. Soon they’ll be infiltrating your organisation, mixing with Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X and of course Millennials.

Each group brings their own quirks, strengths and limitations to the game, making the workforce more interesting, dynamic and competitive.

What marks Gen Z out as different to the rest of the crowd is they haven’t lived before the internet. Anything they have ever wanted to find out has been instantly findable within a couple of clicks.

This unprecedented access to information from around the world at breakneck speeds brings with it a whole different set of expectations that manifest themselves in different ways.

>See also: Competitive, impatient and narcissistic: Is your workplace ready for Generation Z?

One of these is misconceptions about the workplace. Tech recruiters are increasingly finding that Generation Z think life is all quirky chill out areas and snooker tables. Working life isn’t always like that.

Tellingly, Generation Z also bring with them a whole new attitude to working hours. They understand the power of technology to help them be productive when suits them and they don’t want to be confined to the traditional 9 to 5. Flexibility is key.

Whilst it would be easy for senior management to resist the path of change that Generation Z bring with them, a lot of these new ways of working won’t actually impact productivity.

Energetic environments

For this generation, fancy gadgets aren’t a bonus – they’re expected. Employers are more likely to lure a Gen Z with an exciting and fast-paced environment than a bonus package.

Environments such as these are exceptionally contagious, they won’t be able to help but adapt to their environment. Many from Generation Z overlook lucrative opportunities in favour of creative and exciting projects that they’re passionate about. 

Gen Z are the generation that multitask at all times. When they’re watching television they will also be texting their friends and listening to music.

Their senses are normally pretty overwhelmed, so when it comes to working they might find it to be a bit of a shock to the system. This being said, there are ways to ease them into this slight shock.

For example, allowing them to listen to music – when appropriate – might help the focus. To previous generations this might seem like a distraction, but remember – they probably spent their entire time revising for exams while plugged into their headphones.

If Generation Z are trusted and tasked with something of importance, most will rise to the challenge. They will be flattered and not want to break this trust, in turn motivating them to deliver quality results.

Positive reinforcement works well for most people in general. If they are given more responsibility, they will feel like a valued member of the team engaging them to achieve their best.

>See also: Should you tell app-loving Generation Z no in the workplace?

Times are changing

Generation Z will challenge businesses to think about their operational models, but adopting more flexible working practices will help a business tap into a wider talent pool that encompasses all generations. And does it really matter if someone wears jeans rather than a suit? It is tempting to resist change, but remember it is the small things that matter. Sweat the big stuff, not a change in dress policy.

This is a generation that make themselves constantly available through smartphones and instant messaging. This may make them appear as slightly impatient as they’re used to rapid results and constant availability. But on the other side of the coin, it will work as a strength as they will make themselves available to employers and produce work at an efficient and fast pace.

British business is set for an interesting couple of years as Generation Z rises to prominence. Change is afoot, so employers should make sure they’re on the front one.


Sourced from Lisa Forrester, director, GCS Recruitment

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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