How to Engage and Motivate Your Gen Z Workforce

job security, physical health issues, z in the workplace, mental health challenges

When it comes to hiring, anyone with employees below the age of 28 is now working with Generation Z. Born between 1996 and 2010, they are now 13-27 and therefore make up both the entire 20-somethings workforce and all of the aspiring young workers about to start on their first career path.

Any business hoping to grow and to cultivate top talent over the next 20 years should be ready to work with this idealistic and enthusiastic generation. 

Gen Z is the Future

Gen Zs are already building a reputation as being motivated by inclusivity, ecological conservation, philanthropy, and a desire to create a scifi-worthy high-tech future. They are also known for being easily distracted and more than willing to walk if a job doesn't offer what they're looking for compared to previous generations.

Keeping Gen Z workforce engaged, motivated, and inspired is the key to unlocking the true potential of younger workers. Fortunately, embracing the values of Gen Z employees today to keep them motivated will also align your business with the values of your new generation of customers and business partners. 

What It Takes to Keep Gen Z Employees Engaged and Motivated in the Workplace.

1. Make the Work Meaningful

Gen Z professionals need to feel like they are doing something that matters. This generation more than any other generations before them are sensitive to feeling like they are just punching a card in an impersonal machine.

Gen Zers saw their baby boomers/millennial parents/older siblings get worn down by impersonal jobs maintaining a status quo.

They were inspired by the uprising of younger millennials in entrepreneur and gig economy work, and they want to feel like their job matters to the company as more than just another set of hands on a keyboard.

Useful Read: Millennial Work Ethic explained: Strategies for Loyalty and Engagement

Make sure your Gen Z team members know their value and what they contribute to the company. Make their work meaningful and go out of your way to help them feel connected to the difference they make for the company.

2. Make Use of the Latest Devices and Dashboards

Gen Zers are digital natives, even more so than their millennial parents or older siblings. They grew up with handheld gaming devices and smartphones, and they use apps as naturally as we use notebooks. Gen Z is drawn to the latest devices and respect a well-designed dashboard, but have no patience for older and more archaic systems.

Updating your team's workflow with multi-platform management apps and managing Gen Zers with responsive dashboards will help to keep your youngest professionals actively engaged.

3. Cultivate a Positive Company Culture

Gen Zers are very sensitive to toxic work cultures. They come from a world where bad bosses and toxic coworkers are outed online and anonymously encourage each other to stand up for self-respect and inclusivity constantly through online groups. In the workplace, there just isn't room for overly rigid or toxic company cultures.

Contrary to popular belief, Gen Zers aren't "job hopping" out of flakiness. They have learned older generations that it's a matter of self-preservation. Workplaces with reputations for inclusivity and positive, uplifting cultures will attract and keep Gen Z professionals who will share their experiences online.

Employee scheduling and Time-tracking software!
Employee scheduling and Time-tracking software!
  • Easy Employee scheduling
  • Clear time-tracking
  • Simple absence management
Try for free Request a demo

4. Build a Complete Scope of Work-Life Balance

Gen Z workers also place a great deal of value in work-life balance. But like any generation, what that means varies from person to person. Cultivate a view of work-life balance that includes a full scope.

Offer perks and schedules that allow your Gen Z employees to build their own balance, allowing them to prioritise work, health, mental health, or family life as best fits each lifestyle. Things like flexible hours and respect for personal lives are important factors.

Be cognizant of the lifestyles your job structures create in and out of the workplace, as well. Know if you are asking for more hours than usual, or if your location makes it difficult to grab outside food at lunch, and develop a system that makes it easy to maintain a naturally healthy lifestyle with access to the essential elements of a good life.

5. Create Opportunities to Make a Difference

Like Millennials before them, Gen Z team members tend to care about making a positive difference in the world around them. They like charitable causes, environmental conservation, and moving cutting-edge technology ahead. 

Give your Gen Zers (and the rest of your team, as well) a chance to make a difference on the job, in benefits programs, and through off-hours company activities.

6. Integrate Professional Development Programs

Gen Z also cares about developing their careers. They are aware that they need to avoid dead-end roles and salaries, and care about career growth by furthering their education without falling into the deepening financial pit of college education. 

This means professional development. Offering your Gen Z employees opportunities to train on the job and to enroll in professional training as a bonus are great ways to get your team onboard and encourage longevity with the company.

7. Make Use of Micro-Learning Modules

Micro-learning is when employees can look up a miniature training or refresher course in the middle of a job. Like a quick video on how to use the cash register or a useful infographic and paragraph on how to complete a client estimate.  Gen Z is used to looking up absolutely everything the moment they need it. They do household repairs after watching YouTube videos and check their facts on a dime.

This makes Gen Z uniquely receptive to micro-learning, and will happily self-train or self-refresh important on-the-job skills if you make these modules available as part of their workflow.

8. Keep Leadership Grounded and Hands-On

Management style matters a great deal. Bosses that are rarely seen, micro-manage, or issue orders from "on high" are all the opposite of what Gen Zs value in a leader. Gen Zers expect a good manager to be hands-on, able to understand what their team is doing, give practical direction to make the job better, and able to roll up their sleeves and do the job in a crunch. These are the leaders Gen Zs respect and hope to become.

To keep your generation Z employees engaged, make sure your leadership is grounded and hands-on, practicing what they preach and fully aware of the impact of the directions they give.

9. Avoid the "Rat Race" Mentality

The 80s is officially a long time ago, and the "rat race" mentality is no longer appropriate. Gen Zs will walk away from a job that acts like they are replaceable, and will warn their friends away. In return, their friends will encourage them to walk from a job that demands grueling hours or steals recognition in classic 80s villain style.

They have no intention of becoming the next generation work related burnout victims. The moment that "rat race" mentality enters the scene, Gen Zs are ready to "nope out".

10. Respond To Change with Openness and Agility

In contrast, Gen Zers strongly respect a brand that can adapt to the constantly changing landscape that is the marketplace and digital environment of today. There are always new technologies and solutions, developing trends, and new challenges around the corner.

Companies that are too stalwart may falter in the face of things like remote work and cloud infrastructure, but Gen Zs are ready for the future and want to be part of companies that are equally future-ready through openness to change and the ability to be agile.

Related: Building Engagement with Remote Employees: Tips and Strategies

11. Ask, Listen, and Adapt to Feedback

Lastly, be ready to ask for and respond to feedback. Gen Zers are giving each other feedback all the time, and they are ready to do so in the workplace as well. A manager who asks what could be done better in the department might receive a room full of suggestions. The ability to listen to these suggestions, respond thoughtfully, and make changes based on that feedback encompass everything Gen Zs hope to see in the workplace.

Adapting to feedback is inclusive, respectful, and also makes team members feel like they are making a positive impact in the company when their personal ideas or group-brainstormed ideas are put into action.

past few years, job market, almost double the rate, other generation, new job, gen z respondents

Hiring Engaged Gen Z Professionals

We've taken a deep dive into the mindset of Gen Z, their values and priorities in the workplace and what it takes to keep them feeling connected to an employer. But how can you convey that during the hiring process? Gen Z job seekers appreciate clear expectations, mutual repect, and companies ready to use the latest technology.

  • Share your company culture, including your schedule and perks structure, up front.
  • Be open and responsive, and ask for feedback, during the interview process.
  • Invite Gen Zs to meet the team during late-stage hiring.
  • Never "ghost": Answer all job applications (even with an automated email). Give timely responses when scheduling and following up, and let every applicant know when selection is done, whether they were selected or not.
  • Don't be afraid to talk about work-life balance and financial compensation without stigma.
  • Make use of effective hiring technology like skill tests and self-scheduling

Keeping Your Gen Zs Engaged On the Job

Hiring and working with Gen Z professionals is a process that will not only prepare you for a more idealistic and tech-driven workforce - it will also prepare your company for a future in which Gen Z values are the norm.

Now is the perfect time to prepare your business for the future from the inside, out by first adapting your workflows to keep your Gen Z employees engaged, motivated, and inspired to be a part of your company.

Shiftbase offers an advanced scheduling solution with interactive tools and dashboards that Gen Zs will appreciate. Explore how to update your workflow and convey positive, future-forward company values with the Shiftbase app. Contact us today to learn more.

Employee Productivity