6 Tips for Working with Generation Z

6 Tips for Working with Generation Z

Generation Z, born between 1995 and 2010 , is poised to take over the working world as one-third of its population considers themselves a part of this generational group. Much like millennials, and every other generation before them, they will bring their own set of beliefs, experiences, and life outlooks into their work and their workplace interactions.

Considering that the oldest members of this generation are around 26, it's likely that you have already started hiring and working with this group.

If you're wondering how to make your interactions with Generation Z effective and how you can best incorporate them into your project management strategies, take a look at these tips.

Highlight Face-to-Face Communications

Yes, this generation has been introduced to technology at a young age, as most came of age with smartphones and social media. Nevertheless, while this group embraces technology, they value offline relationships. According to data gathered by Concordia University Saint Paul, 37% worry that technology is weakening their interpersonal relationships and the ability to build good people skills.

This group is highly concerned with building solid relationships with people and effectively interacting with those around them. So, while they are tech-savvy, make sure you prioritize face-to-face interactions with them. This acknowledgment is especially important in light of the pandemic.

Many Gen Zers who are new to the workforce have not had the same opportunities to interact with other professionals at the start of their careers as their millennial counterparts. If meeting with your Gen Z team members in person isn't possible, be sure to use video conferencing tools to have those face-to-face interactions.

Have Regular Check-Ins

Many Gen Zs feel they could benefit from being coached and developed by managers. Forty percent want daily interactions from their boss, and if they don't get that, they'll think something is wrong, according to a survey by the Center for Generational Kinetics. Therefore this group is likely seeking mentorship and consistent feedback from their managers.

As a result, you may want to institute regular one-on-ones where they can ask questions, discuss their to-do lists, and ensure they are on the right track.

Additionally, it's probably a great idea to also have regular meetings and conversations about their performance, areas of growth, and how they can develop any skills they want to build.

Make Training and Development a Priority

While all workers value learning and development, Gen Z is particularly interested in skilling up. According to LinkedIn Learning , 62% of their Gen Z respondents said they would take classes or learn new skills if it would make them better at their jobs. Also, 59% said they would do it to increase their salaries. This generation is motivated to continue learning and bring new skills to their jobs.

Therefore, work on providing training and development opportunities for this group. Take time to find out what skills they want to strengthen and then work to provide the avenues to do so. This effort could be providing a training and development stipend for the year, sending them to conferences, or allowing them to shadow other colleagues.

However, while it is vital to offer these avenues, be sure that you connect these opportunities to an incentive. Ensure there is value in them pursuing training, and clearly explain what that is. Let them know if it puts them on track for a promotion or increase in salary. This step will then help them realize how they are moving forward and the goals it can help them reach, making them more likely to see it through.

For Hiring and Recruitment — Start When They're Still in College

Twenty-six percent of Generation Z college students start their job search before their junior year, according to a 2019 study by Yellow Recruiting . This stat shows their motivation and conveys that they have a good grasp of what they want to do pretty early. As a result, if you're going to add this group to your project teams, you may want to start reaching them early in their college journey. Consider offering internships or apprenticeships to first and second-year college students.

Also, meet them where they are, look around for college and university-based job fairs, as these are great ways to meet this group. And if you're looking to seal the deal, make sure your company has a solid reputation, as almost 62% of Gen Zers trust referrals from a company's current or former employees, coming before other options like job boards, career centers, and other hiring events.

Effectively Channel Their Competitive Nature

While millennials were known for their collaborative and altruistic approach to work, Gen Z is a bit more independent-minded and more likely to embrace competition. Researchers who spoke with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) revealed that 72% of Gen Z members who responded to their study competed with those doing the same job. This group also indicated that they were more likely to work independently.

While frequent occurrences of unchecked competition can breed a toxic work environment, it can promote healthy productivity if channeled effectively. A great way to implement this is by simply acknowledging good work. Have a time during the month where you highlight exceptional work and provide rewards to those who have exceeded expectations.

This step could include mentioning their contributions during a meeting, highlighting what they've done and their impact in a team blog, offering gift cards for outstanding work, and discussing paths to promotion. Find ways to channel their competitive approach effectively, and you could motivate them — and others — to optimize their productivity.

Let Them Carve Out Their Career Path

More than any other generation before them, Gen Z has been able to customize experiences. For example, most have never grown up without the option to create their music playlists, characters in video games, and television viewing schedules through the emergence of streaming. Well, the opportunity to set their course in leisure-based experiences is likely going to make its way into the workplace.

According to researchers who spoke to SHRM, 62% of Gen Zers would rather customize their career plan rather than have the organization dictate it for them. Gen Z wants more control over their careers, and it could help them stick around if you identify ways to allow them to do this effectively.

For example, this may look like creating a career path document with them or discussing the skills they want to develop and then putting together a plan for them to gain this experience to benefit them and the team.

You may have a Gen Z team member who handles one part of a project, but they also want to take on leadership duties. You could look at the career document you worked on with them and see which duties you could delegate to them to help them progress along their career path.

Gen Z is Not a Continuation of Millennials

Using the same strategies you used with millennials with Gen Z may be tempting, but that wouldn't be the best move as this generation is different from their older counterparts when they started their first jobs.

While millennials had the perception of being more concerned about making a difference with their job, even more so than making a high salary in some cases, Gen Z is more pragmatic. Salary, job benefits , and job security are the top concerns for this group. Also, while the way a company uses technology is vital to them, they do crave offline relationships.

Lastly, this group will be the most diverse cohort ever , so it's crucial that you find ways to recognize this generation's cultural differences and attributes by implementing thoughtful and beneficial diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies.

The more you acknowledge and prepare for their unique characteristics, the easier it'll be to help them reach their full potential and be a benefit to your project team.


61 million Gen Zers are about to enter the US workforce and radically change it forever, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/01/61-million-gen-zers-about-to-enter-us-workforce-and-change-it.html

Gen Z Is Shaping a New Era of Learning: Here’s What you Should Know, https://www.linkedin.com/business/learning/blog/learning-and-development/gen-z-is-shaping-a-new-era-of-learning-heres-what-you-should-kn

Generation Z in the Workforce, https://online.csp.edu/resources/infographic/generation-z-in-the-workforce/#:~:text=Poised%20to%20disrupt%20the%20workforce,stay%20ahead%20of%20the%20transformation

Introducing the First Graduating Class of Generation Z, https://yello.co/blog/introducing-the-first-graduating-class-of-generation-z/#ch1

Move Over, Millennials; Generation Z Is Here, https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/behavioral-competencies/global-and-cultural-effectiveness/Pages/Move-over-Millennials-Generation-Z-Is-Here.aspx?utm_source=SHRM%20Wednesday%20-%20PublishThis_HRDaily_7.18.16%20(47)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=April%2012,%202017&SPMID=01810527&SPJD=03/20/2017&SPED=03/31/2018&SPSEG=&restr_scanning=silver&spMailingID=28626590&spUserID=NDg0OTA5OTcwNTYzS0&spJobID=1021762929&spReportId=MTAyMTc2MjkyOQS2

On the Cusp of Adulthood and Facing an Uncertain Future: What We Know About Gen Z So Far, https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2020/05/14/on-the-cusp-of-adulthood-and-facing-an-uncertain-future-what-we-know-about-gen-z-so-far-2/

Understanding Generation Z in the workplace, https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/consumer-business/articles/understanding-generation-z-in-the-workplace.html