Understanding Generation Z in the Workplace

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Understanding Generation Z in the Workplace
Greta Cline, CFO
Greta Cline
Partner, CFO/COO
May 18, 2023

They’re known as Generation Z, a designation for anyone born since 1997. As they enter the workforce, these youngest employees bring unique traits and talents that will reshape the business world. They currently account for about 13 percent of the workforce, but by the end of the decade they’ll make up a third of all employees. What do you need to know about hiring – and retaining – this generation?

Key Generation Z characteristics

As Generation Z enters the workplace, it’s important to know what’s important to them. Here are a few common defining characteristics we discovered in our research.

Money matters

They may have a reputation for being less materialistic than their parents and grandparents, but Generation Z still has money on their minds. Remember, this is a generation who grew up during the Great Recession. They may be carrying student debt. They worry that they’ll never achieve the American Dream of homeownership and financial security. They also believe they need more money than other generations to achieve financial security.

Generation Z is tech savvy

Generation Z didn’t have to be taught how to use smart phones and other emerging technology. They grew up with it, from the tablet designed to stimulate their toddler minds to the social media apps that their parents struggle to keep up with. They want to come to a workplace that is already outfitted with the latest technology. In fact, more than a quarter of Generation Z workers say outdated technology would affect their work performance.

They value inclusion

Generation Z is the most ethnically and racially diverse generation yet. They place a high importance on workplace inclusivity and the company’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Many Generation Z employees actively seek a company whose values and culture reflect their own. A diverse workforce can seem more welcoming to a new employee who places a priority on such matters.

They like to work from home

This generation may have spent their last years of high school or college navigating the remote work model, thanks to pandemic shutdown. They understand remote technology and communicating via screens rather than in-person. They had a crash course in online collaboration and feel quite comfortable working remotely. Even so, a handful of them want to be with people at work. According to a study from, 17 percent of the Generation Z respondents preferred hybrid schedules, while 14 percent said they didn’t want to work remotely at all.

They are always open to new professional opportunities

That’s a nice way of saying this group isn’t afraid to switch jobs for something they perceive as better. They don’t worry about a reputation for job-hopping. Instead, they are prepared to move on to another workplace to achieve their professional goals.

Hiring and retaining the Generation Z employee

Generation Z has proven themselves to be adaptable and can take on different roles within the organization. Their ability to adapt to changing circumstances is an ideal trait in a crisis situation. However, they may be harder to retain, making onboarding and continued collaboration a priority for employers who need a stable workforce. Follow the suggestions below to welcome and maintain a Generation Z workforce.

Mentor Generation Z as needed

Generation Z is always on the lookout for new growth opportunities, either within or outside of your organization. By nurturing a collaborative culture in the workplace – whether on-site or remotely – companies can ensure that these newest workers feel comfortable asking questions and seeking out guidance.

Consider a remote or hybrid schedule

If your company can function with a remote or hybrid schedule, consider offering the option to your employees. Be careful, however, about isolating employees who are working from home. Plan regular communication through online meetings and occasional onsite gatherings.

Offer a competitive compensation package

Generation Z – like most of us – still focuses on the bottom line. Make sure your company salaries are in line with the local market, and consider other perks like paid time off, health and wellness benefits and mental health plans.

Working with Generation Z

Gen Z may be unfairly battling a stereotype of a poor work ethic and a reluctance to work as hard as their coworkers did in their 20s. Leave that stereotype at the office door. Gen Z employees – like all generations – tend to work better in a collaborative environment with coworkers who treat them as equals. There’s a lot you can learn from Gen Z, especially in a changing business environment that embraces new technology and standards.

Reach out to them

Even if you and your Gen Z colleagues are working a hybrid or remote schedule, remember that Gen Z is still looking for workplace connections. Use your company’s messaging system and onsite meetings to get to know each other.

Share resources

Gen Z experiences anxiety at almost double the levels reported by millennial and Gen X generations, and triple the levels of anxiety reported by Baby Boomers. Resist the urge to scoff at these statistics and instead be open to sharing company resources and coping skills that have worked in your experience.

Be open to learning from them.

Businesses flourish when they are open to change. Don’t discount new ideas from the newbies. In addition to being tech savvy, Gen Z’s ability to adapt may be invaluable during a crisis situation. That’s going to benefit everyone at work.

Today’s workforce continues to change and evolve. Fortunately, That’s Good HR takes pride in staying on top of the latest hiring trends and can help facilitate communications different generations. Let us help you meet your hiring and job search challenges.