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5 Key Drivers for Motivating Gen-Z in the Workplace

Unlock the potential of Generation Z in your organization by understanding what truly motivates them. In this blog, we delve into five critical drivers that keep Gen Z engaged, productive, and loyal.

#Work-Life Balance
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A Gen Z employee working from their couch
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How do Gen Zers compare to previous generations?

Gen Z, born between the mid to late '90s and early 2010s, currently make up nearly 30% of the world's workforce. Known as "digital natives," they are the first generation to grow up with the internet, social media, and smartphones as integral parts of their daily lives. This unique upbringing has made them a truly global and socially conscious generation, unafraid to voice their opinions and advocate for change.

While Gen Z brings fresh perspectives to the workplace, many feel disengaged and disconnected. About 55% report lacking engagement at work and not feeling strong ties to their coworkers, managers, or employers. Additionally, younger workers are more prone to job hopping, seeking roles that align with their values, offer flexibility, and provide meaningful growth opportunities. So how do you attract, retain, and keep your Gen Z employees engaged?

According to Microsoft, Gen Z's top workplace priorities are:

  • A positive culture (46%)
  • Mental health and well-being benefits (42%)
  • A sense of purpose and meaning (40%)

Positive feedback, recognition, and career support also rank high. Understanding and addressing these priorities will not only attract this new generation of talent but also keep them engaged and committed.

Gen Z's top workplace priorities are: 46% A positive culture, 42% Mental health and well-being benefits, 40% A sense of purpose and meaning, Source: Microsoft

Motivate Gen Z Team members by prioritizing the following:

1. Flexibility & Work-Life Balance

Gen Z employees place immense value on autonomy and flexibility, desiring a say in how, when, and where they work. Data shows that 75% of Gen Z professionals prefer a hybrid or remote working pattern, and they’re 77% more likely to engage with a job ad on LinkedIn if it mentions flexibility.

Integrate flexibility into your workplace by:

  • Remote and hybrid work options: Offer choices that allow employees to work where they perform best.
  • Empowerment and ownership: Encourage employees to take charge of their projects and make decisions while providing clear expectations and guidance.
  • Results-oriented approach: Focus on outcomes and quality of work rather than hours spent at the desk.

To support work-life balance, encourage Gen Z team members to:

  • Manage workloads proactively: Empower your employees to speak up if they feel overwhelmed to prevent burnout.
  • Take regular breaks: Recharge throughout the day to maintain productivity and reduce stress.
  • Disconnect during time off: Ensure they take time away from work to relax and fully recharge. PTO is there for a reason, employees should use it!
  • Set boundaries: Establish clear expectations around work hours and limit communications outside these times.
How to get started 👉 To learn more about strengthening your company culture for a hybrid, flexible work environment, download Confetti's free eBook!
Free ebook, Navigating the Workplace Revolution: Company Culture in a Distributed Workforce, Download the eBook

2. Engaging, Purpose-Driven Work

Gen Z employees seek employers whose values align with their own and who are committed to making a positive difference in the world. A Deloitte study revealed that 77% of Gen Z respondents said it’s important to work for a company whose values align with their own, and 54% wouldn't take a job from a company they believe lacks social responsibility.

Here are ways to center purpose-driven work in your company culture:

  • Clearly define your mission and values: Ensure your company’s mission and core values are well-articulated and authentically integrated into your business practices.
  • Engage in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Participate in CSR initiatives that resonate with Gen Z values, such as sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and community involvement.
  • Promote employee involvement: Encourage participation in decision-making processes, especially in areas impacting social and environmental strategies.
How to get started 👉 Easily combine charitable giving and team bonding fun with activities from Confetti's Charity Team Building collection. Every game includes a donation to charity on behalf of Confetti!
Charity Team Building by Confetti

3. Diverse and Inclusive Culture

Gen Z is the most diverse generation to date, both in terms of ethnicity and viewpoints. They have grown up in a more inclusive and globalized world, making diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) a baseline expectation. 83% of Gen Z believe a company’s commitment to DEI is important when choosing an employer.

Here's how you can prioritize a culture that values DEI:

  • Implement comprehensive DEI policies: Develop and enforce policies that promote diversity and inclusion at all levels of the organization.
  • Create Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Establish ERGs to provide support and networking opportunities for underrepresented groups.
  • Provide DEI training: Conduct regular training sessions on diversity, equity, and inclusion to educate employees and managers.
  • Foster an inclusive culture: Cultivate a workplace culture that celebrates differences and encourages open dialogue.
  • Measure and report progress: Regularly assess your company’s DEI efforts and report on progress and feedback using employee surveys.
How to get started 👉 Download Confetti's DEI engagement calendar to help you plan cultural celebrations, workshops, and heritage months for the year!

4. Mental Health Awareness

Gen Z places a high priority on mental health and expects their employers to support and promote mental well-being. A survey by the American Psychological Association found that 91% of Gen Z adults experienced physical or emotional symptoms due to stress. Additionally, a study by McKinsey highlights that Gen Z is more likely to leave jobs that negatively impact their mental health.

To attract and retain Gen Z talent, emphasize mental health care and awareness:

  • Offer comprehensive mental health benefits: Provide access to mental health services, including therapy, counseling, and employee assistance programs (EAPs).
  • Promote a supportive culture: Create an open and supportive workplace where discussing mental health issues is encouraged and stigma-free.
  • Regularly assess mental health needs: Conduct employee pulse surveys to gauge the mental health needs of your workforce and tailor initiatives accordingly.
  • Provide mental health education: Offer workshops, seminars, and resources on health and wellness topics, like fitness classes, stress management, mindfulness, and more.
How to get started 👉 Confetti's Health and Wellness collection is full of experiences that will have your Gen Z employees feeling their best.
Health & Wellness by Confetti

5. Professional Development and Career Advancement

Unlike Generation X, who were more inclined towards self-directed learning, Gen Z prefers structured learning environments with clear outcomes and values continuous learning and development opportunities. 76% of Gen Z employees believe learning is key to their success. Additionally, opportunities for career progression are among the top factors that attract Gen Z to an employer.

Emphasize learning and development through:

  • Provide Continuous Learning Opportunities: Offer various learning programs including workshops, seminars, online courses, and certifications. Ensure these opportunities are accessible and aligned with employees' career goals.
  • Develop Clear Career Paths: Create and communicate clear career advancement paths within the organization. Provide regular feedback and 360-degree performance reviews to help employees understand their progress and areas for improvement.
  • Encourage Skill Development: Support employees in acquiring new skills by offering cross-departmental lunch and learns, mentorship, and training programs.
  • Invest in Leadership Development: Identify and nurture potential leaders through specialized leadership training and development programs. Encourage employees to take on leadership roles in projects and initiatives to build their experience.
  • Foster a Culture of Continuous Improvement: Promote a growth mindset within the organization, encouraging employees to seek out new challenges and learn from their experiences. Celebrate achievements and milestones to reinforce the importance of personal and professional development.
How to get started 👉 Adding Confetti's Learning & Development team building activities to the calendar is a great way to foster continuous learning and a positive culture at the same time!
Learning & Development by Confetti

5. Appreciation and Recognition

Gen Z thrives on feedback and recognition. Research by SHRM indicates that employee recognition is one of the top drivers of job satisfaction for Gen Z specifically.

Cultivate a culture of recognition and appreciation through:

  • Implement recognition programs: Establish programs that celebrate individual and team achievements, such as celebratory team building events, employee of the month spotlights, and performance bonuses.
  • Provide immediate and specific feedback: Give employee feedback that is specific and actionable, recognizing efforts and accomplishments as they happen.
  • Encourage peer recognition: Promote a recognition culture where employees regularly acknowledge each other's contributions through digital platforms or recognition boards.
  • Foster a positive work environment: Create a positive workplace culture emphasizing positivity, gratitude, and mutual respect.
  • Tailor recognition to individual preferences: Understand that everyone has different preferences for recognition and tailor efforts accordingly, whether through public acknowledgment, private praise in one on ones, or tangible gifts and swag.
How to get started 👉 Reward your team’s hard work by treating them to some team building fun with Confetti! 
Virtual Team Building by Confetti

Engage Gen Z with Confetti

By focusing on these key areas, you can create an engaging and supportive work environment that attracts and meets the needs of Gen Z employees, fostering their career growth and employee experience journey with your organization.

If you'd like to learn how Confetti's events can help you motivate your Gen Z team, schedule a call to speak to a Confetti expert today! 
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