What Gen Z Is Looking For in the Workplace

Leadership | Personal Development


It seems like just yesterday leaders were trying to figure out what millennials wanted in the workplace. While that was happening, my generation (Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012) snuck in unnoticed. We're the ones who grew up with high-speed internet (not dial-up!), social media, and has become a strong voice in cultural and climate movements.


Thanks to COVID-19, we've had quite the unique education experience, spending two years in virtual classrooms and graduating via Zoom. And now, as we enter the post-pandemic world, we're facing a wild job market with booming opportunities and rampant layoffs. We may have come up with the term "Quiet Quitting," but now we're dealing with the harsh reality of "Quiet Firing" and "Loud Layoffs."


Currently, Gen Z represents around 30% of the world's population, and by 2025, we will make up roughly 27% of the workforce. So, what should employers keep in mind when attracting and retaining Gen Z talent who can become the next source of knowledge, engagement, passion to fuel the growth in their companies, and compete in the tight labor market? In this article, I'll provide my own insights into what employers should keep with the newest generation entering the workforce. 


1. Work-life balance
A workplace that values time spent outside of work and allows for a healthy disconnect from the office is crucial for Gen Zers. While I'm productive and dedicated during the work week, I believe in logging off and living my life when it's time to clock out. Having time outside of work to pursue hobbies, spend time with loved ones, or engage in other activities provides me with the necessary break I need to return to work feeling refreshed and energized.  

According to a McKinsey study, Gen Z is the most stressed of all generations. While this shouldn't be surprising, it's important for leaders to understand that we take our mental health seriously and having work-life balance is important when seeking opportunities.

2. Coaching and mentorship
As someone who wants to learn, grow, and develop my career, I greatly appreciate guidance from colleagues. Having a mentor or coach who can provide support and advice will help me grow both professionally and personally. They can offer insight into company culture and the industry and help me navigate through challenges and opportunities. Employers can provide this by assigning mentors, offering opportunities for professional development, and providing feedback on my performance.  

3. Delegation
Taking on new challenges and expanding my skill set is an essential aspect of my development. I appreciate the trust that my managers place in me when they assign me tasks and projects. Being given the opportunity to learn something new or take on more responsibilities makes me feel motivated and empowered in my role. Delegation can also help me feel more engaged and invested in my work and understand how my efforts contribute to the overall success of the company. A core practice IA teaches in Managing with Impact is Stretch Delegation. Learn more about this key leadership tool in the video below.

4. Workplace culture
A culture that embraces different perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences, and that is open and accepting of all employees is essential. A positive and supportive work environment can lead to higher levels of job satisfaction and employee retention, and Gen Z is more likely to invest our time and energy into a company that shares our values and needs. Feeling that our contributions make a meaningful impact is motivating, and we want to be part of a team where everyone's ideas and perspectives, including ours, are valued and appreciated.  

To attract and retain the best workers from our generation, employers need to create a workplace culture that shares these values and needs. For Gen Z, feeling empowered, being in a positive and engaging learning environment, and feeling that our organization genuinely cares about our growth and well-being are important. By creating a work environment that aligns with these values, organizations can build an expanding, committed, and motivated workforce. 


If you want to learn more about how to empower members of your team, and create both a positive and powerful learning environment, we invite you to check out our Managing with Impact ™ program, which is tailored for people moving from an individual contributor to a first-time leader role and includes topics such as how to give employee feedback, delegate, and hold career growth conversations. 

About Bella Cebrero

Bella Cebrero is a marketing intern and is responsible for building, executing, and monitoring IA social media channels, as well as assisting in research and projects. Bella is currently enrolled in university and majoring in Business Management with a minor in Marketing. In her free time, Bella loves to travel, read, garden, and volunteer at her local farm. Bella's favorite IA practice is Desired Outcomes. Desired Outcomes clearly state the expected results of a meeting, in order to give individuals information on what will be discussed during the meeting and what they will walk away with at the end.