How to engage and motivate Gen Z in the workplace

A diverse group of professionals working and interacting at a desk in a modern office, designed to motivate Gen Z, with lush greenery in the background.

As the workplace continues to evolve, it’s crucial to recognize that each generation brings unique perspectives, values, and expectations. Generation Z, born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, is no exception.

This generation has grown up in a digital era, witnessing rapid technological advancements and experiencing a vastly different world from their predecessors. As a result, Gen Z employees require different motivation techniques to thrive and perform at their best.

In this article, we’ll explore effective strategies to captivate and motivate Gen Z employees while fostering their professional growth.

A whole new world: What makes Gen Z so different

Gen Z, the generation born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, stands apart from previous generations in several key ways. First and foremost, Gen Z has grown up in a hyperconnected digital age, where technology is an integral part of their daily lives. This unprecedented access to information, communication, and entertainment has shaped their behaviors, expectations, and perspectives. 

Gen Z tends to be socially conscious, valuing diversity, inclusion, and sustainability. They seek purpose, meaning, and work-life balance in their careers, placing a strong emphasis on personal growth, continuous learning, and making a positive impact.

Managers need to understand these unique characteristics and motivations of Gen Z to effectively lead, engage, and motivate them in the workplace.

A smiling young woman with glasses standing on a city street, aiming to motivate Gen Z, with blurred traffic and buildings in the background.

1. Passion projects: Igniting Gen Z's inner fire

Gen Z craves purpose and meaning in their work. To tap into their motivation, employers must provide opportunities that allow them to make a genuine impact. Here’s how to do it:

Assign projects aligned with passions and values

Take the time to understand the individual passions and values of your Gen Z employees. When assigning projects, consider their interests and align them with their core values. For example, if an employee is passionate about environmental issues, involve them in sustainability initiatives or green projects. This connection between their work and their personal values will ignite their passion and drive.

Provide autonomy and ownership

Gen Z employees thrive when given autonomy and ownership over their work. Empower them to take the lead on projects and make decisions. This level of trust and responsibility shows that you value their input and believe in their capabilities. It motivates them to excel and take ownership of their contributions.

Offer regular feedback and progress updates

Gen Z employees want to know how they’re performing and where they stand. Provide regular feedback on their work and progress. Be specific and constructive in your feedback, highlighting their strengths and areas for improvement. Additionally, provide progress updates, so they have a clear understanding of how their work contributes to the larger goals of the organization.

2. Level up your game: Gamifying motivation for Gen Z

Gen Z employees are known for having shorter attention spans due to their exposure to constant information and entertainment stimuli. However, rather than viewing this as a challenge, employers can harness this characteristic to motivate their team effectively. 

Embrace microlearning and bite-sized content

Gen Z thrives on consuming information in bite-sized, easily digestible formats. Employers can leverage this preference by offering microlearning opportunities. Break down training materials, onboarding programs, and development resources into shorter modules or interactive formats that are easy to consume. This approach not only caters to their attention spans but also allows for more focused and efficient learning.

Gamify tasks and goals

Gen Z employees are drawn to gamified experiences that provide instant gratification and a sense of accomplishment. Employers can introduce gamification elements into the work environment to motivate Gen Z employees. Create challenges, leaderboards, and rewards systems tied to specific tasks or goals. This taps into their competitive nature, fuels their motivation, and helps maintain their focus and engagement.

Variety and rotation of tasks

Gen Z employees thrive on variety and novelty. Rather than assigning them to monotonous, repetitive tasks, offer a range of different projects and responsibilities. Rotate their tasks periodically to keep them engaged and prevent boredom. This approach allows them to leverage their multitasking superpowers and adapt to changing demands, which ultimately boosts their motivation and productivity.

Five colleagues collaborate around a laptop in a bright office, displaying engagement and teamwork, aiming to motivate Gen Z.

3. Team tango: Dancing to the rhythm of collaboration

Collaboration and inclusivity are essential for motivating Gen Z employees. They value diversity and want to be included in decision-making processes. Here’s how to foster a collaborative and inclusive environment:

Encourage teamwork and open communication

Create opportunities for teamwork and collaboration. Encourage employees to work together on projects and initiatives. Foster an environment where open communication is encouraged, and ideas can flow freely. Gen Z employees thrive when they feel that their voices are heard and valued.

Actively seek and value Gen Z's input

Make a conscious effort to seek input from Gen Z employees. Involve them in decision-making processes and value their perspectives. This shows that their opinions matter and that they have a significant role to play in shaping the direction of the organization. Actively listening to their ideas and incorporating them where appropriate builds a sense of ownership and motivates them to contribute more.

Set up cross-functional projects for collaboration

Cross-functional projects provide opportunities for Gen Z employees to work with colleagues from different departments and backgrounds. This diversity of thought and expertise stimulates creativity and innovation. Encourage collaboration across teams and departments to break down silos and create a cohesive and inclusive work environment.

Create videos that drive action

Activate your customers or team with impactful, on-brand videos.

4. Lights, camera, motivation: Engaging Gen Z with video messages

Gen Z is the generation of digital natives. Use video messages, like Biteables, to engage and align your whole team. Create captivating and visually appealing video messages for communication, updates, and recognition. Leverage the power of video to capture attention, convey messages effectively, and resonate with Gen Z’s digital mindset.

Utilize video messages for effective communication

Video messages are a dynamic and engaging way to communicate with Gen Z employees. Use video messages to convey important information, share updates, and provide guidance. This format captures Gen Z’s attention and makes the message more memorable and impactful.

Leverage Biteable for engaging content

Biteable is a powerful tool that allows employers to create visually appealing and professional-looking videos in seconds — ideal for busy teams. Record yourself or your screen to relay a message, or build an animated, text-based video to inform and align. 

Adapt to Gen Z's digital mindset and preferences

Video messages align with Gen Z’s digital mindset and preferences. By leveraging this medium, you can effectively reach, engage, and align with your whole team. Embrace technology and don’t be afraid to explore other digital platforms to enhance communication, collaboration, and information sharing amongst your team.

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10 creative Record Requests to send your team (+ prompts!)

5. Growth spurt: Fueling Gen Z's hunger for learning

Gen Z employees have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and growth. Nurture Gen Z’s development by offering opportunities for continuous learning.

Offer workshops, training programs, and mentorship initiatives

Organize workshops and training programs that cater to the interests and needs of Gen Z employees. Consider their career aspirations and offer development opportunities that align with their goals. Additionally, establish mentorship initiatives where experienced employees can guide and support Gen Z employees in their professional growth.

Tailor professional development opportunities to individual interests and goals

Recognize that Gen Z employees are not a homogeneous group. They have diverse interests and goals. Personalize professional development opportunities to cater to their individual needs. This can involve offering a variety of training programs, online courses, or access to industry conferences and events. When employees see the direct relevance of these opportunities to their personal growth, they are more motivated to participate.

Encourage continuous learning

Create a culture of continuous learning within the organization. Encourage Gen Z employees to seek out learning opportunities on their own, such as reading books, listening to podcasts, or participating in webinars. Support their curiosity and provide resources and recommendations for self-directed learning.

Motivate every generation with Biteable

By implementing these strategies, you can foster a motivated and high-performing team of Gen Z employees who feel valued, empowered, and excited to contribute their unique talents to your organization’s success.

Start incorporating video into your motivation toolkit with your 7-day free trial of Biteable. Reach every generation with branded video messages you made in minutes.


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