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How To Recognize And Motivate Gen Z Employees?

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How To Recognize And Motivate Gen Z Employees?

As the youngest cohort in the workplace, Gen Z constitutes the most rapidly growing workforce segment across various organizations. This demographic shift underscores businesses’ need to craft and implement specific strategies to recognize and inspire their Gen Z employees, ensuring their engagement and productivity.

Who Are  Gen Z Employees?

Gen Z Employees

Gen Z, also called Zoomers, comprises people born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s. They constitute more than fifty percent of the workforce in many organizations.

This generation of professionals possesses unique skills and abilities, making them an excellent asset for organizations today.

Ensuring their retention within the organization and developing their full potential can help drive higher business growth

That is why organizations need to focus on enhancing their workplace experience.

What Are The Other Generations Of Employees In An Organization?

Multi-generation Workforce

At any given time, an organization may have a minimum of 3-4 generations of employees working for it.

Today’s organizations generally have employees from multiple generations including, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Millennials, and Gen Z.

Understanding the generational diversity in the organization plays a vital role in driving the performance and efficiency of the workforce.

What Are The Strengths And Preferences Of Gen Z?

What Are The Strengths And Preferences Of Gen Z?

Gen Z is the first generation born and raised in a world driven by digital technology.

Hence, they are also called ‘digital natives’; their habits and preferences are highly technology-driven.

The top common traits of people belonging to Gen Z include the following:

Strengths And Preferences Of Gen Z

1. Extremely Tech-Savvy

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Gen Z is highly comfortable with technology and seeks constant connectivity through social media.

They possess digital skills and can quickly adopt new digital tools and technologies.

They prefer to get information from online resources and use technology to solve their problems.

2. Ability To Multitask


People of this generation are highly innovative and willing to take risks.

 They are also skilled at handling multiple tasks and responsibilities simultaneously, making them capable of seeking diverse career growth and advancement opportunities.

3. Adaptability And Flexibility

Gen Z people exhibit high adaptability and flexibility as they have grown up in a rapidly changing world.

This makes it easier for them to work efficiently in changing environments and challenging situations.

They are willing to accept any change with positivity and view it as an opportunity for growth.

4. Purpose-Driven And Socially Conscious

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Gen Z people are driven by purpose and awareness about their social responsibilities.

This drives them to seek meaningful job options that will enable them to contribute positively to society.

5. Individualistic Yet Community-oriented

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Gen Z values individuality and personal expression.

However, they also display a strong sense of belonging and community online and offline.

6. Learning And Career Focused


They attach great value to education, learning, and development.

Gen Z constantly seeks out new opportunities for learning and self-improvement.

They are focused on achieving academic and professional success.

How Are Gen Z Different From Millennials?

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Millennials are the generation that immediately precedes Gen Z. They were generally born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s.

Here are the key differences between Millennials and Gen Z:

What Motivates Gen Z Employees?

What Motivates Gen Z Employees

Organizations need to understand that each generation of employees is motivated by different things.

Awareness of these motivation drivers ensures employee rewards and recognition provide the desired business outcomes.

The key motivation drivers for Gen Z include the following:

What Motivates Gen Z Employees

1. Purpose And Social Impact Of Work


Gen Z is driven by work with a clear purpose and a positive social impact.

They like to clearly understand the purpose of their work and how it will help address various social and environmental issues.

Being socially conscious, they are often involved with different causes and issues and seek to work with organizations that align with those.

2. Diversity And Inclusivity In the Workplace

Diversity And Inclusivity In the Workplace

Gen Zs highly value inclusion and diversity in the workplace.

They celebrate the differences in culture,  opinions, and creativity this brings to the workplace.

They also believe that working in such an environment enables them to appreciate the value of equality and collaboration.

3. Continuous Learning And Development

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Gen Z members appreciate continuous learning and development opportunities.

These help them evolve as individuals and professionals and stay ahead in a highly competitive world.

That is why they prefer to work for organizations that offer them access to learning opportunities, relevant training, and mentorship.

4. Flexible Environment With Great Work-Life Balance

Flexible Timings

Gen Z prefers a flexible work environment that enables them to complete tasks with a free mind.

Such a flexible work environment makes it easier for them to maintain a healthy lifestyle and pursue their passions.

It enables them to enjoy an outstanding work-life balance where they can fulfill their professional responsibilities while taking time for leisure activities and personal relationships.

5. Financial Security And Career Growth

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Gen Z and other generations share the need for financial security and economic growth.

They often have to deal with financial challenges like student loans, home loans, and other expenses.

That is why they value job options promising career growth and economic stability. 

6. Need For Personalization


Due to their strong focus on individuality, Gen Z looks for a high level of personalization in compensation, benefits, rewards, assignments, opportunities, etc., at the workplace.

They value the unique skills and competencies they bring to the organization.

Hence, they are unhappy being treated the same way as others in the organization.

What Are The Best Ways To Recognize Gen Z Employees?

Best Ways To Recognize Gen Z Employees

When recognizing employees belonging to Gen Z, organizations need to understand and address their preferences most effectively.

This is essential to create a work environment that these employees find engaging, growth-oriented, and motivating.

Here are the best ways organizations can offer recognition to Gen Z employees:

Best Ways To Recognize Gen Z Employees

1. Go Digital With Recognition


With Gen Z being the most digital-savvy generation in the workplace, it is a no-brainer that they would prefer using digital recognition tools.

Hence, organizations must invest in employee rewards and recognition platforms that digitize the entire process and enhance the employee experience.

They would also prefer mobile recognition apps that enable them to give and receive recognition on the go.

2. Ensure Instant/ Timely Recognition


Gen Z feels happy when their efforts and contributions are recognized spontaneously.

Offering them spot recognition can be very effective as it assures them that their efforts and contributions are noticed by those who matter.

Digital recognition platforms might be the best way to give instant recognition through spot awards and digital ‘thank you’ cards.

3. Offer Personalized Recognition

Personalized recognition is a great way to motivate Gen Z employees.

It assures them that the organization knows about their specific contributions and achievements and values them. 

By tailoring the recognition to match the needs and expectations of the employees, organizations can send out a positive message that their unique skills and accomplishments are well-appreciated.  

Hence, managers and coworkers need to put in additional effort to craft personalized citations for them.

4. Enable Social Recognition


Social recognition, especially in the digital form, gives Gen Z employees the publicity and exposure they want.

Hence, posting updates on their efforts and achievements on internal platforms such as Teams, Slack, intranet, and social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook gives them additional motivation.

This social recognition within and outside the organization fills them with a deep sense of pride and accomplishment.

5. Incorporate Gamification


Gen Z is fun-loving and, hence, seeks recognition programs that are interactive and enjoyable;

Hence, organizations should incorporate gamification elements in their programs, such as reward points, badges, leaderboards, goodies, and competitions, to help retain employees’ interest and encourage participation.

It also promotes healthy competition within the workplace by strengthening employee relationships and camaraderie.

6. Consider Learning & Development as Rewards

A Guide to Rewards and Recognition for Learning and Development

Since Gen Z attaches significance to learning and development, providing such opportunities could be an excellent reward option.

The organization could sponsor online or offline courses, workshops, or conferences or even arrange for mentorships to reward high-performing employees.

This can enhance employees’ motivation levels, help strengthen their skills, bolster future performance, and pave the way for faster career growth.

7. Offer Meaningful Work Assignments as Rewards


Another excellent way to recognize Gen Z employees is to assign them meaningful work assignments, projects, and responsibilities.

It reflects the organization’s trust in employees’ skills and competence while providing them professional growth opportunities.

Such assignment assures employees that their organization understands their interests and career objectives and supports them.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, harnessing Gen Z’s unique talents and true potential is vital for any organization’s continued success and growth. Organizations must deeply understand their values and aspirations and implement tailored strategies to motivate and recognize Gen Z employees.

Sagar Chaudhuri

Lead author: Sagar Chaudhuri, the Co-Founder and CEO of HiFives. He is an HR Tech Evangelist with over 25 years of experience in the corporate world and entrepreneurship. In the past, Sagar has worked with companies such as Genpact, Infosys, and ICICI Bank, in leadership roles. He has an engineering degree from IIT Kharagpur and an MBA from IIM Lucknow. Connect on LinkedIn

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HiFives is a global employee rewards, recognition and engagement SaaS platform that enables organizations to digitize, automate and transform their employee experience. It is used by 100+ large enterprises, small businesses and startups in manufacturing, retail, technology, financial services and media, across 25+ countries.