How employers can motivate and support younger Gen Z workers

What do younger workers want from their roles and employers? How can employers motivate and support Gen Z employees? Learn how employers can provide meaningful support and create a thriving workplace environment for newer generations.


Bobby Ahmed

Managing Director Bobby is a highly experienced Employment Law Solicitor and the Managing Director at Neathouse Partners. He has a wealth of knowledge on all aspects of Employment Law & HR, with a particular specialism in TUPE and redundancy.


28 May 2024


17 July 2024
6 min read

As younger Gen Z workers enter the workforce, employers face new challenges and opportunities in engaging and supporting a dynamic generation that grew up with social media, flexible working practices and a more relaxed attitude to the office.

Born between the late 1990s and early 2010s, Gen Z workers bring fresh perspectives, a range of digital skills, and a strong desire for meaningful work.

To attract and retain young professionals, employers need to understand their values, unique needs and preferences. In this article, we'll explore strategies employers can take to attract, support and retain younger Gen Z workers.


What Gen Z employees want from work: values and expectations

Understanding what Gen Z wants from work is essential for employers aiming to attract and retain young new talent. Gen Z seek financial stability, value diversity, prioritise their mental health as well as physical health, and appreciate authenticity and autonomy. By meeting these needs, companies can build a motivated and loyal workforce.

elf-reliance and upskilling

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Gen Z workers are well known for their strong sense of self-reliance and pragmatism when it comes to their careers.

According to a Monster survey, 76% of Gen Z believe their career success is purely their own responsibility. Because of this belief, they are more driven to develop their skill sets on their own terms in order to climb the professional ladder.

If an employer isn't meeting their needs, or they feel trapped and unable to develop in a role, they're not afraid to seek opportunities elsewhere or even start their own businesses.

Flexibility and autonomy are key to their work ethic, allowing them to work on their terms and achieve their career goals.


Remote working and financial stability

Following the Covid-19 pandemic and a rise in remote working, Gen Z employees have gained more control over their working lives, and this is something they want to continue to do.

Salary and financial stability also remains a top priority for them, largely due to the rising cost of living and economic crises they've lived through. This means that Gen Z workers are more likely to turn down roles that are purely office based, saving them money on the daily commute.

They're also willing to work over nights and weekends to secure a higher income. Employers who offer good pay, flexible or remote working and benefits are more likely to attract and retain Gen Z talent.


A commitment to DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion)

Diversity, equity and inclusion are must-haves for Gen Z, as they are the most diverse generation in the workforce.

A significant 83% of Gen Z workers state that workplace diversity matters to them. 33% of workers wouldn't apply to a company that doesn't prioritise this.

Gen Z's definition of diversity also goes far beyond gender, race and religion, and includes all aspects of identity. To attract and keep Gen Z employees, companies need to demonstrate that they are committed to all aspects of inclusion.


Mental health

Man walking up some stairs wearing trainers

The stigma surrounding mental health is being broken down by newer generations, who are promoting the topic and encouraging more open discussions about it. Mental health is a very important topic for Gen Z.

A Deloitte study found that 44% of Gen Z have left jobs due to stress from workloads. To keep Gen Z workers in their jobs, employers need to demonstrate that they value their mental health, and that it is an important priority for them.

Employers should provide access to mental health resources, implement wellness initiatives, and create supportive working environments with mental health first aiders who workers can speak to if required.

In-person interactions

Group work at an office

Despite their obvious skills in digital technology, Gen Z workers don't want to hide behind their laptops. They value face-to-face interactions, and prefer hybrid work models that offer flexibility while allowing regular in-person collaboration. When physical meetings aren't possible, they prefer video calls over emails. Effective communication tools are essential to support their need for connection and teamwork.



Growing up in the information age has made Gen Z highly attuned to authenticity and transparency. They can easily research the answers to the questions they ask, and they expect honest and immediate feedback.

Gen Z are very wary of employers who are not open and transparent – starting with employers who don't disclose salary ranges in their job adverts.

Employers need to be genuine in their actions and as open as possible on all topics in order to win trust and engagement. Authenticity in communication and actions encourages a supportive and loyal Gen Z workforce.


Autonomy over micromanagement

Gen Z values trust and autonomy in the workplace. Micromanaging colleagues and superiors can make them feel suffocated, driving them to leave their jobs. They prefer to take on responsibilities and develop new skills independently.

While they might challenge authority, their input can lead to innovation and improvement if guided correctly. Employers should avoid micromanagement, and offer training in communication to help Gen Z harness their assertiveness constructively.

What are Gen Z's workplace expectations?

Gen Z business man walking down an alley way

Gen Z's workplace expectations are shaped by their experiences growing up in a highly digital, interconnected world, as well as witnessing economic and social challenges. They include:

  • A tech-savvy employer that integrates the latest technology in their operations.
  • A work-life balance that enables freedom in personal lives alongside professional responsibilities.
  • A company with a strong sense of purpose, that engages in ethical practices, and contributes positively to society.
  • Workplaces that are diverse and inclusive. They look for employers who actively promote diversity in all forms.
  • Employers who provide opportunities professional growth, like skill development, mentorship, and regular feedback.
  • Open communication and feedback, with managers who are approachable and transparent.
  • Health and well-being support such as counselling services, mental health days and wellness programs.
  • Employers who offer stable positions and clear career paths.
  • Fair pay and competitive salaries, and to receive benefits that support their financial, physical, and mental well-being.

How is Gen Z changing the workplace?

As they are coming into the workforce, Gen Z is reshaping the world of work in several ways, which can be challenging for employers who don't meet their expectations. Their fluency with technology is accelerating digital transformation, so employers will need to keep up with changing digital needs, such as the introduction of artificial intelligence to streamline processes.

Gen Z's communication preferences, which are shaped by digital channels and informal interactions, are breaking down barriers and the more formal corporate culture that has been seen in previous generations and office environments of the past.

Gen Z advocate for being themselves, and they don't believe they should have to adopt a different, more restrained and formal persona at work to succeed.  

Gen Z value flexibility in working hours and location, and they are one of the many forces driving organisations to offer more flexible arrangements. They also hold employers to account, and won't work for companies they don't believe in. They want better corporate responsibility and sustainability initiatives, as well as more diverse representation and inclusive policies.

Finally, Gen Z is also driving conversations around mental health in the workplace, advocating for employee well-being and support services. Their entrepreneurial mindset and creative problem-solving skills are driving a culture of innovation and experimentation that challenges traditional working practices.

How employers can engage Gen Z in the workplace

Prioritise diversity and inclusion

Creating a culture of respect, inclusivity and diversity is essential for attracting and retaining all top talent in today's competitive job market, but especially candidates from younger generations, who greatly prioritise this value in an employer. Establishing employee resource groups that advocate for under-represented employees can help to create a sense of belonging and community. These groups can also ensure that diverse voices and perspectives are heard and considered in decision-making processes, leading to a more inclusive work environment.


Use technology

As digital natives, Gen-Z workers look for companies that embrace a tech-forward approach to the working experience. However, it's not just about adopting technology for the sake of it – it has to make processes more efficient. Gen Z workers are more likely to switch from one task to another multiple times across their working day, so using automation tools can help with this issue. Technology can also enhance remote work experiences, making them more seamless.

Better leadership and transparency

Gen Z values transparency and positive relationships with peers and managers, making great leadership styles crucial. Empathy and honesty are among the most valued traits in managers. Gen Z workers expect leaders to be transparent, supportive and attentive to their input. Sending out regular employee surveys is essential to assess satisfaction and engagement levels, as these can provide valuable insights for improvement.


Have a good onboarding experience

The onboarding experience is the first impression a new worker has of a company. Fail to get this right, and it doesn't help the employee-employer relationship. Given that onboarding is key to employee success, it is essential to establish a structured program with dedicated resources, such as materials, training videos, buddies to check-in with new recruits, and guides.

Prioritise mental health

Employers should encourage workers to take mental health days, offer benefits like free counselling or mindfulness classes as part of their compensation package, and produce communications that prove they're aware of the importance of mental health. Guide employees to resources they can use, and consider hiring mental health first aiders who can speak to those who may be struggling.

Need help with attracting & engaging with Gen Z workers?

If you want to attract more Gen Z talent by making changes to your diversity and inclusion policies, providing opportunities for skill development or offering mental health support, we can help at Neathouse Partners.

Get in touch today via our contact form.

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