5 Gen Z Values You Need to Know


January 23, 2020

Jennifer Birch

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5 min

Shaped by the digital age, these socially progressive dreamers are Generation Z.

Group of Generation Z employees collaborating at work. With Kudos it's never been easier to enhance their employee experience.

Table of Contents

Generation Z, also known as Gen Z, are expected to surpass millennials as the most populous generation on earth. In addition, their workplace wants and needs are very different from their millennial counterparts.

Here's what you need to know about these talents born between 1996 and 2010.

Authenticity Over Aesthetics

In contrast to the millennial generation, Gen Z workers value authenticity over aesthetics. They respect companies that steer clear of gimmicks. Instead, they appreciate those that provide unpretentious and thoughtfully designed physical spaces.

It’s important to understand that Gen Z genuinely care about making a difference in the world. These no-nonsense tech natives want to move and shake industries for the better, and they want to avoid anything that might get in their way.

Disruptive Tech Competency

As mentioned above, Gen Zers are the first generation that doesn’t know life without the internet. Born into a world filled with emerging technologies, almost anything tech-related is second nature to them. A survey conducted by InFocus found that 97% of Gen Z workers value technological literacy in the workforce. They like organizations that are on the cutting edge. Moreover, they desire a workplace that can ride the digital waves of AI, IoT, blockchain, and Industry 4.0 just as well, if not better. No matter the industry, expect them to understand the impact of disruptive technologies you face.

Download our free Recognizing Generational Diversity Culture Guide to learn more about the meaningful differences between generations, and what they each need to help you build a more vibrant company culture.

Competitive Compensation

Just like any generation, Gen Z seek stability when it comes to their finances. CNBC reports that the top priority of Gen Zers is to make money and have a successful career. What makes them stand out from other age groups is how their high regard for individualism makes them determined to be self-reliant.  

Salary will be important in attracting Gen Z. But to really catch their eye, spotlight the bigger picture of their compensation by highlighting your company's workplace culture, as well as, the various benefits and perks they'll receive like employee recognition and rewards.

Flexibility is Key

As a generation that grew up with abundant digital resources, Gen Z thrives in environments that encourage versatility and flexibility. To get them on board, try to limit rigid rules and procedures. Avoid boxing them in and you’ll set their creativity free - and that can lead to big rewards.

By offering flexibility, Gen Zers will be able to grow in a rapidly changing digital age. They can help companies get a headstart on shaping tomorrow's leaders. Options like remote work, extended vacation leaves and flexible work hours maximize opportunities for Gen Z. Give them choices and they will reward you with higher productivity and deeper loyalty.

Trust and Independence

A Kronos report reveals Gen Z values trust above everything else in a manager. This is a generation that values their independence and self-sufficiency. They do not want to be babied or managed too closely. While their next most valued management trait is caring and support, there is a fairly fine line between giving Gen Z independence while being there for them.  

So, consider practicing supportive leadership instead of micromanaging. Help Gen Zers feel trusted and respected as employees. You can do this by having one-on-one feedback sessions, fostering a physical workspace that gives them privacy, and caring about their life outside work while still respecting their boundaries.

Gen Z is Worth the Effort

While nobody likes being lumped in with millions of people based mainly on the year they were born, it's important for organizations to take the time to understand newer and younger generations, especially ones that bring a forward-thinking mentality. Gen Zers are know for bringing fresh ideas and a strong work ethic, they care about diversity, our planet and ultimately making a positive impact in the world. Taking the time to know them better will only increase your readiness for an already technological era and set you apart from the rest.

Originally published January 2020. Last updated August 2023.

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About Kudos

Kudos is an employee engagement, culture, and analytics platform, that harnesses the power of peer-to-peer recognition, values reinforcement, and open communication to help organizations boost employee engagement, reduce turnover, improve culture, and drive productivity and performance. Kudos uses unique proprietary methodologies to deliver essential people analytics on culture, performance, equity, and inclusion, providing organizations with deep insights and a clear understanding of their workforce.

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