10 Problems with Gen Z in the workplace: Understanding what motivates them

Kailash Ganesh
16 min read
Gen Z employees casually relaxing in the workplace
Problems with Gen Z in the workplace

Picture a bustling office filled with the clickety-clack of keyboards, the hum of conversations, and the occasional ping of incoming emails. Amidst the sea of professionals, a new wave of leaders is rising, bringing fresh perspectives and an entirely different approach to work.

They are Generation Z, the digital natives born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s, and they are transforming the workplace landscape like never before.

Over the past few years, and since the onset of the global pandemic, the workplace has changed. Gen Z is projected to make up 27% of the global workforce by 2025 and has disrupted the status quo. With their unparalleled technological prowess and unique set of values, they bring both excitement and challenges to the workplace.

As employers, managers, business leaders, and colleagues strive to understand and adapt to their distinctive traits, a new set of questions arises: What are the problems faced by Gen Z in the workplace? How can we bridge the gap and create a harmonious work environment that nurtures their potential?

In this blog, we will dive deep into the multifaceted challenges encountered by employers when integrating Gen Zers into the workforce.

See how Gen-Z employee feedback survey would look like in CultureMonkey's employee survey tool.

Who are Gen Z employees?

Well, this term refers to employees who belong to Generation Z, also known as Gen Z or the iGeneration. They are the demographic cohort born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s, following Generation Y (Millennials) and preceding Generation Alpha. As the first generation of young people to have grown up entirely in the digital age, they are often referred to as “digital natives.”

These employees have distinct characteristics shaped by their experiences and upbringing. They have been exposed to advanced technology from an early age, leading to strong digital literacy skills and a natural affinity for digital platforms and communication tools. They are highly connected, social, and accustomed to instant access to information.

This new generation of workers is known for its diversity, both in terms of ethnicity and viewpoints. In addition to its diversity in terms of ethnicity and viewpoints, these young employees also differ from other older generations in their digital fluency, entrepreneurial mindset, and a strong emphasis on social justice and inclusion.

In addition to its diversity in terms of ethnicity and viewpoints, this younger generation of employees differ from other previous generations of leaders in the company in some ways.

Professional development and a clear career growth path is key to them even before joining the organization. - Angela Cheng-Cimini, CHRO, Harvard Business Publishing

How are Gen Z employees different from other generations?

These employees differ from other generations in several key ways. They are the first truly digital-native gen, having grown up immersed in technology and social media. They possess strong digital skills and are comfortable navigating online platforms. Employees from Gen Z value diversity, inclusion, and social justice, and they actively seek out workplaces that align with their values.

They crave authentic and personalized experiences and prefer instant and constant feedback. Gen Z also tends to have a more entrepreneurial mindset, seeking opportunities for growth and impact. Understanding these unique characteristics is vital for organizations to engage and retain Gen Z talent effectively.

Gen-Zs have really helped normalize conversations about mental health and overall work-life experience and their general activism, I think, has gone a long way to challenge the status quo, especially around issues like valuing difference and inclusion - Danna M Brown, Head of people & Culture, Electriphi

How will Gen Z affect the workplace?

Gen Z is poised to have a significant impact on the workplace. As digital natives, they bring advanced technological skills and a fresh perspective on collaboration and communication. Gen Z's emphasis on work life balance and their desire for meaningful work aligns with the growing demand for flexible and purpose-driven workplaces.

They are likely to challenge traditional hierarchies and advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Gen Z's entrepreneurial mindset may lead to innovative thinking and a drive for continuous learning. Adapting to Gen Z's preferences and harnessing their potential can contribute to a more dynamic, inclusive, and forward-thinking work environment.

What are the problems of Gen Z employees?

Gen Zers facing problems in their workplace
A majority of Gen Z respondents in studies state that they seek more pay, and fulfillment. 

1. Communication preferences

Gen Z tends to favor digital communication platforms, such as instant messaging and social media, which can differ from traditional workplace communication methods. This can create a disconnect and miscommunication between older generations and colleagues who prefer more face-to-face or phone interactions.

2. Work and life balance expectations

Members of this group place a strong emphasis on work and life balance and prioritizing personal well-being. They seek flexibility in their work arrangements and value time off and leisure activities. Balancing their desire for a fulfilling personal life with the demands of the job can be a challenge. These young people see the impact of work-related burnout and more overall stress, and seek more balanced working structures.

3. Career advancement, job opportunities, job security

With a strong desire for growth and development in careers, Gen Z may become frustrated if they perceive limited opportunities for career development and advancement in the workplace. They value continuous learning, research and education and desire clear paths for progression. They value clear expectations of how they can grow.

4. Traditional work structures

This new age of employees often have a different perspective on workplace hierarchy and may prefer a more collaborative and inclusive environment. They may challenge traditional company top structures and seek opportunities for active participation and contribution.

5. Mental health awareness of the employer

In addition to the above, mental health is a prominent concern as they navigate the pressures of modern work environments. Additionally, the younger employees may experience physical health issues due to sedentary work lifestyles and increased reliance on technology.

Some experts attribute their behavior to the Great Recession; a period when many Gen Z individuals were still in their formative years or entering the workforce. While not directly experiencing the full brunt of the recession, they were influenced by its aftermath.

It is essential to address these challenges and provide support for their mental health and physical well-being. Despite these challenges, these employees often bring a positive life outlook and fresh perspectives, contributing valuable insights to the workplace that can benefit both their own generation and any other generation.

6. Immediate gratification vs Perseverance puzzle

Raised in the age of instant gratification, Gen Z's thirst for swift results encounters the labyrinthine journey of career progression. The conundrum lies in cultivating the virtue of patience amidst a landscape that thrives on enduring dedication and incremental growth.

7. The feedback quandary and skill elevation

An insatiable appetite for real-time feedback is a hallmark of Gen Z, but when met with workplaces that offer delayed assessments, the journey to continuous skill enhancement becomes a puzzle they must solve.

8. Navigating mentorship gaps in dynamic sectors:

The rapidly evolving industries employers that mentor Gen Z often ventures into can leave them yearning for experienced mentors who can guide them through uncharted waters, impacting their growth trajectory.

9. Diversity dreams and inclusivity realities:

Gen Z champions diversity and inclusivity, and when their workplace fails to mirror these values, their engagement and motivation can suffer, calling for a reimagining of organizational culture.

10. Dancing with job insecurity in the gig economy:

The gig economy's allure of flexibility may clash with Gen Z's desire for stability and career advancement, demanding a unique set of strategies to navigate this terrain.

Understanding these challenges and adapting work practices to address them can help organizations create a more supportive and engaging environment for Gen Zers.

What motivates Gen Z in the workplace?

Motivated team of Gen Z employees ready to work!
Career growth and opportunities for more pay and fulfilling roles. 

The average gen Z employee is motivated by various factors in the workplace. Some key motivators for include:

1. Purpose and meaning

Gen Z seeks work that aligns with their values and provides a sense of purpose. They are motivated by opportunities to make a positive impact on society and contribute to causes they care about.

For example, the younger generation of employees gravitate towards companies that demonstrate their commitment to a broader set of societal and world challenges such as sustainability, climate change, and hunger.

2. Career growth and learning opportunities

Gen Z values continuous learning and seeks workplaces that offer opportunities for professional development and skill enhancement. They are motivated by clear paths in careers, mentorship programs, and chances to acquire new knowledge and skills.

3. Work-life balance

They value flexibility in work arrangements, with benefits such as remote work options or flexible hours, as well benefits such as time for personal interests, hobbies, mental health, and family.

4. Inclusion and diversity

Gen Z values workplaces that foster inclusivity, diversity, and equality. They are motivated by environments where they feel respected, valued, and included, regardless of their background or identity.

5. Recognition and feedback

Gen Z craves regular feedback and recognition for their work. They appreciate frequent check-ins with managers and constructive feedback to help them improve and grow. Organizations that do not provide adequate feedback mechanisms may struggle to engage and retain Gen Z talent.

6. Purpose-driven passions

Gen Z is fueled by purpose. Beyond a paycheck, they seek roles that resonate with their values and contribute to societal betterment. Organizations that align their mission with Gen Z's sense of purpose are poised to cultivate a motivated workforce, eager to invest their energy in meaningful endeavors.

7. Collaborative engagement

Gen Z thrives in collaborative ecosystems where their ideas are valued. Open avenues for participation and innovation invigorate their sense of belonging, igniting a motivational fire that propels them to contribute their best.

8. Embrace of technology

Gen Z's innate affinity for technology merges seamlessly with a workplace that fosters a tech-driven environment. Access to cutting-edge tools and opportunities to leverage their digital prowess cultivates a sense of relevance and fuels their motivation.

9. Entrepreneurial opportunities

Gen Z possesses an entrepreneurial spirit. Organizations that nurture innovation and intrapreneurial endeavors provide an outlet for their creative energy, kindling motivation by enabling them to shape the company's trajectory.

10. Impactful work

Gen Z craves to see the tangible outcomes of their efforts. When they can connect their tasks to broader outcomes and witness their impact, their motivation swells, propelling them to invest wholeheartedly in their roles.

How to deal with Gen Z in the workplace?

Gen Z employees casually hanging out near a thumbs up sign
Managers must consider effective strategies to bridge the gap somehow.

To effectively deal with problems with Gen Z in the workplace now, consider the following strategies:

1. Embrace technology

Gen Z is tech-savvy, so provide them with the latest tools and technologies to enhance their productivity and collaboration. Leverage digital platforms for communication, project management, and knowledge sharing.

2. Foster a flexible work environment

Gen Z values work-life balance. Offer flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options or flexible hours, to accommodate their needs and promote healthy work-life integration.

3. Provide clear growth opportunities

Gen Z seeks continuous learning and career advancement. Offer mentorship programs, training opportunities, and clear career progression paths to support their professional development and help them see a future within the organization.

4. Cultivate a diverse and inclusive culture

Create an environment that celebrates diversity and fosters inclusion. Encourage diverse perspectives and ensure everyone feels valued and respected. Implement inclusive policies and practices that address the needs of all employees.

5. Offer regular feedback and recognition

Gen Z craves feedback and appreciates recognition. Provide timely and constructive feedback to help them improve. Implement recognition programs that acknowledge their accomplishments and contributions.

6. Encourage collaboration and teamwork

Gen Z values collaboration and enjoys working in teams. Create opportunities for them to collaborate on projects, engage in cross-functional teams, and share their ideas and insights.

7. Emphasize purpose-driven work

Gen Z is motivated by meaningful work. Connect their roles to the organization's mission and purpose. Clearly communicate how their work contributes to larger goals and societal impact.

8. Encourage work-life blend

Instead of strict separation, support a work-life blend where personal and professional lives coexist harmoniously. Promote self-care, and mental and physical health issues, and well-being, and healthy work-life integration.

9. Fostering innovation

Gen Z embodies an entrepreneurial spirit. Encourage innovative thinking, allowing them to propose and implement new ideas, thereby tapping into their creative reservoir and amplifying their engagement.

10. Showcasing impact

Gen Z craves meaningful contributions. Articulate how their work directly influences the company's success, connecting the dots between their efforts and tangible outcomes to elevate their motivation.

By understanding and adapting to the needs and preferences of Gen Z workers, organizations can create a positive and engaging work environment that maximizes their potential and fosters their long-term commitment.

By understanding and adapting to the needs and preferences of Gen Z workers, organizations can create a positive and engaging work environment that maximizes their potential and fosters their long-term commitment.

How to make Gen Z workers feel at home at your workplace?

Gen Z employees, collaborating and working together
How to make Gen Z workers feel at home at your workplace?

To make these young workers feel at home in your workplace, it is important to create an environment that aligns with their values and preferences. Embrace their technological skills by providing them with cutting-edge tools and digital platforms that facilitate efficient communication and collaboration.

Foster a flexible work culture that accommodates their desire for work balance and autonomy. Cultivate a diverse and inclusive environment where all employees feel valued and respected. Provide avenues for growth and development, such as mentoring programs and training opportunities, to support their continuous learning.

Incorporate social impact initiatives that allow them to contribute to meaningful causes. Foster a collaborative and team-oriented atmosphere that encourages cross-functional collaboration.

Gen Z team members are inherently purpose-driven. To create an atmosphere that embraces them, it's paramount to spotlight the alignment of your company's mission with their core values. Showcase how their individual contributions contribute to a larger, meaningful impact, underscoring the significance of their roles within the grand narrative of the organization.

The digital realm is Gen Z's native habitat. Equip them with cutting-edge tools and technologies that streamline workflows and enhance productivity. This not only showcases your commitment to their comfort but also harnesses their technological acumen, driving their enthusiasm to new heights.

Gen Z thrives on witnessing the results of their efforts. Illustrate how their work directly contributes to the organization's success. By demonstrating the tangible outcomes of their contributions, you validate their significance and deepen their motivation to excel.

By implementing these strategies, you can create a workplace where every members of Gen Z feels comfortable, engaged, and motivated to thrive.

10 Gen Z workforce statistics that you should know

Gen Z employee tackling multiple tasks at once

The contemporary workforce is in the midst of a transformative shift, as the Generation Z (Gen Z) cohort steps into the limelight. Armed with a distinct digital fluency and a unique set of values, Gen Zers ranked empathy and are redefining the dynamics of the modern workplace.

Let's embark on a statistical expedition, to unravel ten compelling Gen Z workforce statistics that illuminate the path to understanding and engaging this burgeoning talent pool.

1. Digital natives in the spotlight:

Gen Z constitutes 27% of the global population, making them the largest segment of digital natives in history. (Source: World Economic Forum)

2. A multiscreen generation:

A staggering 98% of Gen Z individuals own a smartphone, while 72% use more than one device at a time. (Source: Pew Research Center)

3. The entrepreneurial drive:

Gen Z displays a remarkable entrepreneurial spirit, with 41% of them aiming to start their own businesses. (Source: Millennial Branding)

4. Embracing diversity and inclusion:

A remarkable 77% of Gen Z believes that a company's level of diversity influences their decision to work there. (Source: Glassdoor)

5. Digital content consumers:

Gen Z spends an average of 10 hours per day consuming digital content, emphasizing the importance of a strong online presence for businesses targeting this demographic. (Source: Kantar Millward Brown)

6. Work-life balance advocates:

81% of Gen Z considers work-life balance as a top priority when evaluating job opportunities, emphasizing the significance of flexible work arrangements. (Source: Robert Half)

7. Visual communication pioneers:

More than 70% of Gen Z prefers visual platforms like YouTube and Instagram for communication, impacting how organizations engage and market to this generation. (Source: Center for Generational Kinetics)

8. Learning enthusiasts:

Gen Z exhibits a thirst for learning, with 76% stating they prefer to learn through YouTube videos, demonstrating the value of incorporating visual learning into corporate training. (Source: Pearson)

9. Socially conscious contributors:

A striking 94% of Gen Z believes companies should address social and environmental issues, paving the way for purpose-driven organizational initiatives. (Source: McKinsey & Company)

10. Tech-savvy job seekers:

Gen Z job seekers prioritize companies that adopt cutting-edge technologies, with 39% considering the level of technology usage as a critical factor in their job search. (Source: Monster)

How to curate work-life balance practices for Gen Z employees?

Gen Z employees are on top of their work-life balance

In the ever-evolving landscape of the modern workforce, Generation Z (Gen Z) employees emerge as a vibrant force, bringing with them a unique blend of digital fluency, creativity, and a profound desire for work-life balance. Curating an environment that harmoniously intertwines their professional aspirations with personal well-being is pivotal for organizational success.

Let's embark on a strategic journey to unveil a comprehensive roadmap for crafting work-life balance practices that resonate with Gen Z employees.

Define a clear boundaries blueprint:

Establish distinct boundaries between work and personal life by setting clear expectations for working hours, breaks, and response times. Encourage Gen Z employees to switch off notifications after work hours to enable them to unwind and recharge.

Leverage technology mindfully:

Promote digital well-being by advocating regular technology detoxes. Encourage Gen Z to unplug during breaks and utilize apps designed to track screen time, ensuring a healthy balance between digital engagement and relaxation.

Prioritize health and wellness:

Integrate wellness initiatives such as yoga classes, meditation sessions, and wellness challenges into the workplace routine. Gen Z employees highly value physical and mental well-being, and these offerings foster a holistic approach to work-life balance.

Encourage regular breaks:

Emphasize the importance of taking short, rejuvenating breaks throughout the workday. Encourage Gen Z employees to step away from their screens, stretch, and engage in mindfulness exercises to boost productivity and well-being.

Implement result-oriented approach:

Focus on outcomes rather than micromanaging processes. Empower Gen Z employees to take ownership of their tasks and manage their time effectively, enabling them to achieve their goals while maintaining work-life equilibrium.

Embrace remote work policies

Capitalize on Gen Z's affinity for remote work by implementing comprehensive remote work policies. Providing the option to work from home allows them to curate their ideal work environment and strike a balance between personal and professional commitments.

Cultivate regular check-ins:

Foster open communication by scheduling regular one-on-one check-ins. Create a safe space for Gen Z employees to discuss their workload, challenges, and personal needs, ensuring their well-being remains a top priority.

Lead by example :

Cultivate a culture of work-life balance starting from the top. Demonstrate the importance of prioritizing well-being by promoting your own balance and encouraging managers to champion a healthy equilibrium between work and personal life.

Nurturing work-life balance practices for Gen Z employees requires a deliberate and strategic approach. By setting clear boundaries, embracing flexibility, and fostering a culture of well-being, organizations can create an environment where Gen Z thrives both professionally and personally.

What is the future of employee engagement with the advent of newer generations and young workers?

Group of Gen Z employees hanging near and on a hashtag
What is the future of employee engagement with the advent of newer generations?

The future of employee engagement with the advent of newer generations holds exciting possibilities! As younger generations, such as Gen Zers, step into the workforce, the landscape of employee engagement is poised for transformation. These workers prioritize purpose-driven work, seeking opportunities to make a meaningful impact. Every team meeting will be an interesting one!

Organizations will need to align their missions with social causes to engage and retain these young employees well. Additionally, integrating advanced technology will be crucial, enabling seamless communication, collaboration, and remote work flexibility.

Continuous learning and development will be highly valued by young workers, requiring companies to provide tailored training programs and growth opportunities. Inclusive cultures that celebrate diversity and foster a sense of belonging will become imperative.

Recognizing the importance of feedback, orgs will establish regular feedback channels and create a culture of appreciation. By embracing these shifts, orgs can build engaging workplaces that attract and empower the next generation of talent.


Surveys and research conducted with gen z respondents show interesting trends among the group. They are more comfortable job hopping in search of "the right fit" and looking for different things in life as compared to the older generations of workers.

The future of employee engagement with the emergence of newer generations holds immense potential for orgs willing to adapt and evolve. As the younger workers bring their fair share of unique values, expectations, and technological fluency to work, companies must embrace purpose-driven work, leverage technology, provide flexibility, foster continuous learning, cultivate inclusive cultures, and prioritize feedback and recognition.

By understanding and addressing the evolving needs of these workers, employers can create engaging environments that attract, motivate, and retain top talent.

To gain further insights and expert guidance on fostering a thriving and engaged workforce, visit CultureMonkey! Embrace the tools and resources they offer to create a workspace that resonates with the values and expectations of young people and business leaders of the next-gen, driving your organization towards a brighter and more engaged future.


What are the key characteristics of Gen Z in the workplace?

Members from this generation in the workplace are known for their digital fluency, diversity, desire for meaningful work, emphasis on work-life balance, and preference for collaboration and feedback.

How can organizations attract Gen Z talent?

To attract talent from this generation, organizations should highlight their social impact, provide opportunities for growth and development for young people, offer flexible work arrangements, showcase a diverse and inclusive culture, and leverage technology to enhance productivity and communication among employers and the younger generation of workers.

What strategies can organizations use to effectively manage and retain Gen Z employees?

To manage and retain these employees, organizations should provide full benefits, clear career paths, and job security, offer mentorship and training programs, foster a culture of continuous learning, provide regular feedback and recognition, and create an inclusive and engaging work environment for younger workers.

How does technology influence Gen Z's expectations in the workplace?

Technology greatly influences Gen Z's expectations in the workplace. They expect advanced digital tools, seamless communication platforms, and remote work flexibility. Organizations need to embrace technology and leverage it to enhance collaboration, productivity, and work-life integration.

What motivates Gen Z employees in the workplace?

Gen Z is motivated by purpose and meaning in their work, opportunities for career growth and learning, work-life balance, inclusion and diversity, technological advancement, and feedback and recognition. Understanding these motivators helps organizations create an engaging environment for Gen Z employees.

Kailash Ganesh

Kailash Ganesh

Kailash is a Product Marketer with 5+ years of experience. He loves story-telling in the simplest way possible and he is an avid reader, movie buff, and likes to travel new places to meet new people.