Generation Z Characteristics and Work Ethics in the Workplace

Generation Z characteristics in the workplace

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Just when the businesses are getting familiar with the millennial generation, a new generation – Gen Z is all set to enter the workforce ! The tech-savvy Gen Z brings with them their own requirements and goals. This generation grew up with phones in their hands and witnessed the impact of the 2008 recession on their families. Hence, it’s essential to understand Generation Z characteristics and traits to create a work culture where no one is left behind.

Who is Generation Z

Generation Z, also called zoomers, is the demographic cohort born between 1995 – 2010. The generation precedes Generation Alpha and is the successor to Generation Y.

Generation Z largely consists of children of generation X. This is the very first generation that grew up with access to the internet and mobile phone accessibility.
Hence, they are commonly termed true digital natives.

Generation Z witnessed the 2008’s great recession that hit the world. Thus, they have seen the downfall of the economy.
As a matter of fact, they have seen their parents lose jobs, families lose houses, besides seeing the grandparents rejoin the workforce to keep the family afloat.

Growing up amidst the economic ruin, generation Z characteristics are thus quite distinctive.

Read on to know more about Gen Z work ethic and the generation Z characteristics.

What are Generation Z Characteristics

Generation Z stands out from their predecessors as their goals and expectations are different. Moreover, generation Z characteristics are different from Generation Y, and they are all ready to take the workforce by storm.

Here are a few of Generation Z characteristics in the workplace:

Generation Zs communication in the workplace

Generation Z grew up with phones in hand and is used to texting and messaging. While they believe in technology, studies have found that Gen Zers also prefer face to face communication. They find more assurance in face to face communication compared to previous generations. They also prefer to-the-point communication and in-person interactions with their managers.The in-person interactions can be through Skype, Zoom, Facetime or any other application.

Generation z’s personality- how it plays out in the workplace

These young people entering the workforce are incredibly competitive. Growing up in a competitive environment, they have absorbed the trait into themselves. Hence, they seek out feedback. To keep this generation motivated, encouraging healthy competition among employees can be productive. Recognize their hard work and encourage a culture of continuous feedback with them.

Generation Z in the workplace prefers security and stability

It is important to understand gen Z work ethic and values, to keep them engaged. Gen Zers are more risk-averse than the previous generations. This generation has not forgotten the trauma of growing up under uncertainty. Student loan debt is a major issue with Gen Zers. Hence, they value job security and financial stability. They further like to associate themselves with an organization for an extended period of time. Thus, by giving them growth opportunities and investing in their skill development, they are likely to build trust in your organization. Generation Z’s main characteristic is their desire for stability.

Motivate Generation Z in the workplace – Make them an individual contributor

Gen z is the entrepreneurial generation that likes to work independently. Working in teams is not an issue for Gen Z employees, but they prefer to work as individual contributors. Working individually ensures that they can showcase their work and abilities. Furthermore, they are appreciation driven and like to get credit for their work. Therefore, it’s easy to keep Gen Zers motivated – appreciating and acknowledging their efforts is the way to go.

Gen Z work ethic and expectations are unique

The term digital nomads stem from Gen Zers’ need for remote working and flexibility at work. Infact, these 2 needs top in the list of Gen Zers’ expectations. Besides these, transparency in the work culture is very important for them. They look for opportunities to learn and grow and be productive in the workplace. Furthermore, Gen Zer’s desire for the latest tools and technologies to optimize their overall performance at work.

Generation Z is the mobile-first generation

As compared to gen z vs millennials work ethic, we all know that  generation Z grew up in the age of mobile phones. They are used to mobile phones and tablets more than computers. They are the tech savvy generation. Looking for a job or researching employers, or using an application at work, this generation is a mobile driven workforce. Mobile engagement strategies should be used for this reason, to improve Gen Z’s retention and productivity. Businesses must employ updated technologies and digital tools to engage generation Z in the workplace.

Gen Z cares about climate change

Gen Z cares about the environment and climate change. For Gen Z, Career development under big organization banners is not the only deciding factor when it comes to job selection. They are not materialistic. Gen Zers would prefer to stay with your organization if you have a green footprint and are working towards the prevention of climate change. They are extremely aware of their surroundings. Gen Zers are inclusive and progressive in nature.
Similarly, they strongly believe in Corporate Social Responsibility and Diversity and Inclusion initiatives. Being considerate of the environment is one of the top Generation Z’s characteristics.


How are Generation Z’s Work Values different from Millennials?

The millennials and Z grew up in a different environment. The different upbringing has imbued each generation with different priorities. It’s critical to understand the new dynamics as millennials take on managerial roles in organizations and Gen Z enters the workforce.

On one end, where Millenials are purpose driven and want a defining factor and reason for the job, Gen Zers are money and job security-driven.
Millennials are most comfortable in a team and enjoy the collaboration. Even though Gen Z is comfortable with teams but likes to shine individually. They prefer to work as individual contributors and like healthy competition.
Millennials saw their career as the driving factor of their life and focused most of their time and energy on work.

Gen Zers like to maintain a healthy balance between their work and personal life. They value mental health and peace of mind. Gen Z employees avoid stressful situations and desire to work in organizations that offer health benefits to their employees.

Besides, another important Generation Z characteristic is that they value authenticity. Being a big name in the industry and displaying big turnovers and sales is not a priority for gen Z employees. They do not like exaggeration. It can be seen that authenticity and transparency are crucial to them at the workplace.
Hence, honest communication will help you attract and retain the best Gen Z candidates. Generation Z characteristics make them truly reliable employees.

Generation Z Characteristics and Work Ethics Put to the Test

People often disregard Gen Zers as lazy and laid back due to their desire to achieve a good work-life balance, attributing this to Gen Z work ethic problems. However, this is a misconception. Gen Z employees focus on their careers and are extremely hard working.
A global survey identified that Gen Zers strongly believe that they are the hardest working generation, followed by millennials.

36% of Gen Z employees say that they have had the hardest time entering the workforce as the world has become a global village and the pandemic has cut down jobs. With rising unemployment and unrest around the globe, Gen Zers are worried about what the job market has to offer.

There are three things that upset Generation Z workers:

  • Being asked to work when they don’t want to
  • Denied the use of annual leaves on their perusal
  • Being asked to work on back to back shifts

On the whole, Gen Z is motivated and optimistic at the workplace. They firmly believe that their future as a working professional is promising. However, they suffer from anxiety and low self-esteem. Despite having the highest school and college enrollment of any generation, they believe they are unprepared to enter the workforce. Gen Zers find their education to be insufficient. You are more likely to keep a Gen Z employee happy and motivated if you offer an on-site training program.


Gen Z is all set to enter the workforce. The motivation and driving force of this new generation is different from their predecessors. Gen Z’s characteristics and beliefs are unique. They stick around in companies when offered financial security and stability clubbed with flexible working hours.

Gen Zers are very comfortable with technology and prefer their smartphones to every other device. So, businesses must deploy tools that work on mobile phones. The new generation is also very competitive and shines bright as individual contributors. They see themselves as extremely hardworking and enjoy a well balanced work and personal life. Gen Z employees value mental health and work precariously to ensure peace of mind.

Most human resources departments have adjusted themselves to the needs of millennials. Gen Zers may be different from millennials, but they share some common traits too. In order to attract and retain Gen Z talent, companies must be receptive towards their needs and be more forward thinking in their approach. If Gen Z can identify with your company’s values, you’ll have a dedicated and talented team on your hands to help you succeed.
Hence, keep Generation Z characteristics and work ethics in mind and create a happy workforce.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Generation Z age range?

Ans.Generation Z is the cohort born between 1995 to 2010. These are the students who are ready to enter the job market. This diverse generation is the first generation that grew up in the digital age and is dubbed as “true digital natives.” The age range of the generation is 11-25 years.


What does the z in generation z stand for?

Ans.It is often believed that “Z” in Generation Z stands for some defining factor of the generation; the belief is false. The “Z” in generation Z does not stand for anything specific. However, with the pandemic in tow, it’s often joked that the Z in Gen Z stands for Zoom calls and video conferences!


Is being materialistic one of generation z characteristics?

Ans.A study by Forbes has identified that Gen Z and the following generation is less materialistic and give more weightage to mental health.


How to motivate generation z in the workplace?

Ans.Gen Z’s characteristics are different from millennials and other predecessors. They are motivated by:


  • Flexible work hours
  • Financial stability
  • Independence to work
  • Supportive manager
  • Inclusivity
  • Green Initiatives
  • Work-life balance
  • Authenticity


Are Gen Z hard workers?

Ans.A global survey has found that Gen Z is a self-proclaimed hard working generation, with 32% of respondents saying that they are the hardest working in their lineage. Though they believe that they have had the hardest time entering the workforce as the world has become a global village. Others say that the pandemic and loss of jobs has made it even more difficult to enter the workforce and procure a job, let alone make their mark in the industry

TAGS: Employee Engagement, Gen Z, HR, HR Technology, Human Resources, millennials

3 thoughts on “Generation Z Characteristics and Work Ethics in the Workplace”

  1. Really valuable information for me.. Now I got some interesting and useful facts about Generation Z Characteristics and Work Ethics in the Workplace and what are generation z characteristics we expanded our services to provide full-fledged digital marketing solutions serving clients across the globe. Our team of professionals with the innovative thought process and creative ideologies grew with all expertise in e-commerce solutions, digital marketing, mobile app development, domain registration, Facebook marketing, SEO, SEM, SMM and web hosting services.

  2. To note they define themselves, not quantified by hours worked, productivity, or nature of the labor. A greatest generation vet that worked the fields in the great depression, went to war, then college might disagree. Or the kids working in a pre child labor sweatshop 120 hours a week loosing fingers and hands… But compared to Millennials I’ve seen good things, and again this is largely a class thing. A farmer, miner, or factory worker now probably is slightly safer, doesn’t have as much physical labor, but may have to work harder to get a fraction more productivity. Anyone doing those jobs is likely a hard worker, whenever they were born.

  3. Well written post. I liked the information provided about characteristics of Gen Z in the workplace. Looking forward to read more articles on this website.


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