REWARD x Gen-Z: Insights on what Gen-Z wants on the work floor

And they want it now. Gen-Z. But is that all there is to it? Let’s find out!

With 150 people in the audience, a keynote presentation, multiple panels, and break-out sessions, our REWARD event was a success. Some important insights were shared that day. So whether you were there and would like to get a refresher or weren’t in the audience but would love to get some valuable insights, we have three blogs lined up for you. This is the second one in the series.

The title of the second panel of the day, Get ready for Gen-Z!, should tell you enough about what it was all about: Gen-Z. They are called outspoken, dare to speak out, and want to make an impact. And they want it now. Gen-Z. But is that all there is to it? Let’s find out! On the panel were Ibo Metz (Van Lanschot Kempen), Sjoukje de Vries (Innovation Boosters), and Emma Agricola (Gen-Z Specialist).

Of course, the label of a generation doesn’t apply to everyone. But there certainly are some characteristics that seem to pop up among Gen-Z’ers in general. In this blog post, we will discuss Gen-Z and their value for the rest of your company. We will take a look at Gen-Z from two angles: their characteristics and recommendations for working with Gen-Z.

Characteristics (that can be turned into advantages)

Whether it’s true for a whole generation or just a generalisation, the panel discussed some characteristics that may seem annoying at first, but can actually be turned into advantages that Gen-Z has. Let’s look at some of them.

  • Gen-Z questions why. Why things are the way they are. That applies to ‘the world’ in general, but can also apply to your company. They may ask why a managing position is given to someone based on their level of seniority, not on output. They would like to act out their influence in the world, as fast as they can. Consequently, that may just be the reason that a Gen-Zer might already try to land a managing position. It may seem way too early for you, but it’s part of their process of finding their way in the world.
  • They’re craving security and looking for safety and they might think that a manager role is the way to do that. They want to be heard and have a good salary. That is the kind of security that they are looking for, according to Emma Agricola.
  • Gen-Z has had a different upbringing to yours. That even holds true if you’re a millennial. They’ve been brought up in a much more digital world and they can quickly double-check everything (and they will). But they also need to be helped, as they’re still young people who need to grow, is Ibo Metz’s insight.
  • According to Sjoukje de Vries, it’s also good that Gen-Z challenges the status quo. Don’t wave off the ‘why’s’ from Gen-Z: it can actually help to shake up old ideas and ask the question yourself: ‘so why do we do this?’

Recommendations for working with Gen-Z

Gen-Z does not necessarily seem to be an easy generation to work with. A show of hands was done about who struggles with Gen-Z. Most went up. Still, as we discussed above, Gen-Z has many pros: they’re ambitious, tech-savvy, and may just ask the questions your business needs to hear. So, if you’ve made the decision to hire Gen-Z, here are some tips on how to work with Gen-Z for

  • Mentor Gen-Z. Especially when generations can be combined. Try a set-up with reverse mentoring, so the older generation can in turn learn something from Gen-Z.
  • Flexibility is the answer: things need to be flexible. Such as flex budget for holidays, flex mobility (Mobility can be chosen on their preferred matter), and hybrid working, but also flexibility on development. People will know what to learn.
  • The balance between flexibility and community is essential. Working from home or in a hybrid setting is popular among the younger generations. At the same time, it’s important to create a community and a sense of belonging, because people learn from collaboration and working together.
  • Don’t underestimate the effect that this generation had to finish their studies much quicker than ever before and also partly from home. If there had been more time – and time is limited when you need to take on a student loan – there would have been more possibilities for internships, for example. That would have given them more time to learn, which they now have to do during their first job.
  • Invest in learning & development. When someone enters a company, there should be a career conversation about what people want to do and where they want to go. So people can work towards their goals.
  • Communication is key. Set people together so benefits can be discussed as a group. You need to have a conversation about it.
  • Gen-Z wants transparency, so they know what company aligns with their own ideas.



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