How to manage Generation Z

In this blog, I will provide my experiences in managing Generation Z team members.

Srihari Udugani
5 min readNov 17, 2023
Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Generation Z are those who have born in early 21st century. This generation are influenced more by the digital technology, internet and social media.

The Gen-Z team members are a good value addition to the team as they can get you some fresh thoughts. On the other hand, managing them is a pain for few managers.

The reason for this is, Gen-Z are not aligned to the usual corporate way of doing things. They are easily influenced by what happens in social media or get pressurised due to peers.

In majority of cases, Gen-Z need not be managed. They are not motivated with opportunities in work. They might be motivated with other things which are influenced by other factors.

In this blog, I will share my views and suggestions while managing Gen-Z team members.

Reality check

Generation Z do not think in the same way the previous generations think. The cause for this is huge influence of social media.

First, it is important to understand Gen-Z mindset; only then you can curate your management skills for them.

  • They have lot of peer pressure.
  • Money takes priority in early days.
  • They will have equal share of laziness and hard working.
  • They have tendency to jump to another organisation often.
  • Some can do things faster than experienced team members.
  • Technology may not be a motivation for few.
  • Growth and Career are not so important in their early days.
  • They expect an environment with lot of perks.
  • Opportunities of working on complex problem may not be that attractive to few, as it increases pressure.
  • For some, pressure in work is okay but not okay for majority of them.
  • Some except high salary hikes every year.

Due to instant gratification needs, many things does not matter for Gen-Z.

As a manager you can argue, this kind of thought process is not right. May be. But unfortunately the mindset of Gen-Z is not going to change soon.

So what is better way to manage them?

Manage a Gen-Z

In my opinion, it is easy to manage a Gen-Z.

Since Gen-Z really don’t look up to anything in the organisation other than the perks, learnable skills, and money, you don’t really need to manage them. Utilise HR team to co-manage them.

Below are few tips that you can use.

Tip#1: Recognise their smallest of smallest wins in a public forum
Gen-Z want to brag about things they achieve. So, recognising their small milestones in a public forum will go a long way. The recognition need not have any monetary benefits.

Tip#2: Create a smart bench
Gen-Z can quit anytime. Even though they are doing good in an organisation, they will decide to search for other options due to some reasons which will not make sense to you. So always have a smart bench for situation.

Tip#3: Don’t give them a running target
Gen-Z are more influenced by playing games. They treat entire work also as a game. So, there has to be a target for them. Without it, they will not enjoy the work. Hence, as a manager, always try to assign which has definitive outcome or target to achieve.

Tip#4: Don’t move them from one project to another frequently
Gen-Z team members like to work in single project as long as it takes. Unless there is no work or there is waiting period, do not move them to different projects. This is because they cannot adjust and adopt to change easily.

Tip#5: Involve them in cultural activities as much as possible
Gen-Z team members are more “good time” seekers. So keep them engaged with cultural programmes, soft skill programmes where they can have good time with fellow employees.

Tip#6: Avoid talking about technical opportunities as it may not resonate
Check whether the Gen-Z is interested in technical opportunities that are available. If not don’t bother. Most of such team members are not looking for developing their skills nor building career. Most of them focus on the feel good factor that will come by completing the assigned task.

Tip#7: Be upfront with performance issues
If any Gen-Z team member is having performance issues, talk to them as early as possible. Help them as much as possible. If they feel they cannot change things, then they will move out. So, highlight attrition risk for that person and immediately plan for a backfill.

Tip#8: Tag them with Senior buddy in the team for guidance
Gen-Z team members don’t need a manager. They need a guide and a friend. So tagging them with senior buddy in the team is more than sufficient.

Tip#9: Do a pulse check frequently
In 1on1s check how are they feeling - whether they are bored or whether they are feeling pressurised or whether they are not attached to the team or whether they have concerns about the work that is assigned.
By doing so, as a manager you can understand whether that team member is going to quit in near future. You can try to engage in other kind of tasks and see if it changes. If not better to prepare for backfill.

Final Thoughts

As a manager it is important to curate your management skill to Gen-Z.

It is important to understand and remember that many Gen-Z no need to be managed. They just need a buddy for guidance.

Gen-Z are influenced by playing games and social media, so keeping the work in the form of a game will help them to connect better and you can get work done from them easily.

Gen-Z like to have “good times”. So engaging them with cultural activities, soft skill sessions and other engaging activities will help. Hence collaborate with HR team for arranging such activities regularly.

Since Gen-Z tend to switch between companies often, creating a smart bench will help you to reduce any impact due to lack of resources.

Even though it sounds Gen-Z don’t care about their career development and growth, there are many who do care about it. So, identify such members and help them to grow.

By learning to curate your management skills for not really managing a Gen-Z team member rather utilising their presence for better result will be the best way forward.

Happy management!

Further reading

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Srihari Udugani

Helping new managers to become successful to grow in their careers. Happy Management.