Gen Z wants too much too soon?

Balancing Gen Z’s ambition with the need for patience and growth in the workplace poses challenges. Influenced by social media, their eagerness to grow sometimes clashes with the reality of professional development. How do you convey the importance of learning in their current roles and motivate them to stay? 

Nine months ago, seven dynamic talents joined your team, envisioned as your future leaders. Yet, concerns have arisen as five seek raises or added responsibilities.

“They expect to be in charge of the most complex projects without proving themselves first on the easier ones.”

 You’re in a dilemma. How do you convey to Gen Z that there’s still much to learn in their current roles? How do you motivate them to stay and grow within your organization instead of seeking opportunities elsewhere, thinking they’ve mastered their current roles? 

Is Gen Z aiming too high too soon?

First things first, Gen Z is still in their youth. This means they still have a bit of that naivety, big dreams, and not a whole lot of patience. We’ve all been there, right? 


However, what sets Gen Z apart from  previous  generations is the picture they’ve painted for themselves through social media.  

  • Salary: TikTok video’s such as ‘Get Rich Before 30’ make it seem as if earning money is as simple as ABC.   
  • Do what you love: Social media gives an idealised image of work. Working remotely from the beach, or from playground-like offices in silicon valley. By having exposure to people doing only what they love and not to the burdensome tasks that go along with it, there is a wrong perception about work.  
  • Quick Fix mentality: TikTok is full of video’s that help you fix everything in a jiffy. This mainly creates a focus on the results rather than on the process of skill mastery. 
  • Content on social media is short and snappy. Not convinced? Just swipe or scroll to the next video. This makes Gen Z easily bored and on the look for the next exciting thing. 
  • Experts’ in everything: Many people on social media proclaim that they’re an expert or a strategic partner after only 1 or 2 years of experience.  

Frustration as indicator for growth

As Gen Z steps into the job market, finding a balance between the expectations from social media and the current rules in the business world can be perplexing.

Realising that work requires patience and task they don’t like, can lead to feelings of depletion and questioning of their choices. 

Therefore, when a young talent starts acting ‘difficult’ or feels frustrated it often is a sign. They either don’t have enough responsibility or aren’t being held accountable for their work. If this is the case, they have time to complain and act difficult. If possible, the best counter is finding ways to give them more responsibility. 

Don’t have any project with bigger responsibilities?

6 things you can do to keep Gen Z motivated

When working with young talents, the challenge lies in guiding them through the realities of work while maintaining their motivation. Your investment and their willpower are crucial. Properly nurturing these eager talents, you cultivate the future managers of your organization. 


Introduce AI in the team

Use this opportunity to introduce AI in your team. Ask Gen Z to test AI tools that can improve your current ways of doing business. For example: optimize doing analysis, meeting management, text redactions, process reviews, etc. 


Let them shadow senior colleagues

Allow them to shadow experienced colleagues for exposure to bigger responsibilities. Make it a win-win by having them making notes, providing feedback, and thinking along. 


Make them accountable for engagement & culture activities

Gen Z’s appearance is one way they express themselves. Alternatively, they want to engage informal activities at work. Let them take the initiative to make the community flourish. 


Make them responsible for own development

Empower them to take charge of their own growth. Ask talents to identify areas for improvement in both hard and people skills. Support and closely monitor this process. 


Give continuous & constructive feedback

Don’t just praise; make them aware of what they still need to learn and involve them in the complexities of tasks. Give feedback after every deliverable. Don’t know how? Watch this 1 minute video on how to give effective feedback. 


Give them perspective

How and when do you see these talents evolve? If it’s in the same role for the coming 3 years, discuss where the personal growth opportunities lay. Involve HR if needed and introduce them to how shaping career paths is done within your organisation. 

If a young talent asks for a raise and you can’t provide it yet, this article offers 5 alternative ways of compensation. 

Your collaboration with Gen Z is a shared adventure in the workplace. Embrace their energy, guide them through the nuances of your industry, and watch how their unique perspectives contribute to your team’s growth. This isn’t just about managing Gen Z; it’s about nurturing the future leaders of your company.  

(re)watch the free recording

If you’re a Gen Z talent, you likely have your own frustrations with previous generations. We feel you!


Read here how to deal with more senior colleagues that are stuck in stereotypical thinking.