Discovering generation Z: How to train and lead the latest generation


Generation Z – those born between 1994 and 2010 – have entered the labor market with force. Bringing a digital vision and new technological skills to the table, this group poses a bold challenge to companies, who must quickly adapt to the needs of a new breed of employee.

This new generation comes with its own set of distinct characteristics – self-taught, digitally native, and well-accustomed to the speed and immediacy of the internet. No strangers to personalized streaming platforms and dynamic forms of social and professional communication, generation Z already represents 20% of the global workforce, and is set to wield even greater influence than its predecessor, the millennials.

Faced with this scenario, companies now face the task of adapting their communication methods to match the style of the newest generation. So, the question is, how can they best connect with and empower generation Z?

What is generation Z?

Also known as post-Millennials, centennials, iGen or Zillennials, this demographic group embraces those born between the mid-90s and early 2000s. Although their birth range is often thought to fall between the periods of 1994-1997 and 2010-2012, there is no ‘official’ consensus on these timeframes. What is certain is that they are the first generation to be born in the new millennium, and that they are distinguished by their close relationship with technology.

This last trait in particular has greatly shaped the way they think about, interact with, and perceive the world. Gen Z is typically characterized by being innovative, adaptable, committed, connected, diverse, and by its desire to rely on technology to make the world a better place.

Unique traits and characteristics that define generation Z

Many of the defining characteristics of this generation stem from the sweeping social changes that have taken place during their era, as well as from their youthful nature in general (most are between 12 and 28 years old). Some of their most distinctive traits include the following:

  • They are the first generation of digital natives

While their predecessors, generation Y and the millennials, have passed through the experience of widespread digital transformation, generation Z never knew the world before the advent of the internet and modern communication methods. This generation has grown up immersed in digital technology from an early age, giving them a natural mastery of digital platforms and social networks.

In fact, most of these young adults entered the working world in the wake of covid-related restrictions, putting them squarely in either remote or hybrid professional scenarios. Because of this, it can be more difficult for them to adapt to work environments that have not yet undergone a process of digitization.

  • They can multitask – with multiple devices

Generation Z’s flexibility and adaptability, in combination with its digital skills, make it ideally suited to today’s agile, constantly changing work environments. They are easily capable of performing a number of different tasks simultaneously from various platforms or devices. For example, they might start a task on the office computer, finish it up on a laptop, and review it later on their smartphone or tablet, all while watching a video on YouTube and responding to chats on WhatsApp.

  • They believe in workplace wellbeing and distance working

According to the latest data published by the job search platform Job Today, this generation values a better balance between work and personal life. They tend to seek jobs that allow them to reconcile work with other areas of their life. Additionally, thanks to the proliferation of platforms such as Facetime, Skype or Hangout, generation Z prefers face-to-face, ‘equal’ communication over more traditional, hierarchical forms of communication.

  • The have a greater entrepreneurial spirit

They are amongst the greatest exponents of the ‘do it yourself’ culture. Many members of generation Z have an entrepreneurial mindset and are interested in creating their own projects and businesses. For this reason, they tend to appreciate creative work environments that encourage innovation, and value constructive feedback from their superiors.

  • They bring increased awareness on diversity, inclusion and the environment

According to a recent Pew Research survey, Generation Z stands for its high levels of commitment to action on climate change and the environment. In fact, almost seven in ten members of this generation are likely to express anxiety about the future, and most of them feel angry that not enough is being done to bring about change.

Likewise, they are keenly aware of the importance of diversity and inclusion, and expect their employers to foster an inclusive work environment where everyone feels valued and respected.

Key differences between generation Z and millennials

Generation Z and millennials are demographic groups that, while both important, have been shaped by different social, technological and economic influences. Millennials, also known as generation Y, are young people born between the beginning of the eighties through to about 1993. Although both groups share some similarities due to their generational proximity, there are a number of distinctive differences between them:

Digital revolution: Technology and connectivity

Millennials grew up through the first appearance of the internet and the development of mobile devices. During this time, their understanding and ability to apply new forms of communication accelerated along with the rapid growth of new technologies throughout society. However, they are not digital natives like generation Z, who were born into a world where smartphones were already omnipresent and social networks were exploding in popularity.

Job prospects: Attitudes to work

Similarly, both groups’ entry into the labor market has been shaped by their different social and economic contexts. For generation Z, some of the most important aspects when seeking jobs include: flexibility and balance between their personal and work life; opportunities for growth and development; and the strength of companies’ sustainability and social responsibility policies.

For generation Y, on the other hand, priorities tend to be slightly different: job security and stability; and a business culture that promotes values such as teamwork and collaboration.

Content in the digital age: Content consumption and the media

Millennials were witnesses to the transition from traditional media to digital platforms, but still belonged to the pre-streaming and pre-social media era in their youth. Generation Z, on the other hand, has grown up in an already digitalized world, where content consumption typically takes place through online platforms and social networks, and where user-generated content plays a more important role.

The evolution of workspaces: Generational adaptation

Further differences can be found in the way that both generations view their work environments. While Generation Z prefers to work in flexible, technologically advanced spaces, and often supports either hybrid or 100% remote work, Generation Y tends to prefer workspaces that facilitate collaboration and wellbeing, and that feature designated areas for rest and socializing. This latter activity has of course changed somewhat due to restrictions brought on by the pandemic.

Voices in motion: Activism and social commitment

While both groups demonstrate a high level of engagement with social and political issues, Generation Z tends to be more vocal on issues such as gender equality, racial justice, and climate change. In fact, this generation has harnessed social networks as a key instrument for activism, as well as for the defense of social causes.

Learning redefined: Attitudes to education and professional learning

Millennials value education as a key step towards career success. They can often be characterized by their desire to set long-term goals and objectives, and to achieve this they seek professional roles that allow them to make a significant impact in their field. Generation Z also places value on education, but unlike millennials, they are more inclined towards experiential learning opportunities – valuing online courses and flexible learning programs adapted to market needs over traditional learning channels.

Management and training: Leadership in the era of generation Z

The arrival of Generation Z onto the scene has driven great change within the dynamics of the modern work environment, posing both challenges and opportunities for leaders and HR professionals. This new generation, brought up in a digital, socially aware context, seeks leadership that responds to its unique needs and expectations. Moreover, its attitude to continuous learning and development demands that companies reconsider their traditional corporate training strategies.

Guidelines for effective leadership with generation Z


This demographic requires an adaptive approach, as well as a deep understanding of their values, preferences and motivations. Here are some key guidelines for leading this generation effectively in the workplace:

  • Be clear and transparent in communication

Generation Z values authenticity and transparency in communication. Leaders must communicate clearly and directly, providing relevant – and honest – information about expectations and objectives.

  • Offer flexibility and autonomy

Giving members of this generation some degree of autonomy and flexibility in their work can increase their engagement and motivation. Additionally, allowing them to make meaningful decisions and contribute ideas can also foster a sense of ownership and responsibility.

  • Provide instant feedback and recognition

This generation is used to instant gratification and regular feedback. Leaders should therefore offer it in a timely and frequent manner, recognizing achievements and providing constructive guidance for professional growth.

  • Give professional development opportunities

Offering mentoring and professional development opportunities is key to engaging and retaining the attention of Generation Z. They not only value opportunities for learning and growth, but also appreciate support from leaders and peers alike in their professional development.

  • Use technology and digital tools

Finally, properly leveraging technology and digital tools when communicating and collaborating can help leaders connect more effectively with this generation’s employees. For example, use digital platforms for remote collaboration and project management to facilitate better teamwork.

Adapting training to meet the needs of Generation Z

Generation Z has specific expectations regarding training and professional development and, as the first generation to grow up in a digitalized world, has a quite different experience of education from those of previous generations. Here are some of the ways you can adapt training to meet their needs:

  • Training? Yes, but keep it flexible and independent

Training and development opportunities are one of the main factors for gen Z when it comes to choosing a workplace. However, in order to accommodate them, employers must integrate new tools and training processes to promote self-directed and independent learning.

Keeping generation Z’s preferences in mind, company leaders should ensure not only that training is continually updated with new and interesting content, but also that it is delivered in a form that suits a modern lifestyle. Additionally, relevant content should always be available according to the specific needs and interests of individual students.

  • Learning when, where and how you want

If there’s just one thing this new generation of employees attaches importance to, it’s technology. Gen Z has grown up with the internet, surrounded by smartphones, touch screens and smart devices at every turn. Since its members are so accustomed to a digital environment – and the uninterrupted access to information that comes with it – the time it takes to complete a traditional training course can become a barrier for them. What do they value? The ability to carry out their training at any time and place.

E-learning has responded well to this ‘here and now’ trend, giving rise to a new generation of LMS platforms that offer a 100% responsive learning experience. These allow users to access all training, resources, and content from any device – whether smartphone, tablet or PC.

  • The generation of informal and social learning

Increased use of technology and the Internet has resulted in a more innovative and socially motivated generation of workers, who have a desire to share ideas, experiences and knowledge. Gen Z stands out as those who use social networks the most, with 6.5 social networks per person on average. According to another study, more than 60% of users from this generation enjoy sharing their knowledge with others, and consuming content to learn new things.

It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that users of this generation have left behind formal learning – more individualized, regulated, linear and theoretical – in favor of social learning. This is a more Informal style of learning that encourages the practical application of content and shared learning through user collaboration, but also promotes independence and the search for knowledge.

The 6 essential skills needed to lead generation Z

To respond effectively to the needs of generation Z, managers of both large and small companies must develop a set of essential skills to lead them properly. Here are the 5 basic skills to develop:

1. Diversity management

Naturally, generation Z coexists alongside other generations of professionals such as millennials or non-digital natives. For this reason, leaders must learn to take charge of a diverse field of employees, taking into account generational, cultural, geographical, and gender differences.

2. Commitment and delegation

As we’ve seen, members of Generation Z are characterized by a high degree of autonomy. For this reason, it’s essential to offer them possibilities for job growth and promotion if you want to keep them motivated and loyal to your company. So, in order to successfully manage generation Z, you must be able to delegate tasks and processes effectively, creating opportunities for employees to assume new responsibilities and feel valued.

3. Mentoring

Generational differences can lead to a gap in understanding between your professionals. Through mentoring, you not only have a chance to close this gap by promoting good team membership and closer collaboration, but also to facilitate development of team skills such as leadership, assertiveness and achievement orientation.

4. Teambuilding

Autonomy in an employee is a positive when it comes to taking responsibility for tasks and solving problems independently. However, it can make members of generation Z fairly individualistic workers. For this reason, you should try to encourage cooperation among your team members to keep them moving towards a common goal.

5. Inclusive leadership

An inclusive leader is one who can integrate all their employees into a solid and collaborative team. Doing this requires you to understand all the members of your team as individuals – their strengths, weaknesses and contribute to the ability to contribute to the group. This knowledge will allow you to give each one a place in the team, and get the most out of their skills.

6. Motivation

Whichever generation a team’s members belong to, it’s essential to keep them motivated. In order to do this effectively, you must identify the needs of each member, and cultivate a positive attitude towards their progress, ensuring that you not only recognize their mistakes, but also value their successes.

Strategies and Tips for Effective Interaction with generation Z

To overcome the generational barrier posed by the integration of Generation Z into your team of professionals, it’s important that you consider how best to connect with them. This generation tends to work better with agile, brief pieces of content that can quickly adapt to new consumption patterns.

One way of achieving this is through new methodologies such as microlearning – a way of transferring skills and knowledge through small, consistent doses of high-impact training. This approach helps to promote better learning and ensure that key concepts are retained by students.

You should also be ready to banish the traditional concept of a corporate platform. The fact is that the latest professional profiles demand a digital workspace accessible from any device. Establishing this will allow you to explore new possibilities such as gamification, giving students a chance to interact with training in an environment they know well: their own smartphone. Moreover, the playful, social and collaborative nature of gamification is sure to fit in perfectly with the DNA of your new employees. So, are you looking for a solution that combines all of these features?

isEazy Skills is the most complete catalog of courses available on the market – ideal for training your professionals in both soft skills and digital skills, through agile, interactive, accessible content perfectly adapted to the content consumption patterns of the newest generations. Are you ready to face the challenge of leading a dynamic generation Z team? Motivate them with our more than 540 courses available in 6 languages, featuring a 100% practical methodology designed for the effective transfer of skills to the work environment. Our catalog effortlessly meets the needs of all profiles and companies.

Elizabeth Aguiar Chacón


Elizabeth Aguiar Chacón

Content Marketing Specialist at isEazy

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