By Corporate English Solutions

05 February 2024 - 16:20

image of young adult smiling at camera

Gen Z is entering the workforce in growing numbers, projected to exceed 25% by 2030. Their unique formative experiences have shaped distinctive knowledge, skills, and behaviour. Despite being sometimes labelled as 'difficult,' forward-thinking organisations see these attributes as an opportunity. 

Explore our practical guide to unlock the potential of Gen Z and revitalise your organisation's learning strategies. 


Reading time: 5 minutes 

Step aside, traditional workplace norms – Gen Z is here, and they're rewriting the rules 

What is Generation Z? Born between 1997 and 2012, members of Gen Z the younger siblings of Millennials, children of Generation X, and grandchildren of Baby Boomers. Currently constituting more than one-third of the world’s population, it is predicted that Gen Z will make up more than a quarter of the global workforce by 2030. And they are the most ethnically and racially diverse generation in the history of the US according to Pew Research. 

For many of Gen Z, their formative years were a very different experience from previous generations', shaping their knowledge, skills, beliefs, behaviour and preferences. As they enter the workforce in greater numbers, many organisations are still in the process of understanding these, and Gen Z is often labelled as ‘difficult’.  

However, understanding the common experiences and qualities of Gen Z can be invaluable for planning, strategy and operations, as well as fostering a more inclusive and dynamic workplace culture, accommodating their unique perspectives and strengths.  

So what characterises many of Gen Z? While everyone is different, there are some common threads: 

Digitally native, tech savvy and connected. Unlike previous generations, many of Gen Z grew up connected: surrounded by digital technology, they effortlessly navigated smartphones, social media, and online platforms from a young age. They tend to be early adopters of new technology, quickly integrating them into their daily lives. Their fluency in digital tools and always-connected mindset often shape their communication styles, learning preferences, desire to collaborate and expectations of using technology in the workplace. 

Continuous learning minded. From an early age, many of Gen Z have had instant access to vast amounts of information, cultivating a natural inclination towards continuous learning. Gen Z's ability to quickly explore and absorb new information shapes their proactive pursuit of knowledge, making them adaptable contributors to evolving workplace environments. 

Inclusive and socially conscious. Growing up in a globally connected world, with access to information about events, causes, and societal issues, many of Gen Z place a high value on diversity and inclusion, seeking equal representation and opportunities for all. And through communicating online with a diverse range of people, they can experience diverse opinions, communication styles and cultural nuances, enhancing their ability to contribute to inclusive and collaborative work environments. 

Entrepreneurial thinkers. With many experiencing significant global events such as the Great Recession, COVID-19 pandemic and political instability during critical stages of their development, Gen Z often desires control over their destinies, driving the importance of autonomy in their personal and professional lives. Many engage in gig work, freelancing and online ventures, drawn to the variety and short-term nature of projects, fostering adaptability, innovation, and risk-taking and developing broad skill sets. 

Instead of seeing Gen Z as ‘difficult,’ consider Gen Z at work as an opportunity to enliven your organisation’s learning with Gen Z skills and knowledge. Read on to discover actionable ways to collaborate with Gen Z in the workplace and enhance your learning ecosystem so that all generations benefit.  

1. Learning in the flow of work

Tap into your Gen Z employees’ ability to learn continuously, their digital skills and inclusive and entrepreneurial mindset to revitalise your in-the-flow-of-work learning strategies.  

Here’s how: 

#1 Supporting a culture of continuous learning 

Engage those Gen Z employees with a continuous learning mindset to activate this in others in others by encouraging them to be role models and advocates for ongoing learning. Set up informal sharing events where they can talk about their experiences, recommend relevant resources, and demonstrate the practical benefits of continuous learning alongside more experienced employees.  

#2 Contributing to microlearning resources 

Invite those with creative and digital skills to collaborate in cross-departmental projects to develop bite-sized videos, infographics or quick tips for digestible, just-in-time learning. And tap into their knowledge of digital tools by asking them to create guides or tutorials on how to use tech solutions for efficient, effective learning in the flow of work. Involve those with experience of diverse environments to enhance accessibility and representation in learning resources, ensuring a more inclusive and equitable approach that resonates with a broader audience.  

#3 Driving agile adoption of digital tools 

Invite tech-savvy, entrepreneurial Gen Z employees to lead or participate in tech interest groups, share their expertise, discover new tools, facilitate learning sessions, and drive digital adoption across the organisation. Involve those with diverse perspectives in advocating for user-focused design and implementation of new technologies. Create feedback loops and actively encourage tech-savvy employees to provide insights into the usability and effectiveness of digital tools, allowing for continuous improvement and adaptation based on real-time input.  

2. Mentoring and coaching

Revitalise your mentoring and coaching programmes by garnering Gen Z’s digital literacy, entrepreneurial and inclusive mindset and ability to learn continuously. 

Here’s how:  

#1 Developing experienced employees through reverse mentoring  

Set up reverse mentoring programmes where less experienced, more junior employees share knowledge and provide guidance, support and advice to more experienced or more senior colleagues. Junior employees can bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas, inspiring more experienced colleagues to think creatively and develop new skills, fostering a culture of continuous learning and innovation. And there are benefits for Gen Z employees too: those in mentoring roles can develop leadership skills early in their careers, preparing them for future roles.  

#2 Enhancing inter-generational understanding and skills through two-way mentoring 

Implement two-way mentoring initiatives where two employees with different levels of seniority, experience or knowledge support each other to develop skills in each other’s unique areas of expertise. This collaborative relationship actively contributes to achieving goals, problem-solving and decision-making, fostering a sense of partnership and joint responsibility. And provides opportunities for Gen Z and more experienced employees to learn about each other’s preferences, behaviour and communication styles, leading to a richer understanding of diverse perspectives and approaches, enhancing understanding and cultivating a more inclusive workplace environment. 

#3 Revitalising coaching programmes with innovative methodology  

Establish cross-functional project teams to review coaching programmes and refresh them with new, engaging methods. Tap into the skills of tech-savvy Gen Z employees to create AI-driven coaching programmes, leveraging generative language models like chatbots and virtual assistants to enhance coaching experiences, providing a more individualised and adaptive approach. Invite Gen Z employees to lead or participate in social coaching programmes, such as collaborative learning communities or networks for continuous professional development.  

3. Formal learning

Update your traditional instructor-led courses and online resources by inviting tech-savvy Gen Z employees to support innovative design and content creation.  

#1 Refining gamification elements   

Harness the skills of Gen Z employees who enjoy gaming and simulations. Invite them to test gamified learning content, providing feedback on the user experience, game mechanics, and overall effectiveness, helping refine and improve the gamification elements. Encourage tech-savvy employees to ideate or design visually appealing and engaging game elements and suggest features that encourage friendly competition for increased interactivity in formal learning.  

#2 Establishing digital inclusivity modules    

Designed to make digital learning materials more accessible and user-friendly, digital inclusivity modules address navigation, comprehension, and engagement in digital learning environments, ensuring that the content is inclusive and accommodating to all learners. Leverage Gen Z digital natives’ skills to ensure the design and implementation of these modules meets the needs of a diverse audience. 

#3 Enriching DEI training  

Enhance inter-generational understanding and working by setting up multi-generational project teams to incorporate content on generational preferences, behaviour and beliefs into DEI training. Areas such as communication styles, work preferences, and approaches to problem-solving can raise awareness of diversity, challenge biases and foster a more inclusive workplace culture. Be careful to avoid over-generalisation and to remind participants that they should hold their assumptions lightly to avoid stereotyping people of different generations.  


As Gen Z makes its mark in the workplace, it's crucial for L&D teams to view their entry not as a challenge but as an opportunity. Embracing Gen Z’s unique perspectives and skills can be a catalyst for innovation and evolution within your learning and development initiatives.  

However, it's vital to approach this with nuance, avoiding assumptions. While generalisations provide a useful starting point, taking the time to understand each individual ensures more accurate and meaningful engagement. By recognising the strengths and capabilities of each employee, regardless of their generational label, you create a collaborative culture and lay the groundwork for success.  

Partner with the British Council which has over 80 years’ experience supporting organisations in over 200 countries to upskill their workforces for success. Utilise our in-depth understanding of organisational learning and development to meet your training needs.  

Download our Professional Skills brochure or book in for a free consultation