Growth Strategies

5 Inspiring Forms of Recognition for Gen Z Employees

5 Inspiring Forms of Recognition for Gen Z Employees

While it is important to take care of all employees in general, it is just as important to build recognition strategies that target the evolving workforce’s characteristics and needs. Currently, the labor force is largely comprised of four generations: Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z.

Although Generation Z workers make up a small percentage of employees, it has been noted that this generation is the fastest-growing group joining the workforce today. What motivates them in their careers and in the workplace must be highlighted in any recognition strategy.

Younger workers are the future of businesses; therefore, it is crucial to find inspiring forms of recognition for Gen Z employees. The Gen Z workforce percentage, although small, will continue to grow as Baby Boomers retire and more job opportunities become available.

Why a Recognition Program is Important for Gen Z

Recognition programs improve work performance, keep employees connected, and help drive brand growth. Cultural needs evolve over time, and every generation has different motivating factors depending on how they grew up – technology, the economy, and world events are just a few ways in which each generation can alter their values. In turn, it is vital to develop a strategy that caters to each specific generation.

Generation Z includes anyone that was born between 1997-2012. These individuals grew up with technology and the internet at the forefront of their adolescent development. Also, they have been tasked to deal with the evolving economy and the financial pressures and burdens that higher education brings on, all of which influence their career paths.

1. Flex Work

Not only has Gen Z grown up in the era of technology but their formative years in the workforce are largely influenced by the flex schedule that has evolved from Covid-19. This has opened their eyes to flexible work schedules that allow them to work in any environment they choose.

Since flexible work schedules have been commonplace for the past three years, the virtual office environment has well surpassed traditional in-office requirements. This is why it is crucial to incorporate remote forms of recognition in every organization.

Some of the more popular virtual recognition ideas that have been implemented recently encourage participation from all employees. Whether that be remote trivia games, virtual awards ceremonies, and online acknowledgments such as recognition newsletters or daily appreciations via a chat software, any virtual form of recognition for Gen Z employees can be explored.

Also read: What Is a Bonus? Definition and Types

2. Bonus Incentives

According to, the cost of a college education has grown exponentially in the last decade: public college fees and tuition increased by 47% in the last 20 years for a two-year college alone, while a four-year public education rose 102% and private, non-profit four-year college tuition and fees rose by 54% (taking inflation into account).

It is evident with the growing post-college workforce that Generation Z may be looking for monetary incentives. Due to the rising debt from higher education, expectations are set high on the out-of-college salary. It may bode well for organizations to recognize team members with bonus incentives as one of the forms of recognition for Gen Z employees.

3. Recognizing Needs with Feedback Loops

Gone are the days when managers can just assume employees feel heard and appreciated. Instead, it is important to incorporate feedback loops and gather insight into employee needs. This will emphasize work appreciation as a form of recognition for Gen Z employees.

Every employee is different, and with feedback loops, you may understand some of the important inner workings of your team members. In turn, you can implement changes that influence and positively affect the entire organization so that you show their needs matter.

4. Opportunity for Growth

Job security and growth opportunities are becoming top of the list when it comes to employee appreciation. By encouraging and supporting employees with career growth opportunities, not only are you providing advancement within your company but this type of forward-thinking shows that employees are valued and can make an impact on the future success of the business.

Organizations who provide further growth opportunities promote lower turnover rates. While other generations may be prone to switching companies more often than others, it bodes well to show younger generations that your company will invest in their futures. Oftentimes, this can be seen as:

  • One-on-one mentorship
  • Full or partial financial support to further education
  • Bonus incentives tied to higher training and growth development

Also read: Employee Reward Ideas for Remote Development Teams

5. Recognition Programs Tied to Values

When implementing your recognition program, find out what your employees value most. Survey the team or have face-to-face discovery calls on what drives and motivates them. This way, you can tie goals and company initiatives to what employees intrinsically value.

Employees are more likely to enjoy their jobs if they tie their values to their work. In turn, overall output and performance are boosted by simply making sure your employees are heard.

Inspire Employees With Recognition That Matters

In this day and age, employee recognition matters. Not just because it is important to highlight the small and big wins, but recognizing employees will empower them to invest themselves in the company more. Each generation of employees is different and comes with a new standard of recognition.

Do not just tell your Gen Z employees you appreciate them. Show them you care by implementing inspiring forms of recognition practices that highlight the values that are most important to them. Whether that is a daily or weekly acknowledgment of their work efforts, or implementing a reward program on a grander scale, no recognition feat is too small.

Written by
Meet Samantha Hausen

Meet Samantha Hausen, the Marketing Operations Manager at Cristaux International – a top-tier manufacturing company based in Chicago that creates custom awards and trophies for recognition programs. Her passion for learning has propelled her career within the content industry. As part of a team committed to celebrating exceptional individuals in their workplaces, she leverages compelling content to drive brand growth and success. Join us as we recognize excellence with our expertly crafted products!

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