6 Things Your Gen Z Employee Wish You Knew

As a Boomer or an X-er, you’ve finally gotten used to the millennials in your office running around like they own the place. But now there’s a new generation on the horizon: Gen Z. While this generation includes 8-year-old children, it’s mainly comprised of millions of young adults who could be staffing your organisation tomorrow…or who might already be working for you now.

The importance of understanding Gen Z (a.k.a. iGen)
Gone are the days of hiring someone and having them merge, drone-like, into your workplace culture. Today, before recruiting new employees, it’s essential to understand the defining characteristics of their generation so you will be able to not only retain them past their probation period, but integrate them into your multigenerational team — and motivate them to become the future leaders of your company.

Here are some fast facts about Gen Z:

· Born between 1994 and 2010

· Highly adaptable

· Unparalleled access to information and use of tech

If, as an entrepreneur or recruiter, this sounds like your dream employee already, read on to find out what really makes Generation Z tick when it comes to the workplace.

6 key things to know about Generation Z that will make your life a lot easier
1. Money isn’t everything.

Your Gen Z employee is less likely to be motivated by money than by opportunities for advancement. While promotions often do go hand in hand with more money, and that is certainly important given today’s high cost of living, for this generation it’s also about the learning and growth, at least initially. This group has never lived in a world without the Internet, and they know that knowledge is the key to success — so expect your Gen Z employee to take you up on opportunities for PD, whether they come with immediate rewards or not.

2. Speed speaks for itself.

Gen Z grew up with instant communications; it’s no wonder they are go-getters. Why should things take time when everything from lunch to the totality of all human knowledge and experience is available with a few clicks? Gen Z’s need for speed is often a concern to managers, who worry that young people won’t be able to follow chain of command when they don’t approve of red tape and bureaucracy. Work with shorter attention spans by breaking mammoth tasks into more digestible chunks that can provide the relatively quick gratification of a task well done. And don’t take 3 days to respond to a Gen Z employee’s email — you shouldn’t be doing that anyway.

3. They wish they were you.

Gen Z has grown up in a very uncertain financial climate (and climate-climate). Never before has a generation witnessed so much global social, economic, environmental and financial upheaval; on a micro level, they may have seen parents lose secure jobs or even flee horrific circumstances like war or famine. This makes Gen Z eager to make their own way in the world. Sure, this entrepreneurial spirit might make your Gen Z employee a little more headstrong than you’d like, but consider the leadership qualities inherent in the group: they can take responsibility for self-directed work and manage others, freeing you to step back and enjoy the fruits of your own labour.

4. Post-millennial = post-technology.

While Gen Z has unprecedented access to, and understanding of, technology, they have risen above it in terms of dependence. Messenger is to Gen Z as the light bulb is to previous generations: It’s useful and ever-present, but do you really need to turn on a light when the sun is shining brightly? It’s just a tool, so don’t think you need to text your Gen Z employee to ask how the project is coming; swing by and talk to them in person or pick up the phone and have a good old-fashioned chat. Don’t remain a remote and inaccessible figure or they’ll wonder what you are hiding. Instead, develop the face-to-face communication skills of your Gen Z employees and offer personal praise and encouragement for a job well done.

5. Life is for living, not working.

Many young people (and older ones!) aren’t content with the work-like-a-slave-during-the-week-and-disconnect-on-the-weekend model. First of all, there is no such thing as disconnection anymore, which can work in your favour; most employees don’t mind checking important messages after the work day if that work day was flexible enough in the first place. Enticing and retaining Gen Z may involve offering more opportunities to work from home, flexible scheduling that allows time for fitness, child care and personal interests, and good paid holidays. But those employee retention strategies have been proven successful all over the world (ahem, Scandinavia).

6. You offer workplace diversity and equality…and your point is??

Post-millennials are the most diverse group in the workplace. They’ve never experienced overt institutionalised racism or other forms of discrimination; on the contrary, they grew up with anti-discrimination legislation and globalization. Gen Zs don’t seriously expect to run into any problems with equality; your stated pride in promoting women equally will result in a baffled, condescending and slightly glazed stare from your Gen Z employee. What a Gen Z will notice and pick up on immediately is ageism, which is often directed against them. You can support your Gen Z employees by listening to their ideas and valuing their contributions, not sidelining them because they don’t have gray hair.

In summary…
Spending the time upfront to get to know your Gen Z staff as people with valuable characteristics, beliefs and drivers will help you become a choice employer for the current crop of smart, entrepreneurial, independent employees.



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I found Burn Bright in the midst of studying civil engineering at the University of Wollongong, just as I wanted a richer, deeper, more full experience of life.

Through Burn Bright, I have met many students and volunteers who are all seeking to find their place in the world. When we come together at NLC or SLC, no matter our age, we begin on the same page, of wanting to do good for ourselves, our community, and the world. And then we are thrown into a program that brings us closer to each other, our purpose, and how to bring forth this impact. It’s like having your cake and eating it too.

Volunteering with Burn Bright stoked a fire in me – It helped me feel comfortable in myself and made me realise life isn’t just about work, study, or productivity, but our relationships and how we connect with others along the way.

I have learned skills in videography, worked for a top-tier corporation in marketing, and most recently published a book called “18 and lost? So were we” 

I have a passion for storytelling, bring loads of energy wherever I go, and am dedicated to helping young people move through the initiation of leaving high school and going into the ‘real world’. 

The best part for me is being able to stay connected to the latest generation growing through high school. To see them grow, expand and express more of themselves is like watching an artwork paint itself. It’s magic.

I am Simon Thurston, a Kiwi based in Perth. I work as an Instructional Designer and in my spare time I enjoy reading, running, and board games.

Since my initial connection to Burn Bright I have been onboard with their mission. Burn Bright’s focus on building the capabilities enables students of all ages to see how they can shape their world through connections with others and their own self discovery.

Seeing others grow, learn, and open up is what keeps me coming back, to help others realise their potential and how they can influence their future and their community is a definite highlight. It’s infectious, the atmosphere when they run a program or camp is welcoming, exciting, emotional, and rewarding all in one.



Hi, friends! I’m Kelsie, a psychologist from central QLD working in private practice. I got involved with Burn Bright officially in 2016, but the journey started long before that. I attended the National Leadership Camp (now hosted annually by Burn Bright) in 2009. It had such a profound impact on me that I returned as a mentor and volunteer. Those connections ultimately lead me to joining the Burn Bright team as an adult.

When I transitioned from facilitating with the Burn Bright team to working as a psychologist, I was so grateful for an incredible foundation of skills (particularly facilitation, communication and interpersonal skills) along with a strong grounding in positive psychology that Burn Bright integrates into their ethos.

I can’t imagine my life without volunteering for Burn Bright. I have met some of my dearest friends through the Burn Bright crew. I’ve found that volunteering for BB is rewarding, humbling, and often brings as much personal growth for the volunteer as it does for the young person.

From a professional perspective, I love that Burn Bright programs/camps support the adolescent individuation process by providing an exciting and supportive environment for teens to explore their own sense of self, personality, identify and values alongside other young people.

Imagine this POV: you’re back at school wanting to figure everything out and fit in – and you find
yourself in a room with amazing music that uplifts you and hooks you in. You meet the team of
dynamic, interesting, caring facilitators whose own friendships inspire you. Their facilitation skills bring about amazing light-bulb moments and lessons that light a fire inside you… It makes me want to feel that for myself again. The next best thing, for me, is volunteering for the team who passes that on to other young people.

My start at Burn Bright is one of the best cases of one door closing and another door opening. After losing my job at a local pub while on uni holidays, I started looking for new opportunities that were different and decided to volunteer. Searching for opportunities, I found working bees, community driving and nursing home visits, but the chance to become a National Leadership Camp intern stood out. Over nearly six months, I worked with the team to pull off Burn Bright’s first National Leadership Camp, and had an absolute blast in the process. After camp, I started working for Burn Bright while studying, doing anything and everything — data analysis, hiring strategy and even picking up furniture.

Finishing up working for Burn Bright in 2019, I am still actively involved with the Burn Bright volunteer community. I’ve found that the emphasis placed on investing in your relationships, understanding your values and making an impact allow you to be accepted for you. This has given me the tools needed to make the difficult decisions that life will inevitably throw at you. Besides all that, I’ve had a ton of fun and formed life-long friendships with people I may have never crossed paths with otherwise. “Get involved — you’ll change your life for the better and make life‑long friends in the process”.

I am a health science student from Perth wanting to get into the mental health realm of occupational therapy. In the meantime, I work as a barista and supervisor at a beachside café. In my spare time, I love to play netball, be around my friends and I have just gotten into crocheting. I went to Perth College where I was lucky enough to go to the first Perth College Leadership Camp in 2018 as a student and absolutely loved it. What really drew me in was the atmosphere that was created, the open conversations, and the lasting relationships formed.

Since then I have been a mentor for the Perth College Leadership Camp in 2019, 2020, and 2021 and had the opportunity to go to the National Leadership Camp in 2019. When Burn Bright comes to Perth I also love helping out at their programs as much as I can.

Volunteering for Burn Bright has given me so much that I could never have imagined. I have learned so much about myself and I have so much more confidence in myself and my abilities that I know I wouldn’t have had if I wasn’t exposed to the amazing opportunities volunteering for Burn Bright has given me. Before being involved I would never have seen myself being a mentor, role model, and facilitator to students, but now I can confidently say that I am, and I have made an impact on others that I am proud of. I have also made so many meaningful connections to so many amazing people from all around Australia through Burn Bright. I get asked quite a bit why I keep coming back to my old school to volunteer and it’s simply because I was given this amazing opportunity to be a part of the Burn Bright programs and if I can help facilitate that experience to someone else then why wouldn’t I?

I was born in Perth and moved to Sydney in my early 20’s to continue work as a youth worker and surfboard maker. This was followed by 30 years working in IT as a computer programmer.

Following retirement in 2016 I searched for an organisation that was aligned with my values of servant leadership and service, especially in the youth space. This search led to Burn Bright where I am now volunteering one day a week and mentoring at the National Leadership Camp. Volunteering with Burn Bright gives me a great deal of hope and confidence in the next generation of leaders. It is a pleasure to be a part of the Burn Bright family.

I have been married to Denise for 41 years and we both very much feel part of the Burn Bright team.

When not at Burn Bright you may find me running along Manly beach, riding my mountain bike or indulging in my passion for photography.











Hi! I’m Rosie, a 20-something full-time public servant, part-time Tassie tourism advocate.

I am passionate about seeing young people succeed, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than watching them become the next generation of change-makers.

I have been a champion of the ethos and work of Burn Bright since its inception in 2014, and consider them to be the leading experts in their field. By delivering impactful leadership and wellbeing programs to students across Australia, they offer the knowledge, skills and engagement to invoke lasting positive change in school communities.

The Burn Bright team are dedicated, inclusive and values-driven, which is why I love working with them.