Building a Recognition Program that Resonates with Gen Z

Recognition Program for Generation Z

“I’m not gonna let anyone make me feel small.”

This famous statement by Billie Eilish, the renowned Gen Z singer speaks directly to the spirit of Gen Z.

If, as an employer, you truly conceive the essence of this message and still believe that retaining your Gen Z workforce can be accomplished solely through bonuses and high salaries, you need to change your way of thinking. To engage this new generation effectively, we must embrace a fresh approach and create an inclusive work environment that values growth, work-life balance, and flexibility.

As the world changes, so do the generations. And as each generation becomes more and more difficult to retain, it becomes increasingly important to understand their specific characteristics and preferences.

This is where I as a Gen Z presenter comes in. I’m here to help you understand my generation and how to retain us.

Welcome to Gen Z: Tailoring a Recognition Program That Speaks to Gen Z

And now welcome to the most optimistic but meanwhile most stressed generation in the workplace.

It’s commonly stated that Gen Z is the most challenging and stressed-out generation at work. The reasons behind this assertion are varied. Some of the factors contributing to this perception include:

1. Lack of attention to work-life balance
2. The noticeable absence of timely and constructive feedback.
3. Scarcity of diversity and inclusion
4. The generation gap in the workplace
5. Toxic work environment
6. And of course lack of recognition

A key element that can address these issues is the implementation of a sturdy recognition program that caters to the distinct needs of each generation, ensuring that everyone feels acknowledged, valued, and motivated.

Now it’s crucial to admit that Gen Z significantly differs from other generations, particularly in terms of their expectations and requirements when it comes to recognition and participation in such programs.

More Than Just The Next Generation

The generation of Snapchat, climate change protests, and the previously mentioned Billie Eilish.

Understanding and accommodating these unique needs is paramount to creating an inclusive and effective recognition system.

Now let’s take a closer look at what makes them different from other generations.

1. The Digital Generation

The generation that grew up with easy access to digital devices has a unique perspective on the world. 

They are used to being connected 24/7 and expect to be able to use technology to work, learn, and play. As a result, they are very comfortable working with digital products and gadgets. They are also more likely to be open to new technologies, and they are often early adopters of new trends.

In today’s remote reality, where employees are dispersed across different corners of the globe, leveraging digital channels becomes imperative. Instant messaging, collaborative platforms, and feedback apps facilitate seamless and transparent communication in real-time.

So, businesses must leverage digital transformations to remain desirable career destinations for digital natives.

2. The importance of an Inclusive and Supportive Culture

Fostering a supportive and inclusive atmosphere is paramount in facilitating effective collaboration and the free flow of ideas.

Because they are one of the youngest generations in the labour market (after Gen Alpha), they value the support and help shown to them and do their best to work accordingly.

It’s also important to have an inclusive recognition program that celebrates the diversity of our workforce. This means that everyone, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, orientation, or disability, should feel valued and appreciated for their contributions.

3. Recognition, Appreciation, and Trust

Establishing a culture of recognition, appreciation, and trust among team members from diverse generations is crucial.

Yes, representatives of almost all generations attach importance to this point, but the ideas about their forms certainly differ from each other.

T-shirts, glasses with the company’s symbol, and pizza parties have already lived for a long time and their age has already passed for this generation.

Regular and timely feedback from their teammates and their immediate manager is very important to them. It helps them understand their strengths and weaknesses and work on them with all their efforts.

Making recognition is one of the important points of creating a positive culture, which, by the way, is very important for Gen Z when choosing a workplace.

But, in the end, what do they get on their list when they are recognized?

What Does Gen Z Want from Recognition?

Leaders should prioritize appealing to their youngest workers, as Gen Z represents the future of their organization. As this emerging segment of the workforce enters the corporate landscape, it becomes crucial to understand their desires and preferences, particularly when it comes to recognition.

Gen Z employees are not solely driven by monetary rewards or insincere praise. Instead, they seek recognition that goes beyond material incentives. This generation of employees values recognition that is meaningful, authentic, and tailored to their individual contributions. They appreciate being seen and acknowledged for their unique skills and achievements.

They value opportunities for growth and development, whether it’s through skill-building programs, mentorship, or challenging assignments.

To correspond to their needs, organizations can design recognition programs tailored specifically for Gen Z.

Strategies for Creating a Recognition Program for Generation Z

1. Recognition Program for The Most Tech-Savvy Generation

As we already understood, this generation is the most technically developed generation in the labour market and their work is almost impossible to imagine without technology.

Perhaps it is difficult for the remaining generations to imagine the use of digital platforms as recognition platforms, a way of receiving feedback and creating a collaborative environment, but here they do not notice one fact:

This is inevitable.

To cater to this tech-savvy generation, it is crucial to incorporate elements that align with their digital prowess. This may encompass digital badges, online recognition platforms, or even gamification techniques that resonate with their tech-savvy nature.

Moreover, it is paramount to regularly assess and adapt the recognition program to remain in sync with evolving technological trends and the specific needs of this generation.

2. Value-Based Recognition Program

This type of recognition is a strategic approach to employee recognition that rewards and acknowledges employees for behaviors that align with the organization’s core values. This type of recognition is more than just a feel-good gesture; it can actually have a positive impact on employee engagement, productivity, and retention.

This generation of employees prefers to work in companies where they can share the company’s values and work towards a common goal.

According to the Deloitte Report, Gen Z no longer forms opinions of a company solely based on the quality of their products but also now on their ethics, practices, and social impact.

It is worthwhile to consider that they prefer to be recognized not only for the values that correspond to the company’s values but for their own values.

Representatives of this generation know by heart all their virtues, for which they can be recognized.

3. Peer-to-Peer Recognition

It is no secret that there is often a lack of solidarity between different generations in the labor market. Almost everywhere we read about the “small disputes” between millennials and Gen Z.

When recognizing one another generations’ talents and how each employee contributes to the team will be the best solution for this. Being recognized by their senior colleagues will help them feel that they’re making a greater impact on their organization. They will never spare an effort to do the same.

And finally, Peer recognition is the evidence that their voices are heard and evaluated, however diverse they are.

So start your journey with Lucky Carrot, a peer-to-peer recognition platform that meets the values of all generations.

4. Gen Z As Unique Individuals

Despite entering the labour market at that age, they are already formed personalities with their professional qualities and knowledge. The fact that they are among the youngest generations in the labour market does not prevent them from reaching new and greater heights with their diligence.

Being able to recognize their individual strengths and weaknesses is very important to them. They prefer to be treated as an individual in all areas and all actions are based on this.

When you recognize Gen Z individuals for their accomplishments, you are showing them that you value their hard work and that you are committed to their success. In addition, try to have such rewards that match their individual merits and desires.

5. Public Recognition Via Social Media

Gen Z spends a lot of time on social media, and this is only getting stronger.

For this generation, it is important to have an active presence on social media and especially to share their accomplishments and achievements. The fact that they are important to the company and their peers seems to be one of the best achievements in this case.

The presence of such a feature will definitely help you in attracting this generation. And of course, you are having a free brand awareness campaign on social media, provided by your employees, which is ideal for your brand recognition.

In Lucky Carrot with the feature, you can easily share your words of appreciation and recognize your peers not only inside your team, but also make it public on LinkedIn, and not only. 


In today’s labour market, we have representatives of more than 5 generations, and choosing a form of recognition that will keep everyone engaged and motivated is difficult to choose.

It can be difficult to retain Gen Z employees if they won’t be correctly recognized. However, for this, it’s crucial to remember that they are the best representatives of this digital age and that they are already professionally formed individuals.

Gen Z behaviours and attitudes will affect the future of work and it means that organizations and employers need to entice and integrate this generation into the workplace.

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