The art of connecting with generation Y and Z (Part 1)

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11 December 2019


They are often seen as the troublesome generation. That said, there are ways for businesses to engage and inspire generation Y and Z employees. A great way for companies to engage and inspire them, is to use team building exercises and corporate volunteering events.

How to excite generation Y and Z

Not all employees are into corporate events and traditional team bonding exercises. The challenge for managers is, how do you make sure that everyone, even generation Y and Z, feel that these events or activities are worth their while? We’ll explore these topics in this blog.


Team building for different generations

You most likely work with colleagues from different generations, but developing a team of mixed generations is not as easy at it seems. It’s important to get to grips with multi generational management, as this will help improve the following:


  • Job satisfaction
  • Harmony between team members
  • Team spirit


A study from Wrike on employee happiness, shows that happy employees enjoy company events (69%, see chart). In contrast to this, dissatisfied employees, 68% stated that they don’t like to hang out with colleagues after work. So what does this tell us? You need to encourage your team to take part in team building activities both at work and outside of work. By helping facilitate friendships and closer bonds even the dissatisfied members of the team can be won over.



Happy employees enjoy going to team events. Source: Wrike Happiness Index


According to the study, team events are well perceived by employees. That said, should you plan different events for Gen Y and Z?


Let’s establish the key differences between these two generations who’ll soon dominate the workplace.


👉 Generation Y often includes those who were born after 1980 and who are considered as "Digital immigrants" or "Generation why?" Many members of this generation have been in the workforce for quite some time and HR management has already adjusted to their needs.


👉 Generation Z was born from 1997 upwards - so young generation are new to the working world, their wants and needs are different to previous generations. They are often new to the workplace but have an ideological view of how things should be. They are less likely to wait for a promotion, they’ll typically demand one. Making them an interesting generation to manage and keep content.


What makes generation Z tick?

It’s common knowledge that Gen Z employees are less loyal to companies than previous generations: If the "dream job" turns out to be disappointing, they’ll jump ship without much hesitation. This is why it’s important for employers to optimise their employee engagement strategies, in order to get the most out of these young, hungry, and tech savvy employees.



Generation Z employees embrace ethical, inclusive and fair working environment. This is something many businesses are still getting to grips with. Close friendships with colleagues has been proven to increase job satisfaction by up to 50%, according to the Gallup Institute of Public Opinion.


Our advice to you is to focus on organising events that encourage personal interactions and friendships. Building friendships is an important aspect of working life for generation. At PayFit we say, “A team that works together, succeeds together”. One way of looking at it is to imagine your team as a sports team: All players have the same goal and must work as a team to achieve it!


The same study shows that 22% of Gen Z prefer to spend time on social media during their lunch break rather than with their colleagues - this figure goes down to 12% for Gen Y.


When it comes to priorities in everyday working life, Gen Z have similar requirements to the previous generation, and attach greater importance to the following: good pay, flexible working hours and meaningful work.

What motivates you personally at work


Looking at these three surveys there’s an opportunity to combine the needs of both generations for "meaningful work" with team-building activities. Social events and corporate volunteering can be structured in a way that meets the needs of all generations.



Our HR manager says:

Corporate volunteering is an appropriate choice when it comes to uniting the interests of different generations. In fact, everyone likes to do good deeds, but many people lack time or motivation to do so in their private lives. So doing them at work is a bonus for our staff.




Corporate volunteering allows employees to team up to serve a social purpose. The work they do is not only contributing to the overall success of the company, but it is also helping out a charitable cause that is important to them.


Socialising as work is a big part of what makes Gen Y and Z’s tick

There’s a burning desire with Gen Z and Y employees to do activities that are meaningful and have a positive impact on our environment. The issue most of the younger generation face is the lack of voluntary work available to them, outside of working hours.


Most employers don’t give employees the opportunity to do charitable activities during working hours. But, there is a growing number of businesses using CSR and corporate volunteering to not only give back to the community, but to also improve the feel good factor within the company.


So, even if your company is not called TooGoodToGo, UpEffect or ChariTea, charitable acts should be a core part of what your business does.


We asked team-building expert TeamTactics about the various trends they've monitored over the years and their response was: “An interesting trend is the increase of team events with a social backdrop, so-called social events and CSR measures.”


If you want to find great event ideas, use google to search for these keywords: Social Event, Innovative Team Bonding Ideas, Volunteer Days, Corporate Volunteering, Social Day or Giving-back-day.


These are our top 5 ideas for corporate volunteering:


👉 Green projects and healthier parks

👉 Teach refugees how to code

👉 Help serve a tasty meal

👉 Match employees with charities to work on specific projects

👉Christmas volunteering so your Christmas party feels even more rewarding



As with any social event, the devil is in the details. You need to plan and schedule these events effectively. Communicate them with the team focus on generating a buzz about the activities that you’ll be doing.


In our next article we’ll give you practical tips and will explain how to implement team-building events for both Gen Y and Z.


At PayFit, we’re always looking at ways to enhance our social and charitable events calendar. We’ve even created PayFit Solidarity, where PayFiters can pitch social and charitable projects that are done during working hours. We’ve had some amazing projects from integrating refugees by bringing them into our kitchen to visiting elderly people in care homes. 


This is how we do it at PayFit:


💙 Quick and effective: A donation to “A Chacun son Everest”, an association helping children suffering from cancer or leukemia go away on a memorable holiday.


💙Regular get-togethers: Share a meal with people with disabilities.


💙Long term project: PayFiters can help refugees study via an online mentoring program.


💙Seasonal projects: Toy Appeal to donate Christmas presents to children living in poverty.



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