5 Ways to Adapt Performance Management for Gen Z

Make feedback a winning habit on your team.

Written By

Picture of Lauren Humphrey

Lauren Humphrey

Co-founder of Tandem

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As Gen Z steps into the workforce, organizations need to rethink their communication, feedback and performance management strategies. Otherwise, companies risk losing talent and skimming the surface of this dynamic generation’s talent.

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This cohort, born between the late 1990s and early 2010s, has a unique mindset shaped by rapid technological advances and global perspective. Organizations that harness these traits will unlock immense potential for innovation and problem-solving. It is more important than ever to understand performance management for Gen Z. Here’s how businesses can align their communication and feedback practices with Gen Z’s expectations and values.

Embrace a safe space for failure and innovation

Gen Z embraces failure as an essential part of growth and innovation. According to an EY survey, over 80% of them believe that failing on a project can make them more innovative, and nearly a fifth think it makes them more willing to take risks. Organizations should cultivate an environment where new ideas can flourish, encouraging a culture of ‘failing fast,’ learning, and iterating. By promoting inclusivity, openness, and flexibility, companies will empower Gen Z to share their creative insights without fear of judgment. Performance management for Gen Z focuses on collaboration, looking forward and moving together.

Foster continuous feedback in performance management

Continuous feedback is crucial for this generation. Almost all Gen Z employees (97%) are receptive to ongoing feedback, with 63% preferring constructive input throughout the year rather than periodic reviews. To meet this expectation, leaders should provide timely and specific feedback after each project or task. It’s not just about recognizing accomplishments; constructive critiques will guide their development and help them grow in their roles.

Prioritize diverse teams and collaborative practices

Collaboration is another priority for Gen Z. A majority (63%) value working with people who bring diverse educational backgrounds and skill sets to their teams, while 20% emphasize cultural diversity. Companies should build multidisciplinary teams that reflect differing perspectives and provide avenues for co-creation. Such diversity enables the cross-pollination of ideas and quality peer-to-peer feedback all while fueling creativity and innovation.

Build human connection

Despite their digital fluency, Gen Z cherishes the human aspect of teamwork. Over 90% prefer a human element on their teams, valuing innovative coworkers over automated systems. Companies should not replace human collaboration with technology. Instead, they should strike a balance where technology enhances teamwork and supports efficient workflows.

Promote forward-thinking leadership

Gen Z gravitates toward Millennial managers who share similar values and outlooks. Over three-quarters (77%) prefer a Millennial supervisor to Gen X or Baby Boomers. This preference underscores the importance of empathetic leadership that values transparency, flexibility, and personal growth.

Performance Management for Gen Z

In conclusion, organizations that adapt their communication and feedback practices to align with Gen Z’s priorities will build a work environment where these future leaders can thrive. By fostering a culture of openness, collaboration, and continuous growth, companies can unlock this generation’s full potential, ensuring their teams remain agile, innovative, and future-focused.

Don’t get left behind. Tandem can help you build continuous improvement into your culture for more feedback, results, and connection on your team.