Get Gen Z to Engage in Meetings

Are you noticing the newest members of your workforce are hard to engage in meetings?

Gen Z has learned by example through their entire school careers.

They were told what specific things they should be learning and then assessed on these concepts.

On one hand, this is a great way to learn: it’s clear to the student and instructor what is learned and assessed.

But this can create challenges in the workplace. Especially if you “assume” that everyone, for example, would know how to take part in a workplace meeting.

Gen Z employees might act:

  • As if they know everything and don’t need help. This confidence may be genuine, or it may be a front for their insecurity.
  • Ambivalent. This is likely not the case! They are interested, but might not know how to engage because it’s new and they may not realize they need to ask.
  • As if they aren’t interested at all. Again, this may be genuine, or a front for insecurity. They may also not know how to ask for help in a way that doesn’t make them feel even more inferior.

Before you throw up your hands and give up, remember that Gen Z is a truly amazing group of people to work with. In my experience, they don’t let all the -isms (racism, sexism, etc.) hold them back from solving problems and collaborations. They’ve got great ideas, know how to work well in teams, and seamlessly integrate technology into their work.

Gen Z employees just might need a little coaching to adapt to the workplace environment. But it’s worth your time and effort to make it happen.

Here are 5 tips to making it happen:

Figure out what your expectations are.

Make a list! Think about processes and document them, step by step. Try hard not to take anything for granted.

For example, is your team struggling to get your operation up and running in the morning? Write out a list of what needs to happen, starting as soon as someone unlocks the door.

Write down your expectations.

Got your list of expectations? Write them out.

Consider making a checklist and laminating it. Your employees likely won’t always need the reminder, but it can help them learn now — and be used as a reference in the future.

Share expectations with employees.

Share your expectations with your team. Post them on the walls and email them to everyone.

This gives people the opportunity and resources to answer their own questions WITHOUT involving you. (This is huge for building relationships in the workplace!)

Have a conversation a few days or a week later.

Gen Z is used to getting fast feedback so they can redirect and improve quickly.

Set an intentional time to talk about how the new expectations and lists are going.

Ask a question and be prepared to get feedback.

Share your observations and experiences.

Be open and honest about what’s working and not working. The more straightforward, the better – focus on facts, not on the individual.

The more genuine and authentic you can be in this conversation, the better your employees will be at following your expectations.

If things are working well, let your team know.

If things aren’t working well, let your team know.

The only way that the situation will improve is if everyone is open and honest, both in sharing their experiences and listening to others.


This is going to take some work.

And some time.

And some trial and error.

BUT, the end result will be a fully engaged and functional team, who will be bringing their best selves — and everything they are capable of — to the workplace. This will happen because you took the time, and effort, and energy to help teach them.

In the end, that’s a pretty amazing thing to be a part of.

I promise you it will be worth it!

Remember that times are still weird. Change is hard. Try your best.




P.S. Whether your team is virtual, in-person, or somewhere between, our tips to lead using email are more important than ever!

Have a question that you want some perspective on? Email your situation to To make sure you don’t miss a post, subscribe here.