Why internal mobility is the secret to engaging your multi-generational workforce

Access to opportunities is a game-changer for employees entering the workforce now

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By Nicole Schreiber-Shearer, Future of Work Specialist at Gloat

Gen Z might be relatively new to the workforce, but they’re already making an impact. There’s lots of speculation (and plenty of attention-grabbing headlines) about how these digital natives will transform the way we work. In fact, Linkedin has dubbed them the “boldest generation yet.”

In addition to being the youngest subset of workers, Gen Z is also the most restless, with 25% of respondents hoping to leave their employer within the next 6 months. At a time when every business is already struggling to hold on to talent, this trend is troubling news for employers.

Fortunately, a revolving door of Gen Z talent doesn’t have to become your business’s next reality. You just need to understand what the newest generation of workers is looking for—and recognize that it all centers around internal mobility.

Who are Gen Z employees?

While there’s some debate about who’s part of Gen Z, Pew Research defines it as those born after 1996. Unlike Millennials, Gen Z doesn’t remember ringing in the year 2000. They’ve grown up with digital technology at their fingertips and they can’t recall a world without an abundance of screens and smartphones.

Some members of Gen Z are still teenagers, so the generation’s full impact on the working world hasn’t been felt just yet. However, it’s not too early to start analyzing a few generational trends. So far, the data we have suggests that Gen Z are not only the most restless; they also have the greatest sense of ambition. 76% want more opportunities to learn or practice new skills and 61% are eager for more opportunities to move up or increase their responsibilities.

Idealism is another defining characteristic amongst Gen Z employees. 80% of employees in this age group seek job opportunities that better align with their values and prioritize diversity—across race, gender, and orientation—more than any other generation.

What are the biggest challenges associated with generational differences in the workforce?

Between ambition and idealism, there’s no doubt that Gen Z brings plenty of positive attributes to the working world. Yet, the addition of any new group of employees comes with its own set of challenges, and Gen Z is no exception.

The hurdles leaders should have on their radar include:

Conflicting expectations

Gen Z puts a heavier emphasis on purpose than their older peers. Unlike their predecessors, they’re willing to challenge traditional professional norms, like formal office attire and 9-to-5 workdays. If these differences aren’t recognized and addressed, there’s a risk that Gen Z will clash with older generations who might not see eye to eye on these matters.


It’s no surprise that communications styles were named the top challenge for multi-generational workforces. While Baby Boomers and Gen X might prefer to send updates via email, Gen Z has grown up on social media. As a result, they’re likely to look to instant messaging channels as their primary communications method, and their style of writing will probably reflect this.

Negative stereotypes

Millennials are labeled as entitled. People assume Baby Boomers struggle with technology. With every generation comes a new set of stereotypes that are less than flattering. For Gen Z, the reigning trope is that employees have short attention spans and they’re always glued to their phones.

Like most stereotypes, these assumptions are rarely true. But the only way to challenge them is by bringing people from different generations together so that employees can see what their colleagues are like and capable of.

3 reasons why internal mobility is the secret to engaging Gen Z employees

Internal mobility is something that all of your employees are looking for. But it’s going to be particularly essential for your Gen Z workers.

#1. Internal mobility gives Gen Z the growth they’re looking for

The right approach to internal mobility creates an abundance of development opportunities for employees to tap into. Since Gen Z has already earned a reputation as both the boldest and the most ambitious generation of workers, internal mobility will undoubtedly appeal to them.

The most impactful internal mobility strategies will take advantage of tech-enabled solutions like the talent marketplace to seamlessly match employees to relevant growth opportunities, in turn maximizing visibility and accessibility.

#2. Connecting work with purpose becomes seamless

Gen Z doesn’t just want to climb a one-size-fits-all career ladder. Instead, they’re searching for meaningful development opportunities that align with their long-term goals and sense of purpose. So how can you make sure that your internal mobility strategy checks off all of Gen Z’s boxes?

The most advanced career pathing tools put Gen Z at the helm of their professional development. Through the talent markeptlace, employees gain visibility into projects, gigs, mentorships, and full-time roles that will help them build the skills they need to take their careers to the next level. Once they’re sitting in the drivers’ seat, you can feel confident that your Gen Z users will feel an authentic connection to the work they’re doing because it aligns with their ambitions.

#3. It gives them the chance to do something new

As many as 3 in 4 Gen Z employees are looking to try something new at work. In the past, when workers wanted to go in a new direction, that typically meant looking for a new job at a new company. But prioritizing internal mobility enables employees to expand their horizons without switching employers.

Talent marketplaces are a game-changer when it comes to empowering your people to explore new directions and horizontal growth opportunities. The platforms generate recommended projects, gigs, mentors, and full-time roles based on the skills employees have and the capabilities they’re looking to build.

As more and more Gen Z employees join the workforce, the importance of internal mobility will only continue to increase. If you’re looking to learn more about personalizing development opportunities and the role talent marketplaces can play in enhancing them, check out our guide, How leading companies boost productivity and reduce costs.

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