Over a third of Gen Z professionals (37%) have reported that they do not enjoy working in a team setting – with almost half (49%) stating that they ‘work better alone.’

A further 62% of professionals state that the biggest impact to Gen Z’s entering the workforce is the decline in collaborative working – with a lack of communication skills (41%), team working (33%), and critical thinking (21%) from younger workers being the primary barriers to this.

The findings – from a recent poll by global recruitment firm Robert Walters – will be a blow to many companies who are battling to bring five generations under one roof in a hybrid working world.

Chris Poole – Managing Director of Robert Walters comments:

Gen Z’s have the potential to revolutionise our ways of working and business practices, but workplaces risk standing still unless they understand how to bring the best out of this cohort. Young workers possess a unique set of skills shaped by their upbringing. Understanding these strengths can ultimately lead to a more productive and successful workforce.

Chris Poole, Managing Director of Robert Walters

Hidden Talent

Despite being hyper-proficient with technology, a third of managers state that they are unable to reap the benefits of their young workforce due to Gen Z’s poor interpersonal skills.

When analysing further, results show that Gen Z are highly adept at communicating through digital channels. In fact, 40% of managers have stated how impressed they were at the ease with which junior workers are comfortable using various digital communication tools such as instant messaging, video conferencing, and collaboration platforms.

Chris adds:

Gen Z’s ability to communicate effectively in virtual environments is valuable in today’s increasingly remote and digital work settings. However it is apparent that in-person communication and team-working needs to be built upon if we are to get the very best out of a multi-generational workforce.

According to a Robert Walters Diversity & Inclusion survey, intergenerational conflict is a key factor in employee turnover – with a quarter of workers stating that clashes with colleagues on ways of working is a contributor when deciding to leave the job.

Tips to help improve crucial soft skills needed by Gen Z’s:


  • Scale back remote work:if the very reason why soft skills are eroding is largely down to remote work then companies need to face up to the elephant in the room and look at changing their ways of working. More face-time in the office will bring about natural collaborations and in-person communication – introduce the water cooler to Gen Z’s!
  • Provide training:Adding soft skills development, such as problem-solving and leadership skills, to training and development programmes from the onset at onboarding stage and throughout Gen Z’s career trajectory. Likewise experienced workers will need guidance in how to mentor a new generation of digital-first workers.
  • Mentorship Programs:Establish mentorship programs that pair Gen Z employees with experienced professionals within the company. Mentors can provide guidance, share their knowledge and expertise, and offer advice on developing essential soft skills.
  • Cross-Generational Collaboration:Encourage collaboration between Gen Z employees and individuals from other generations within the company. This allows for the exchange of ideas, perspectives, and knowledge, enabling Gen Z employees to learn from more experienced colleagues and develop interpersonal skills through interaction with different generations.
  • Feedback and Performance Reviews:Provide timely and constructive feedback to Gen Z employees during performance reviews. Whilst typically a performance review may focus on targets and tangible results, clearly communicate expectations regarding soft skills and offer specific suggestions for improvement. Regular feedback helps individuals understand their strengths and areas for growth.
  • Hire the right leaders:who have the patience and ability to understand the needs and strengths of multiple generations within a workforce. They will need to be both strategic and nurturing in order to bring a multi-generational workforce together.
Joanne Swann, Content Manager, WorkWellPro
Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.