Learning & Development

Motivating Generation Z: What Drives the Post-Millennial Workforce

In an article for Forbes, senior contributor Jack Kelly asks, “Can 5 Generations Coexist In The Workplace?” In 2023, most workplace settings are composed of members representing The Silent Generation, baby boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z.

Gen Z, the newest entrant to the world of work, is proving to offer some new challenges for organizations, their HR leaders, managers, and supervisors. Often referred to as “digital natives,” Gen Z employees have a unique perspective on work and the role it plays in their lives—a perspective that has been impacted by pandemic-era experiences.

So what motivates this generation that’s generally reported to have been born in 1997 and beyond?

Understanding Gen Z Motivations

Members of Gen Z have grown up in a world dominated by technology. In fact, unlike their older colleagues, they’ve never been without the Internet. Their unique experiences have shaped their perspectives and world view, making them distinct from previous generations.

For Gen Z, work isn’t just about the paycheck—it’s about purpose. They’re drawn to companies with clear missions and values that resonate with their own.

Flexibility is another key demand of this generation. The traditional 9-to-5 doesn’t appeal to them as much as flexible hours that allow for optimum work/life balance. Their digital-first nature means they expect modern tech tools to be available at their fingertips. And, with a thirst for knowledge, they value opportunities for continuous learning and growth.

Challenges and Opportunities

Culture is paramount for Gen Z as they consider which employers they want to work for. They thrive in environments that champion diversity and inclusivity. Collaboration is their modus operandi, and they appreciate regular feedback. They’re also acutely aware of the importance of mental well-being, valuing employers that place a priority on employee health and wellness.

While misconceptions about Gen Z abound, and they’re often labeled as having short attention spans or being entitled, they’re adaptable, quick learners who can drive innovation.

By taking steps to understand the motivations of this newest workforce cohort, organizations can foster a climate where they can adapt and thrive.

After all, motivated Gen Z staffers aren’t just good for culture—they’re also good for business.

Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.

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