Motivation is crucial to any individual, but we have noticed some exciting findings regarding Generation Z versus older generations when discussing generational differences.

Everyone is motivated by something, but what do you think Generation Z is motivated by? Is it money or impact? These are crucial questions to ask because we understand one’s motivation, we can further encourage productivity and engagement at work. 

In this blog, we will talk about what we have noticed motivates Generation Z, looking specifically at how we can encourage tomorrow's leaders to continue reaching for more success in their careers and lives.  Yes it is going to be generic, we know that, but it has raised some interesting points. 

While you might think you have a clear idea of what Generation Z is motivated by, read on to find out more about what encourages this generation of upcoming leaders to continue their careers to have an expansive impact on today's world.

#1: Generation Z is Motivated by Their Values and a Sense of Purpose

In a word, Generation Z is motivated by purpose. They're motivated by their values and what they want to do with their lives. Compared to most other generations, we have noticed that this Generation is exceedingly more aligned in their sense of purpose and what they value. They seek meaningful work, and they want to act and help others. Much of their work, as we have seen, should align with their values, or else they feel as though they're misaligned.

Interestingly, these values that Generation Z is so motivated by include sustainability, diversity, social justice, and inclusivity. Even despite the challenges that they faced, they are so significantly motivated by a vision for a better future, and it's something that we can all be inspired by. But it's also crucial for us as leaders to understand how we can encourage Generation Z to join our organisations and contribute to our missions.

#2: Generation Z Desires Work-Life Balance

Compared to older generations, many of which, as we have experienced, were driven by career aspirations and advancement, Generation Z are quite the opposite. From our observations, Generation Z wants more of a work-life balance. They prioritise career advancement, but not over that of their work-life balance and the time they have for their different passions.

This is largely why we've seen a significant shift in flexible work options, remote work, and even the push for health initiatives and further support for mental and physical health in the workplace. 

Generation Z has led this trend. However, for us leaders, this is also a big clue for us to see that the more options we offer to ensure a proper balance of work and life, the more likely we are to attract younger generations who could have an enormous impact while being passionate about the work that they do.

#3: Personal Development is Crucial to Generation Z

Another primary motivator we have noticed is that Generation Z is entirely motivated by personal development. These individuals love learning and personal growth, wanting to continually be involved in any educational opportunity, developing their skills, and even seeing career advancement as a possibility because of these opportunities.

That's not to say that Generation Z does not also value a work-life balance, but they want to feel that they have a way to progress and feel like they are on the path to something even more significant than themselves. Personal development for Generation Z is less about their own career goals and more about how they can become even better leaders and more aware of the world around them.

#4: Security and Stability Are Paramount to Younger Generations

Everybody wants security and stability, but we have seen an even greater emphasis on this from Generation Z. They want job security and financial stability, the assurance that they can afford the life they want without any hindrances. This is one of the most logical motivations that we have noticed and one that we share as well. Nobody wants to feel that they don't have a secure or stable job.

However, when you look at the history of Generation Z and the hurdles they have faced in their life, even in the short few decades they have been alive, they have endured significant challenges. Generation Z has lived through the global recession, the COVID-19 pandemic, and even further economic challenges as we enter a post-COVID world. No wonder they are so motivated by sustainable work and security!

#5: Generation Z Want Honesty And Authenticity

Finally, a fifth motivation that we have seen in Generation Z that is unique to nearly every other generation is that they want honesty and transparency. They value authenticity even more than we did in our generations, which also translates into personal and professional context. Generation Z is most likely to be loyal to authentic and transparent brands, and this even transcends into their relationships with their employers.

This means for us that if we hide information from Generation Z, they are more likely to be disengaged and feel motivated to find other opportunities. They want to be included, but they also want to think that they have all the information without figuring out what is true and what is not. Arguably, we feel this is a must in any organisation, but specifically for Generation Z, it's even more critical.

How Will You Leverage Generation Z’s Motivations?

Now that you understand Generation Z, how will you leverage these motivations and further connect with these workers in your company? If we stay true to our values, institute practices that promote a better work life, and also prioritise personal development and job security, as well as open communication, we can genuinely connect with Generation Z and help them become the refined, polished leaders that they are destined to become for our society.

If you want to improve your leadership and management skills, we have an upcoming course on 4th April in London that you can sign up for here, and we'd love to see you there! Our book, Decoding Gen Z : Bridging the Mindset Gap will be available next month.

Ralph & Claire