Gen Z: Understanding the generation that wants it all

August 12, 2023 |
By - Vinay Kaushik Trivedi
3 minutes read
3 minutes read
By - Vinay Kaushik Trivedi

There are numerous studies that discuss what Gen Z—loosely defined as those who were born between 1997 and 2012—wants. While the majority of these studies cover a wide range of topics, there are a few aspects that they tend to ignore, including confusion, the need for inspiration, safe risk-taking, and impulsive decision-making.
Let’s dive into each of these factors to understand them better.



Tech-savvy and born with the binary code woven into their DNA, Generation Z is now entering the workforce. The generation born in the era of instant knowledge and everything, quite literally, available at their fingertips, will never understand the punishments for copying a friend’s homework assignment or the joy of recording your favorite song onto a tape.

However, there are two major factors that make this generation confused. First, they have too many options. Consider the fact that every job seeker today has more than one alternative to pursue. This not only confuses them but can also result in indecisiveness. Second, there is too much information accessible to them. If you’re considering it from the perspective of a candidate, employee, or employer, this is more of a bane than a boon. We all know what happens when you have too many data points, it becomes impossible for an individual to make a decision quickly and efficiently.


Need for inspiration:

In order to inspire Gen Z in the workplace, it is important to engage them in face-to-face discussions, encourage physical interactions, and bridge the gap between employees and the company. This generation is accustomed to quick, byte-sized engagement, so keeping them inspired can be a challenge.

According to the Carrot and Stick hypothesis, Gen Z responds well to inspiration, making it more of a “Carrot” generation than a “Stick” generation. While the “Stick” approach may have worked for other generations in the past, it is definitely less effective with Gen Z, who have more options and require motivation to excel. Therefore, as a leader, motivating and inspiring Gen-Zers is key to bringing out their best.

Another important element in inspiring this generation is a strong sense of purpose. However, it has been shown to be transient and can backfire if this purpose is not meaningful.


Safe risk-taking ability:

Gen Z is often referred to as “generation sensible” due to their cautious attitude towards risk-taking, with a major focus on social issues, healthy living, and climate change. They tend to overthink risks and desire well-informed and thoughtful decisions. For instance, in employment, they often research leadership profiles on Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Google Reviews, and other sites before making a decision. While this may seem like a thoughtful decision, it can also lead to analysis paralysis and hesitation.

However, if given no other options, the majority of Gen Z will be willing to take greater risks, even in the absence of adequate information. Therefore, it is important to create a safe environment for them to take risks, and to provide them with the necessary support and resources to do so.


Impulsive decision-making:

This is undoubtedly a unique character trait of this generation. This generation tends to be highly adventurous when making snap decisions, but most of the time these decisions are limited to personal matters, like a vacation, shopping, a whole day of binge-watching on streaming platforms, etc. This is due to the fact that parents and Gen Z typically have their fundamental personal requirements fulfilled at home.

Unless they are in a situation where they don’t have any choice, you won’t typically find most people from Gen Z comfortable in the area of professional decision-making, given their access to information.

Then, is this really the ‘get set, go’ generation?
While we are yet to discover the answer to that question, what we do know is that this generation requires motivation, inspiration, and the freedom to make quick decisions. They also thrive when some goalposts shift since they enjoy novelty and variety. They prefer carrots to sticks and require things to move quickly, which stems from their desire for instant gratification.

Gen Z brings with them a fresh dynamic and a new way of working. Understanding this new workforce’s characteristics, how to interact with them professionally, and how to manage them effectively, are all essential elements for organizations and leaders who want to boost employee productivity