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The future of work: Managing Gen Zs in the 21st century


Call them the zoomers, call them pre-alphas, call them digital natives, the Gen Zs are the most trending demography right now and if you are preparing for the future of work. Gen Zs are described as people born between 1996 and 2012, they are characterised by a lot of gusto and curiosity. They have been labelled the most diverse population, yet they have the most inclusive perception of societal activities. They are quite passionate about global causes, social changes and easily identify with each other when there are similar points or nexus.

Think about Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Prize Winner, Greta Thunberg, the youngest Nobel Prize nominee who went on school strike to draw global attention towards climate change, Billie Eilish who is a multiple-Grammy award nominee at 19 and Zendaya making waves on the screen, and you have a perfect model of the Gen Z demography.

Why should you be concerned about Gen Zs?

According to research from Bloomberg, Generation Z will surpass their more well-known predecessors in 2022 as the most populous generation. As a leader, HR professional, talent manager, and other related functions, you should be concerned about this statistic because the Gen Zs will, in a short time, make up a considerable fraction of your talent pool. How then do you manage them?

Make them part of something great

It is 2021 and careers have gone beyond compensation. Gen Zs always prioritize purpose over paycheck and would always connect with an organization that gives them wings to fly. They pick creativity and expression over rules and structures and would stay longer with an organisation that gives them the platform to impact the world. As Deloitte put it, Gen-Zs are younger workers who are searching for impact-driven companies, who vocally champion a better world and take practical steps to effect positive change.

Acknowledge their curiosity

Gen-Zs are curious, and they question the status quo. Why can’t they use a Mac? Why do they have to write in a style? Why do they have to design in some way? Why can’t they work from home all week? As a manager or HR professional, acknowledging their curiosity and providing logical answers to their barrage of questions is quite pivotal. Not only do you win their trust, but you also earn their respect and they have the confidence to connect with you again when something clumsy or hazy comes up.

Harness their skills and abilities to achieve business goals and objectives

Gen Zs are multi-skilled and get bored easily especially when tasked with monotonous deliverables. It is often advisable to explore the skills and abilities they possess and give them a platform for expression. Do you have a content writer who also works with Figma or Canva and is looking to take on more tasks? Then let him/her do it, do not limit the person to writing content.

The more a talent can explore, the better he or she is able to create and add value to the business.

Invest in their growth and development

There is no kind of employer a Gen Z loves than the one who is concerned about and invests in their personal growth and development. In an environment where attrition is rising and talent volatility is becoming ubiquitous, investing in a Gen Z’s growth and development is one of the ways to enhance talent retention and make them loyal to your company.

Continuously give them feedback

Unlike the previous generation that is largely self-sufficient and intrinsically motivated, Gen Zs long for continuous feedback, encouragement and constructive criticism. For Gen Zs, continuous communication is pivotal to excellent performance. While they claim to be individualistic in nature, they thrive on the reinforcement that comes with incessant motivation from leaders they look up to.

Be the company Gen Zs want to work for

Gen-Z are committed to enunciating social causes. As Forbes put it, a company culture of giving back has always been foundational to attracting and retaining talented workers, but today, companies must take an even more proactive approach. Gen-Z are searching for impact-driven companies who vocally champion a better world and take practical steps to effect positive change. Does this sound like your organisation?

What has it been like interacting with Gen Zs in your organisation? Do share.


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