Future Forward: Embracing the Rebel Spirit in the Workplace

Jun 12 / Vivienne Bezuidenhout
As we celebrate the voices and bravery of our youth on June 16 in South Africa, let’s take a closer look at how the youth and future generation of leaders is forcing yet another necessary re-think. This time it’s of the corporate workplace of today.

Yes, we’re referring to that enigmatic band of millennials and Gen Zers – the generations that have disrupted industries and challenged norms across the globe. 

Legit concerns

Deloitte’s Global 2023 GenZ and Millennial Survey defines four over-arching concerns of millennials (born between 1981-1996), who will make up 75% of the workforce by 2030, and GenZers (born between 1997-2012):

For the most part, millennials and GenZers want what everyone else wants from work – the difference is in how they want to achieve it. The future-fit workplace needs to offer much more than a great salary to attract and keep their future leaders now. Authenticity and flexibility are at the heart of the matter – make sure this matters to you in a tangible way too!  

All the feels

It’s time for future-focused companies to tap into the potential of this dynamic group by understanding what makes them tick, and creating an attractive workplace culture that resonates with their values. The catch? Your brand promise needs to be both authentic and sustainable in the lived experience by:

Embracing purpose-driven culture
Millennials and GenZers are driven by a strong desire to make a positive impact in the world. To attract and engage them, you must articulate a clear sense of purpose that aligns with their values. Showcase your company’s vision for a better future and how everyone contributes to that vision. When they see how their work creates meaningful change, they become passionate advocates for your brand.

Fostering a growth mindset
Both millennials and GenZers are avid learners, eager to develop their skills and explore new opportunities. Create an environment that encourages continuous growth and development. Offer mentorship programmes, training opportunities, and clear career paths. They want to know that their future is bright within your company. Provide them with the tools and resources they need to evolve, and they’ll repay you with dedication and innovation.

Providing flexibility
Gone are the days of the rigid 9-to-5 work schedule. These two generations value work-life balance and flexibility. Embrace remote work options, flexible hours, and results-driven performance metrics. Show them that you trust their abilities and value their well-being. By providing a flexible work environment, you’ll not only attract top talent but also unleash their creativity and productivity.

Leveraging technology
Digital natives want digital workplaces. They are adept at harnessing technology to drive efficiency and innovation. Invest in cutting-edge tools and platforms that enable collaboration, streamline processes, and support remote work. By demonstrating your commitment to leveraging technology, you’ll catch the attention of these tech-savvy employees who crave an environment that keeps them on the cutting edge.

Promoting work-life integration
Work is no longer confined to the office walls. Millennials and Gen Zers blur the lines between work and personal life, valuing integration rather than strict separation. Encourage a culture that emphasises work-life harmony, with wellness initiatives, flexible leave policies, and supportive mental health programmes. Recognise that personal fulfilment contributes to professional success and show them that you care about their overall well-being. 

Super-size your superpower

If you’re a millennial or Gen Zer who’s (still) reading this, let’s explore how you can leverage your inherent strengths to maximise your potential:
Embrace entrepreneurial thinking. Channel this strength by seeking out opportunities to innovate, take risks, and challenge the status quo. Be proactive in suggesting new ideas, initiating projects, and showcasing your problem-solving skills. Your ability to think outside the box will set you apart as a true leader.

Leverage tech and social media. Use these to build a personal brand, network with industry professionals, and share your unique insights. Stay updated on the latest technological advancements and how they can transform your industry.

Cultivate collaborative relationships. Build strong relationships with colleagues, mentors, and industry leaders. Look for opportunities to collaborate on cross-functional projects and take part in knowledge-sharing initiatives. By leveraging the power of collaboration, you’ll amplify your impact and create a network of supporters who can champion your growth.

Embrace continuous learning. Pursue professional development opportunities, whether it’s attending conferences, workshops, or online courses. Ask for feedback and constructive criticism to fuel your personal and professional growth.  

In a cracked nutshell

Attracting and harnessing tomorrow’s leaders requires a careful understanding of their values, aspirations, and strengths. Crack this code by creating a purposeful, collaborative, and flexible work environment, and you’ll position your workplace as a desirable brand to work for – for all the right reasons!

It’s up to the leaders of today to be the catalysts for change now by creating a future that we can all look forward to and participate in together.

Torque is committed to nurturing the future EX of all South Africans, and beyond. Happy Youth Day, everyone!