- An Nguyen
A letter to my future employer
Updated: Mar 26, 2021
Dear Future Employer,
I have been inspired to write this letter as I realized how important it is for employees to feel valued at the workplace. In the blog post below, I have read that my best friend has been influenced by what I was telling her over a cup of coffee about the flat organization I was working in, which encouraged her to seek the same criteria in a job in the future.
With companies looking to build high performing teams, they will need to embrace diversity and bring in new perspectives by hiring Gen Z. As part of this generation, I clearly want a workplace where I feel psychologically safe, able to innovate and feel empowered. I have been lucky enough to already have an internship in an organisation where I felt everything was falling into the right category and which made me want to return to it after graduation. In order to help capture the best talents from the new generation here are 5 of the most crucial point that I will be looking for in a company:
1. Creating meaning
With AI playing a big role in the future of employment, Gen Z already has an intrinsic motivation to look for jobs where we feel we are valued and where we can make changes, an impact in the rapidly changing workforce. We have high expectations for our professional careers and we want to achieve success at an early stage of our lives. However, of course success will be defined differently for each of us, but at the core of it we all look for meaningfulness in our job. We believe time is our most precious asset, therefore all the work hours we dedicate to our jobs we will want to spend with purpose.
During the 6 months that I spent working in my last internship, I was looking forward to the next day and learn something new: either about the job itself or about how to deal with people, colleagues, customers or other stakeholders. My motivation was also boosted as I was able to take initiatives and my colleagues were giving me all the necessary tools to take them forward to the next level. Either through change or creativity, Gen Z loves setting a milestone for the company we are working for.
2. Holacratic view
Related to the point above, Gen Z reaches its highest potential when we are empowered to take decisions and where there is a flat organizational structure that leaves us the space to take initiatives. We love being heard and leaving our mark wherever we go. We are also very keen to learn and improve, which is why we find it very rewarding when we are involved in different projects that would allow us to see various angles of a company. We are a generation that questions the status quo, the existing condition, as we know we have the power to change anything and adapting to transformation is the key factor to success. This can be hard to digest, but our enthusiasm has to be nurtured, in order to reach long-term goals together.
Throughout my internship I never felt I was there for a limited amount of time- my opinions were always valued, we were building on each other’s ideas in the team and I was always ready to give my best to the work I am doing to add value and meaning to it. This is due to the fact that my previous colleagues were creating a system of holacracy, democracy and mutual trust. When we create the hierarchical system within the company, we will eliminate the possibility of having more diverse ideas that come from different angles and where the management positions can sometimes disregard.
3. Development plan
Gen Z is always planning ahead for their future. We seek for constant challenges that in the long run will keep us motivated. With automation having a high influence on our lives and through the constant pressure of the changing workforce , we are aware that we need to work regularly on our skills and through a clear development plan we will feel we are achieving something meaningful on a daily basis.
For Gen Z hard skills are easier to achieve through hard work and repetition, but what matters more is developing our soft skills for the future. We find that human connection is very important, but also very challenging at the workplace as there is no correct recipe on how to deal with different types of people.
Another point of motivation during my internship was that the work environment was positive, where growth and development were encouraged from managers and where they were also keen on receiving feedback on performance. It is essential that everyone has the openness to change their styles of working in order to perform better to meet the organisation’s goals. Our team also had the opportunity to undertake a personality test and have a leadership coach debrief us through our different approaches in life or workplace and how it can affect our team dynamics on a daily basis. This left me very curious to find out how we can achieve a high performing team.
4. Embracing mindfulness
Permanent digital contact, pressure to achieve success quickly, competition- these are only a few topics that can stress Gen Z in the workplace. With mindfulness also becoming a trend, we do feel it is important to refocus and take a step back. Trainings that will teach us to centre on the valuable matters will re-engage us and facilitate a balance between our personal and professional lives.
Practicing mindfulness in the workplace can have long-term benefits, such as: being able to make decisions without distractions and see a new perspective, it allows us to be more empathetic by understanding others’ state of mind and finally staying more connected to the ones around us.
In the company I was working for, we were fortunate enough to have trainings and one day per week where we were practicing mindfulness, which was open to everyone in the company. These exercises not only created a bond between us that went beyond work, but also helped us reduce stress and be more aware and understanding of other people’s points of view.
5. Innovating feedback
We always want to stay in the loop with what’s happening and to follow our growth path. Our generation also values the interaction with managers and we want it to happen as frequently as possible.
Gen Z wants more feedback on performance sessions, which are relevant and which allows us to develop from there. On the other hand, the feed-forward is also a great benefit for us to have a vision on what can be improved and it will have a higher impact as we know concisely on what areas we can start working.
Informal tips and advice from our superiors that can keep us aware of how our performance is will boost our morale, enthusiasm and loyalty to the company.
From my personal experience, my manager also had the approach of feed-forward, giving suggestions and recommendations for further improvement instead of always focusing on the past. This also made me more creative, open minded to change and embrace mistakes, that can strengthen learning.
Treat your employees as your best and most valuable assets in the rapidly changing workforce, give them the right feedback on their performance, as they will make your company be outstanding in the face of your competition.
To conclude, I am looking for a work environment where I can thrive and where I am able to be in psychologically safe teams. However, it is up to all of us to be open to change and build a bridge between the two generations that will impact the future of our workplace. I would be more than happy to hear what you think, let’s open this for a discussion that can help us work towards a common goal!
A Gen Z Student
Author: Ms An Nguyen, Hospitality & Business Bachelor student at Hotel Institute Montreux (from Romania/ Vietnam)