Age of a purposeful workforce

Generation Z are teaching us how to be better citizens, more purpose-fuelled employers and stronger contributors to a more sustainable future. What's in store for us next?

As the ‘war for talent’ intensifies, today’s companies are kept on their toes with regards to their employer brand offering. In yesterdays, providing an adequate salary and benefits together with a comfortable working environment was broadly sufficient to make your workforce happy.

In return, employees dedicated years of their lives working for the same company. In some cases, this would have lasted a lifetime. But with new generations come new types of personalities and the profile of today’s human capital has evolved.

The longevity of a Millennial’s involvement with a company has substantially shrunk when compared to the of a Baby Boomer. Often restless and feeling unsettled at work, the generation we are leading today has a tendency of constantly being on the lookout for a new adventure.

Curriculum Vitae from a younger applicant tends to have far more changes in jobs than that of their more senior counterparts. By no means should this be seen as a negative trait. On the contrary, it serves companies to continuously renew their image and practices to ensure that their current and future workforce remains engaged and happy to be at work.

As the cliché goes, we spend more time with our colleagues than with our family and friends. This added responsibility onto today’s employers to ensure that this reality is worth their while.

Since our accession to the European Union, our workforce has become more cosmopolitan. New work attitudes shaped from the global employment sphere started fusing with those of the locals and together with this, expectations steadily rose to international standards. In the past, an ergonomically designed desk and chair together with the basic equipment required to do one’s job effectively were a good base for a productive workforce.

But just like car extras, what was once considered a luxury has today become a standard. Companies recognised the importance of strategically designing work spaces with the employees’ wellbeing in mind. We once needed to make sure there was sufficient instant coffee for all, today supplying a barista level coffee machine that is capable of making multiple flavoured espressos is the order of the day.

But our most valuable resource is not just concerned about their comfort and what they are getting from us as their employers. A pronounced difference between the demands from team members today to those of twenty years ago as is that they desire to contribute, protect and nurture the planet as well as the global society they live in.

This altruistic drive does not only manifest itself in their personal lives but we have seen over and over again our people proactively adding meaning and purpose to their work life. Companies soon learnt from their personnel’s requirements that whilst designing an attractive interior, consideration must also be given to the outer space the organisation operates in.

A vibrant office building that combines the use of natural lighting and employs energy saving practices together with a solid recycling and upcycling culture has more value in the minds of today’s workforce. As important as this is, it is still relatively passive.

Our people today want to roll up their sleeves and actively combat the threats that the world is facing, such as global warming, equality, the environment, sustainability, Fairtrade and animal welfare, amongst others.

Through experience and observation, we at Zanzi Homes have learnt that the glue that holds it all together is the provision of a meaningful and purposeful work environment. Our people want to wake up in the morning feeling that the next eight hours of their day will be worth more than the value of their remuneration.

This goes beyond knowing how their duties tie in with the company’s strategy. Having a shared ideology which brings together hearts and minds provides our people a sense of belonging especially when these values and believes focus on making our planet a healthier, happier place to live in, not just for the few but for the masses across the globe and our future generations.

However, companies must be aware that a strategy on a fancy looking PowerPoint presentation in which they don’t really believe in, has no value. A complete and honest immersion in the drive to add altruistic value to our working lives is what our people expect from us.

We feel obliged to thank today’s generation for teaching us how to be better citizens, more purpose fuelled employers and stronger contributors to a more sustainable future. We're excited to see what Generation Z has in store for us and the planet.