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Gen Z & Wellbeing Part I - Context

Gen Z is difficult! No, they are not. They only come across as difficult because you don't understand them.

Let's start with their context. Gen X raised them to be independent and figure things out by themselves. Many people say that Gen Z has experienced many changes and crises, but when you look at history, previous generations had their fair share of crises too.

How we grow up is important, but not so much from a change or crisis point of view. What we see while growing up is more influential.

Gen Z has seen more women and people from different racial backgrounds in leadership roles and parliament than any other generation. You don't need to talk to them about diversity. It comes naturally to them.

Due to physical and virtual open borders, they have developed a worldview. What happens on the other side of the globe can easily become their problem.

They have witnessed the disintegration of family structure which has negatively impacted their trust, loyalty, and approach to any form of relationship.

The Kardashian culture has shown them that individual expression is the key to success. Therefore, they require personalised treatment and individual undivided attention. They don't want to be just another member of a group. They want to be recognised and treated as individuals based on their unique needs.

But most importantly, the most significant aspect that has shaped this generation is global social and political agendas such as climate change, gender equality, self-expression, the Arab Spring etc., which have all taught them one thing; Speaking Up. Every global agenda and event had one thing in common. All required speaking up. So they have learned it.

Lastly, one more thing we have taught them very well. We taught them about the importance of breaking bad habits or, as I like to say it, leaving things in the past that will not serve us in the future. They understand that one of the greatest mistakes is to impose our suffering, old-school or unnecessary practices on the next generation. The "I have suffered and worked donkey years to get here, so you need to do the same" will not fly with them.

The workplace has evolved because the world has evolved. We went from:

  • No complaining to speaking up

  • Dedication to the employer to dedication to self

  • Group identity to Individual identity and expression

  • Dependent on the employer to independent

  • From no choice of generating money to the abundance of choices

  • Love & dedication to the team/community to the transactional nature of work

Everything has evolved, but our workplace practices. They are driven by the lingering status quo that negatively impacts the wellbeing of Millenials and Gen Z.

Don't get me wrong; those practices were needed when rebuilding countries after WWII. We needed group mentality, conformity, and the stiff upper lip attitude to get things done. We needed all the processes to run massive factories, build global infrastructures, healthcare & social systems, and lay the foundation for what we have today.

Everything we see today is because of those rigid workplace practices and mentality shaped by old times. We could not have done it with today's mentality and the characteristics of the younger generations. So, thank you!!!! We cannot be more grateful!

But it is time to evolve and allow workplaces to catch up to what is today. To meet the context & needs of today and the near future. Our job now is to build future workplaces together with these young chaps instead of desperately trying to drag them back into the past. These workplaces are theirs, not ours. Even if we stay (older generations), we will be the minority and will be ruled by them at some point.

In five years, 75% of the workforce will consist of Millenials, and you still have Gen Z and Generation Alpha is knocking on the door. By 2030, 11% of the workforce will be Gen Alpha.

Wouldn't it make sense if we combined our wisdom with their new ways of thinking and helped these guys build the future of work the way they want it?

Imagine your kids are building a house they will live in. You would guide that inexperienced person in the process, right? But you wouldn't build and furnish it for them how you like it and tell them this is how they need to live because this is how you have been living for the past few decades. So why do we do that at work when we are on our way out?

This tag of war of who is the best generation is impacting everyone's wellbeing. Can we just all understand our changing roles within the workplace and work together?

How? Let's talk about that in part II.

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