Sophie's Blog


Dear Gen X and Babyboomer recruitment manager/owner,

  1. Before you complain again about Gen Ys and Zs, consider which generation parented them? Yes, it was your generation, who has created the so-called self entitled generations, whom you now have to deal with as your staff. Due to your helicopter parenting and over-protection, you have created a generation that have higher levels of anxiety than we have previously seen. The Ys and Zs are anxious because you gave them ribbons & awards at school and sports for just turning up, not for extraordinary effort or results. Is it any wonder that Ys and Zs now crave and even demand constant reinforcements and pats on the back for doing what you pay them to do? They are merely searching for what you have trained them for. Whilst you complain and compare the younger generation to when you were young, take a moment to process this awareness and take responsibility for creating your current reality!
  2. When Gen Ys and Zs ask you ‘why’ you do something a certain way, do not take this as a sign of disrespect, but as a healthy enquiry as to ‘why’. After all you have brought them up to be curious and to question authority (sometimes you may even have questioned authority on their behalf e.g. teachers). This questioning and wanting to understand ‘why’ is good for your business or at least for your powers of persuasion, because Ys and Zs are more critical than we were. They have far more access to information via the internet than we ever had. They grew up with disruption and know that status quo is merely there to be changed. To many business owners, this is a god send as if you do not change what you have always done, you will most likely not still be here as a business in the future. Listen to the Gen Ys and Zs as they may actually with their irreverent questioning save your business or even come up with new ideas. If you want to be really radical and committed to working with and learning from Gen Ys and Zs, then start a reverse mentoring program where you get a Gen Y or even a Gen Z to mentor the MD or CEO. Whilst you are fumbling around trying to figure out social media, they live and breathe it. Don’t be stubborn; be open to learning and model for them what having an open mind really looks like. I have a Gen Z son and niece who both started businesses using Facebook and Instagram. Don’t kid yourself; this is their sandpit and you better learn how to play in it quickly!
  3. Yes, Gen Ys and Gen Zs care about the society, they live in, despite what you think. Why else would Corporate Social Responsibility rate so highly on their lists when they choose an employer? This is a good thing. They are teaching you to give back. Rather than having a CSR policy just to attract quality Gen Ys and Zs, link it to their performances e.g. if you offer one paid day per year for them to do charity work, why not give them the option of another, if they smash their targets? It makes them feel good about themselves and about your company.

In short stop blaming Gen Ys and Zs; take responsibility, learn from them and use their drivers to motivate them. Happy managing!

Dear Gen Y and Z recruitment consultant, recruiter, resourcer,

  1. When your manager asks you to do something, they usually have good reason and because they pay you, they have a right to expect that you perform certain duties. Things that are part of your job like interviewing people and making sales calls. Whilst you have been used to being praised just for turning up, this is not how it is in the real world. I know this is a shock as your parents, teachers and sports coaches may have rewarded you for just being there, but now you need to adjust your expectations and know that not being patted on the back every half hour does not mean you are not doing a good job. As you have chosen to work in a competitive sales environment, you need to realise that you will be rewarded amply for your results, both in a monetary and in an acknowledgment sense. Length of tenure, what others get paid or do are completely irrelevant factors, so do not bring them into any performance discussion/review.
  2. To be able to provide you and others with a flourishing workplace, your boss needs to ensure that there is enough staff coverage to run the business and provide services to your clients, temps and candidates, so if you need time off, you have to follow procedure and apply. You may get knocked back, if too many people have asked for leave at the same time or you left it too late to ask. This is a purely commercial decision, not one made to slight you.
  3. Some progressive recruitment companies now offer work from home days to save you travelling time in the name of work/life balance. You are meant to work on these days; please do not ruin their good initiative by choosing always to stay at home on Mondays and/or Fridays. Put your hand on your heart and admit you do this, so you can have a long weekend. Work from home means you have to work. It’s not a sanctioned day off, so if you are not performing, then be prepared for this privilege (yes, it’s a privilege, not a right) to be taken away. If it is, don’t whinge. Perform and maybe you can negotiate to have it back.
  4. Recruitment is a people business first and foremost. The best recruiters are people who care and are genuinely interested in people. When your manager wants you to call and see your clients and candidates, it is because it is impossible to establish meaningful lasting business relationships, let alone partnerships via email and SMS. In a world where everything you look at is curated for you by algorithms, sameness threatens your very ability to see things from various sides and makes it harder for you to be confident in negotiations. By not tapping into human contact, YOU are in danger of being replaced by a smart algorithm because it will beat you at matching key words any day, but it cannot beat you in creating a meaningful relationship with a human. Recruitment is a body contact sport and is engaging, fun and rewarding when you meet and learn from people. Be genuinely curious as everyone has a story and their story is what will make you able to make the best matches. Their story is what you will learn from, what will give you perspective and teach you about human nature and about yourself. Happy recruiting!


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