Gen Z is more than “just purpose”

“It seems as if working for the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods industry has become more respected after COVID. The World has seen the importance of supply chain excellence. Of keeping the wheels running, providing governments, businesses, and consumers with necessities. This has become a present purpose for this industry. I think we all have felt it on ourselves”. The words come from Nadja Minde, Senior Consultant at Mangaard & Partners – Executive Search.

Having worked within this industry for now considerable time, it is interesting to see things in a larger perspective. This has made my day-by-day more intensive, more interesting, really helping businesses in finding their next talents. Interesting summing up from Nadja, who continues;

We see a generational shift taking place in Retail, FMCG, and Logistics. The three key areas, I have a special passion for. Focus is on what we from our global assignments observe as core components in what we call tomorrow’s leadership profiles. The ability to seeing trends, observing patters on a larger scale, and connecting the dots to daily ops at the same time as building company resilience and agility.  Executing on strategy, that is.

Furthermore, we also see a demand for a high confidence in technology driven development, combined with a genuine passion for working with people. Yes. This hybrid profile is what is sought after, across regions. Also, in the industries I work with.

As Executive Search professionals, we are uniquely positioned to provide essential insights about where talent is and immediate feedback about their wants and needs. This is more than just connecting people.

Therefore, I found this Danish article interesting when talking about attracting tomorrow’s talents. Somehow, there is a narrative that younger generations pursue purpose harder than the older. This article proves the opposite – or at least puts the statement into perspective.

The article focuses on engineering and nature scientist graduates; however, the trend seems to be global and across industry focuses. It is important to be aware of this trend, as we tend to put strong emphasis on purpose, especially when addressing younger generations. According to the survey, meaningfulness comes on the 7th place, when ranking important issues for choosing future career steps. Assumedly, the massive presence of CSR and purpose-based narratives, has caused people becoming fatigue or maybe there is a mismatch between culture they observe, and the corporate statements sent from the boards. In other words, often ‘purpose’ is seen as being more as a” marketing strapline.”

To successfully define and, perhaps more importantly, articulate the purpose to its people, an organisation must have a clear view of its culture. Moreover, culture is no longer to be defined by CEO and top management but rather by broader circles of employees. Only then it is truly authentic and truly inclusive.

Besides culture and purpose seen as important building blocks for the company, another one is increasingly important, non-negotiable, it is financial liquidity and stability. “Cash is still the king”, as pandemic has shown, it is a prerequisite for company survival, de-risking business and driving it forward. There will be a lot of focus on this going forward, together with the sustainability agendas and people agendas.

By putting people first (well, you must understand them first) companies will show, not tell, what company is all about. It is nice to be inspirational and inclusive in the communication, but it is even more important to be authentic and understanding the individual needs. And those needs are being re-evaluated as we speak.

Gen Z is here. At Mangaard & Partners we meet them. Every day. Do not be deceived. They are driven by purpose. They are brought up in a digitally connected, global World, with a limited number of boundaries. They learn from their younger years the value of paying forward, having adopted sharing economy, thinking of their moves in a larger scale, feeling responsible for tomorrow. However, they share the same dreams as older generations have. They, too, want to be acknowledged, having financial stability, feeling secure, having realistic perspectives available in their careers and lives. Gen Z is more than just purpose. Play them well.

Years of experience from leading HR roles have taught me that understanding people is key to success. Also for you as an HR pro.

Nadja Minde comes with a significant experience in leading positions building winning teams in the brewery industry, and lately from the global supply chain logistics industry, connecting people, defining tomorrow’s company cultures, and understanding the key role professional HR plays in a modern company.

Arbejdsgiverne skal til lommerne: Generation Z prioriterer lønnen højest | PeopleTech PRO (

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