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How the Youth of Today Are Moving the Workplace Forward

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How the Youth of Today Are Moving the Workplace Forward

Youth Day is a poignant day for all South Africans but as young people born in the nineties or ‘Millennials’ come of age, there seems to be growing cause for celebration as they come together to drive our nation forward, changing the face of the world of work as we know it.

In South Africa, there is a prevailing trend to also refer to Millennials as the “Born Frees” because they never experienced the Apartheid era. Their experience of life is so fundamentally different from that of their predecessors, that our country’s youth have a very unique perspective of the world. It is precisely this unique perspective which gives the youth of today skills that are moving our workplace forward.


Managing Millennials

“Generational theory can be extremely useful to managers wishing to tailor their leadership approach to suit their team members. Millennials, who are currently in their 20s, can be something of a mystery to the more stable Baby Boomers, born in the fifties, and Generation X-ers who came into this world between 1960 and 1989,” says managing director for Kelly, Graham Bentley.


For those with members of today’s youth in their team, Bentley outlines several key characteristics of this younger generation and how to extract the best from your members of staff and drive the country’s development goals:

  • Their Job is Their Life: The trend to get married and start families later on in life means that the youth focus their full attention on their careers. Increased productivity will not only drive South African business forward, but also helps with the national agenda of upliftment and empowerment for all.
  • Speaking Up: “Born-Frees” are righting the wrongs of the past by exercising their right to be heard. Instead of settling for less and hoping their circumstances will change, the youth are confident and willing to express themselves freely and effectively in their working environment.
  • The Next Step on the Ladder: The sky is the limit for the ambitious youth so provide your “Born Frees” with opportunities for growth and job satisfaction will in turn rate high on their employee surveys. Upward mobility can only drive the South African workplace forward as the youth work hard to better their lot in life.
  • Their Own Boss: Entrepreneurship has long been hailed as a key driver of South Africa’s economy. It is good news indeed that the country’s youth feel driven to be their own bosses. As a manager, make sure you give them the responsibility they need to feel like they are masters of their own destinies.
  • Digital Gurus: The modern youth were born into the digital age and as such technology comes more naturally to them than their Baby Boomer and Generation X counterparts. Every team needs a youthful representative and their digital skills to drive projects forward.

The Youth of Today

While the tragic circumstances that mark Youth Day will never be forgotten, this year we can celebrate the youth of our country because they are ensuring that South Africa is productive, entrepreneurial in spirit, inspired, motivated and digitally minded. Let us give thanks because it is these qualities that will no doubt help drive our country forward.

Last modified on Monday, 11 August 2014 10:02

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