Written by Stella H. Kim
Published August 17, 2023
Meritocracy, Transparency, and Equity
Following the “Eager Entrepreneurs,” “Refined Reskillers,” “Introspective Idealists,” and “Principled Partners,” the fifth MZ Generation Career Category is the “Observant Opportunists.”
These are the MZ Generation employees who prioritize transparency and equity. When asked if they are open to consider a new job opportunity, many from this category respond by first asking about the pay range and bonuses. In other words, they will not waste time considering the position unless the compensation is in line with their skills and expectations.
Many MZ Generation employees firmly believe that organizations should recognize and reward accordingly. If they are not evaluated fairly nor rewarded transparently, the MZ generation employees feel at a disadvantage and express their dissatisfaction by leaving the company. According to Deloitte, 62% of employees prioritize higher salary, and 46% look for better benefits in their job search. CareerBuilder found that 24% of workers cite high salary and financial benefits as top reasons for staying at their current company.
Why does the MZ Generation value transparency and fairness? It may be the fierce competition of college admission and job search processes that made them naturally accustomed to test-based systems. Perhaps, they have come to value transparency to overcome anxiety about the uncertain future in a rapidly-changing digital world. According to CareerBuilder, 26% of MZ Generation name overall cost of living as their main concern and worry they may not be able to retire comfortably. As such, they actively assess their own market value and seek transparent evaluation of their ongoing performance and equitable reward for their merits and achievements.
To ensure market competitiveness for talent, many companies have already conducted company-wide salary adjustments by reflecting inflation, market rate, and other variables. They have designed competitive performance-based variable salaries (bonuses, commissions, and stock options) to actively attract and retain talent. However, the compensation programs must be transparent and predictable for the Observant Opportunists to align with the company’s policies and be motivated to drive results.
Therefore, organizations must strategically align and set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are tied to performance bonuses. For some, it’s not just the bonus amount that matters but the projection, calculation, and evaluation that allows them to feel engaged and rewarded. Recently, U.S. tech companies and Korean conglomerates have also introduced a new performance management system called Objectives & Key Results (OKR), which starts with actionable goal-setting to achieve milestones. Here, the process becomes just as important as the outcome.
Lastly, companies must conduct frequent performance reviews to give prompt feedback. Traditionally, many companies conduct annual performance reviews once at the end of the year, but many have begun conducting them twice a year or every quarter. Frequent reviews drive greater communication and alignment, higher performance through proactive course-correction, and opportunities for growth and promotions.
The MZ Generation is unlikely to stay at one job for long if they do not see a clear path to promotion, even with a high salary and competitive benefits. Since the Observant Opportunists seek meritocracy and prioritize their market value, we must offer them greater responsibilities and advancement opportunities.
Only once these high-performing next-gen leaders learn to unlock greater leadership can organizations truly advance forward and meaningfully future-proof.
Stella H. Kim, SPHR
HRCap - Chief Marketing Officer & Global VP
Original Source: [전문가 칼럼] 6가지 MZ세대 커리어 유형: (5) '공정한 능력주의자’
Source: HRCap, The Korea Daily, JoongAng Ilbo