Connecting with Generation Z’s Perspectives through Vulnerability

October 27, 2023



Connecting with Generation Z’s Perspectives through Vulnerability

Connecting with Generation Z’s Perspectives through Vulnerability

Danielle Farage is a Gen Z, digital native and nomad, and a work futurist. Danielle helps seasoned senior executives attract and better understand their young workers as well as giving advice to fellow early career talent so they can find employers who will support their growth and mental health. Danielle explains how vulnerable approaches help connect us with others’ experiences. She shares insights about what resonates with Gen Z, from culture, values, and leadership, to onboarding and career progression, especially for those entering the workforce for the first time.


[02:46] Danielle's interests have always been closely connected with people, leading her to major in psychology.

[04:49] Danielle notices her older siblings did not love their jobs.

[05:17] Danielle asks herself why do companies not treat their employees like human beings?

[07:26] Focusing on leadership, Danielle discovers the best leaders have good human skills including empathy and active listening.

[08:18] Danielle’s first job is an internship turned full-time, turned remote by the pandemic, and deteriorates.

[10:45] Danielle has an exemplary leader as her next boss.

[12:23] Valuing a tough initial experience, Danielle is pushed further and develops a broad array of new skills

[13:49] Onboarding was a meaningful experience, firstly, highlighting diversity and inclusion and their steps to eliminate bias.

[15:39] Secondly, the Head of Sales breaks down Danielle’s goals showing they are interested in her growth.

[17:02] Why a three-month contract to start is such a win for Danielle.

[21:04] Producing different events, Danielle notices conversations about the Next Generation do not include inputs from Gen Zers.

[22:28] Danielle starts sharing her voice moderating ideas about mental health, culture, and leadership.

[24:25] Mixing a diversity of people and of ages is key to building generational bridges.

[25:15] Danielle's audiences on LinkedIn are mostly older decision makers and on Instagram are Gen Zers.

[26:39] Danielle finds being curious and open-minded, she is able to start changing people's minds.

[27:15] Danielle shares a recent situation explaining her point of view about leadership vulnerability.

[30:17] how people's experiences affect their perspectives about loyalty.

[31:11] What the right culture looks like to Danielle.

[35:23] Gen Zs didn't start ‘job-hopping’ or ‘quiet quitting’, they illuminate existing problems.

[37:08] Fear, uncertainty, expectations, and choices make career exploration challenging for Gen Z.

[40:35] Startup experience—wearing multiple hats—and rotational programs are helpful for early career talent to experience.

[41:10] To recruit and retain people, invest in them.

[42:29] Students coming out of college still don’t feel prepared for the workforce.

[45:00] Danielle asks friendtorship workshop attendees three questions to help them discover what they want to learn.

[46:50] Discovering people's knowledge bases, skills and interests to leverage people for the job they were hired into AND the job they might want to explore.

[48:48] IMMEDIATE ACTION TIP: Inspire younger employees in ways that will benefit them as well as being vulnerable — such as sharing daily stressors as points of connection to empathize, and mutual support and accountability.

[53:24] Gen Z is motivated to make change but disheartened by how inauthentic Corporate America is.

[54:53] Danielle shares succinct advice for people whose career launch was impacted by the pandemic.


“Why does it seem like companies are treating people like cogs in a wheel rather than human beings with lives and aspirations and goals and children?... The problem must be that people in these organizations don't really understand what people want.”
“It was a three-month contract, which I really appreciated: it’s a full-time job but if it’s not the right fit, it’s not the end of the world. And you haven’t invested so much into them to the point of an average employee, which can be a higher cost.”

“I would want my leader to talk about some of the vulnerabilities that they struggle with so that I could feel safe enough to come to tell them what I have to deal with.”

“You're looking at an entry-level job that requires you to have two to five years of experience, no guaranteed training, and there’s no pension, there’s no lifelong employment. You’re an at-will employee, which means you can literally be fired any time. Would you commit to staying 25 years with that?”

“The ideal is those rotational programs where you get to really experience different things. I think that’s the best investment a company can make in early career talent. I think it’s a great way to recruit and retain people.”