Deliver engaging financial education on young adults' smartphones using gamification and embedded incentives.
Bolun Li, CEO/co-founder of Zogo

Attract young leaders: 3 tips

Provide transparency and a sense of ownership.

June 1, 2021

At Zogo, many of our employees are in their early to mid-20s. Since we’re building a financial literacy app for Generation Z, it made sense for our team to be young and able to think similarly to our app’s target demographic.

Gen Zers are energetic, passionate, and willing to give their all. Throughout the past two years, my team has taught me a lot about leadership, especially when it comes to leading a Gen Z workforce.

As credit unions bring this next generation of leaders into the workforce, here are three tips on attracting and retaining young talent.

1. Provide a sense of ownership

Micro-managing doesn’t work for Gen Z. They want the freedom to pursue their own vision and they like to feel a sense of ownership of their projects.

A recent example: We hired a college graduate to assist with client relations. Instead of having him just sit in on calls while someone more senior leads, I offered him the opportunity to lead a call just two days into the job.

Not only did he jump at the opportunity, he devised his own way of structuring client calls which turned out to be more effective than our existing approach.

Put them in the drivers’ seat, set key performance indicators, have them own it, and provide the resources needed to succeed. Those are by far the most important elements for engaging Gen Z in the workplace.

2. Provide transparency

“Bolun, you need to be on time for meetings. You’re always a few minutes late.”

This is the type of feedback I’d get from weekly one-to-one meetings with my team—to the point and transparent.

Gen Zers aren’t afraid to voice their opinions, whether in a social justice movement or in the workplace. Create an environment where they can safely and freely express their opinions and criticisms.

3. Embrace your social mission

Our job openings attract many Gen Z applicants because they believe in our mission of improving financial literacy for younger generations through gamification. We highlight our mission all the time.

Credit unions have an inherent advantage when competing with larger banks for young talent. The overarching mission of credit unions – people helping people – is so compelling.

Credit unions should emphasize their social impact and mission to entice younger applicants. It will give Gen Zers a strong reason to work for a credit union over a more traditional corporate role.

I credit much of Zogo’s success to the energy and excitement my team brings to the table every day. I strongly encourage credit unions to recognize the importance of having young talent at the core of your workforce.

BOLUN LI is CEO and co-founder of Zogo, a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider.