The wages of non-evolving leadership… is dearth!

It’s no news that the future of most workplaces in Nigeria is threatened by the corporate pandemic called “The Great Resignation!”. This is coming barely two years after the global molestation of what the health industry might deem as one of the worst pandemics of human history – Covid 19. Unlike Covid, which was a respecter of no one, and swept swiftly through the Nigeria populace irrespective of gender, qualifications, political standing or other societal parameters, The Great Resignation picked its targets and settled for young people falling majorly within the age bracket of Gen Zs and Millennials. The “Japa” season has seen Nigeria empty young talents continuously into willing countries in the last 24 to 48 months and counting. With countries like Canada opening its borders to over 130,000 international students every year, and other countries like the UK and U.S. also topping the list, the outflow of Nigeria’s workforce continues to be an unattended mayhem ripping the corporate world apart.

Despite the convenience of blaming poor economic and political decisions for the brain drain in Nigeria, “Workplace japa” has always been a corporate cancer fed to stupor by the unfortunate menace of stagnant or bad leadership. Although, there will always be the argument that you cannot keep a Gen Zer longer than 2 years, tops, in the same organization, no matter what. Some researches even back this up with hard data. According to a 2022 report by Seamless HR, 70% of the Gen Z working class will not stay on a job for longer than 2 years. I dare say the workplace lifespan is a lot shorter these days for them. Most Generation Z workers are ready to change jobs after just the first one to three months in a new place. Don’t get me wrong, this piece is not a Gen Z slander; a 2021 KPMG report reveals that 22% of millennials are yearning to start a new business, while 20% of Gen X want the exact same thing.

The big question is, what motivates workers to stay or move? I can almost hear you screaming money! And you won’t be far from the truth, but some workers have been known to take pay cuts just to be able to change jobs. One cannot also rule out the drive to populate an intimidating CV/resume for the ultimate job. The reasons would run into a few paragraphs and extend this article unnecessarily so to keep us from going off on a tangent, let’s look at this from a leadership perspective – how do you keep your most valued assets with you?


In 2018, I attended the Dubai Lynx creative festival and one of the speakers talked about how her agency prioritized helping their employees to achieve their personal goals outside of their work at the agency, and I thought this was a brilliant strategy to elicit loyalty. Hold on, don’t hang the messenger just yet, I know what African employers reading this might think… that if they help their employees achieve their personal ambitions outside of their work at the organization, they’re gone! Well, if you don’t, they’re gone anyway. According to a 2020 McKingsey article, employees expect their jobs to bring significant sense of purpose to their lives. The more you are able to help them hack this, the higher your chances are of retaining them for much longer. Each year, most employers take time out to develop, update and feed their corporate goals to their employees, but very few actually know what drives them. The combination of a purposeful workforce and a purpose-driven organization is a lethal threat to any competition in whatever industry you play in.And a company that helps its workers find and achieve their purpose is more likely to become a great place to work, even for Gen Zs.

All work and no play…

I can almost feel you rolling your eyes at how cliché this sounds but the truth cannot be thwarted for feel-good purposes on these kinds of matters. There is a reason some people believe Google is one of the greatest places to work. There is a reason Gen Zers will gravitate towards organizations that take themselves less seriously than others. Loosen up a little! Give your employees a break!

Like the sound of your voice… a little less.

This is a tall order, but this formula doesn’t only work on Gen Zs, but also on millennials, Gen Xers, Boomers or basically anyone who works for you. Cultivate a listening habit and be ready to make learning a two-way street. Gen Zers are a vocal generation;they will push to make their voice heard; so, listen.

The world is always moving. So should you.

The rise of technology as regards workplaces saw a staggering rate of increase after Covid-19 struck. Most organizations had to adapt or die, with most of them coming out on top, the way people would approach work after this, changed rapidly. This meant that more organizations began to realize that operating expenses could dramatically reduce even as corporate goals got smashed. More physical systems found their way into automation, if not fully, but at least to some reasonable extent. However, this also meant that a large percentage of the world’s working populace realized new possibilities in remote working. Some organizations continued to work remotely even after Covid restrictions were lifted. An article published by Computer World indicates that 49% of millennials want to work remotely while 27% of Gen Zs want the same thing. But this part of the article isn’t just about COVID and remote work. Ask yourself this as an employer; how do you evolve with the trends? Are you stagnant and in denial about how swiftly the world is changing? Are you in tune with technological trends? In very recent times, AI has gained more popularity for its amazing capabilities in various industries. How does this affect your business? The question is: will you evolve or die?

Oops! Almost forgot…

One final thing – bump up that pay!

Emeka Otoba leads the Jarvis team at Imaginarium Marketing Communications.