To Learn What Emerging Leaders Want, Ask the Right Questions

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<span>To Learn What Emerging Leaders Want, Ask the Right Questions</span>
Bottom Line:

Almost 50% of today’s workforce includes millennials or Gen Z. We are the workforce of the future and are defining “new norms” of what we hope our work environment will look like in the long term. To learn what we want, you should know the questions we ask ourselves. After surveying my 30 Under 30 peers and a few industry peers, I gathered below the top five things that are important to us with takeaways to consider.

By: Ophélie Le Livec, Creative Design Specialist at Visit Norfolk / 30 Under 30 Class of 2022

1.  Opportunity for growth, career, and promotion

Multiple studies show that we millennials and gen Z are more interested in professional growth opportunities at one organization and career progression to upper-level management. We want stability, are thinking of our futures and will often ask ourselves:

  • What skills can I get to bring value to my company and increase my pay?
  • What should I do to get promoted and how long will it take?

    How much money is my company willing to invest in me to get more education?


Something that I have noticed is that we rarely see the career growth plan/budget/education listed on job descriptions/postings and it isn’t shared well internally.

  • Do you give access to magazine subscriptions? 
  • Do you send your employees to conferences?
  • Do you provide your employees with a budget to spend on education?
  • What about considering the Dolly Parton solution? Transparency is key.

Consider this: 

  • Add to your website and job descriptions/postings your career growth plan per employee
  • Provide your employee with a budget to spend on education
  • List your opportunities for growth (subscriptions, conferences, LinkedIn Training, etc.)

2.  Fair Pay and Compensation 

When applying for jobs, one of the first things we look for and one of the things often missing from job postings is the salary. If you can’t retain emerging leaders with fair pay, they will likely find somewhere that will, or that offers them an opportunity to grow. Some of the first questions that come to our minds as Millennials and Gen Z when it comes to pay include:

  • Can I be independent?
  • Will I be able to afford a house?
  • Can I save money for a trip?
  • Can I start a family with my pay and still have money left at the end of the month to enjoy life?

And from the employer side, think of what you can do to retain and attract talent:

  • How often do you re-evaluate your employees' salaries?
  • Do you take time to look at what they are bringing to your company?
  • How do you recognize their investment and keep them motivated?

Consider this: 

  • Add a salary range to your job postings/descriptions.
  • Share whether you re-evaluate your employee's salaries often. What about increases?

3.  Work-life balance, Remote and Hybrid options

Lots of us have seen our parents staying late at work, working overtime and feeling stressed coming home from work and we don’t want that for ourselves. Work-life balance is an important detail when applying for a job. In fact, one study shows that “72% of workers believe work-life balance is a very important factor when choosing a job” (2023 statistics). Work-life balance has more benefits than you could imagine: it helps lower our stress, increase our productivity, boost mental health and reduce burnout, gives us more time to pursue personal goals and opportunities and more. Sharing that you value your employees’ health and wellness is important.

  • With all these benefits, don’t you agree that work-life balance is something you should highlight more on your job postings/job descriptions and website?
  • Why did you implement this lifestyle? What do you want these benefits to bring to your employee? Work-life balance? Health and wellness?
  • Taking time off helps us recharge and has a positive impact on our health. Do you have all holidays off, and approximate days of PTO/year listed on your website/job postings?

Consider this: 

  • Write what your schedule looks like. Flex schedule? Hybrid options? Fully remote? 
  • Add what PTO looks like on your job postings (holidays off, approximate days off per year)
  • Employee benefits

4.  Culture and inclusive work environment, feeling valued, sense of purpose

A diverse and inclusive workplace is something that makes us all, regardless of who we are or what we do for our companies, feel equally involved and supported in all areas of our workplace. I always see the mission and visions highlighted on websites when it comes to our company goals. However, I have not seen a lot of companies sharing what their work environment looks like. The way you look inside is how you could affect the way you are perceived outside by your partners/ community.

  • What makes you stand out from other places?
  • How do you highlight diversity, equity and inclusion?
  • Is everyone welcome to work in your company? 
  • What do you do to make your employees feel valued?


Let your employees know they are appreciated, bring value to your company, and show future candidates why your employees matter to you, tell your story! Here are a few examples of a few places that have done a great job at sharing their values and benefits, the value of tourism and DEI initiatives: Charlottesville and Baltimore.

Consider this: 

  • Share your values
  • Include DEI initiatives and statement on your website
  • Recognitions (do you celebrate staff anniversaries, birthdays, awards?)
  • Community engagement (Ex: Crowdriff galleries of staff involved in local events, with partners, with the community)

5. Transparency and open communications with leadership

If you have not noticed yet, emerging leaders can appear to be “blunt,” honest and may appear a bit forward, but we are also very receptive to cultivating an atmosphere of impartiality and tolerance. We are trying to find our place, a place to grow where we feel heard and valued. We want to find a community of people that value the same interests we do. Having open communication and honesty keeps us engaged, builds trust, boosts productivity, supports happiness and more. In fact, “Teams with an open work style are 80% more likely to report high-emotional well-being”- Atlassian.

  • What can you do to keep the conversation going/keep us engaged?
  • How often do you meet with your employees one on one? 
  • How often do you ask your employee simply how they are feeling, find a way to connect with them?
  • What about asking the question Eric Termuende asks his employees “what is your dream and how can I get you there?”

Consider this:

  • Give your staff the opportunity to voice their feelings by sending a regular survey to figure out employees' well-being
  • Share the perks you give your employees (job descriptions/postings)
  • Ask, listen, take action, share the “why”

To wrap up

Our priorities are different from the ones our parents had for themselves. When we share our values and what’s important to us as emerging leaders, we are being sincere. We are envisioning what our future might look like, what we are willing to accept and hope will change. Have you asked leaders in your DMO how they envision their future?

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About the Author

Ophélie Le Livec

Content Marketing Manager
Destinations International

Ophélie, also known as Ofé, is a passionate marketing storyteller with 11+ years of international experience in the travel and tourism industry. With a strong background across various departments of DMOs, her expertise shines in delivering innovative solutions and crafting captivating marketing plans that drive visitation and revenue growth. As a DI 30U30 class of 2022 emerging leader, she deeply understands diverse markets and effortlessly adapts to different audiences.

Ophélie spent over six years at VisitNorfolk before joining Destinations International in November 2023. During her time there, she made history by crafting VisitNorfolk's first in-house City Guide, a remarkable accomplishment that continued to thrive year after year. She also oversaw all in-house design, including presentations, flyers, brochures, and more, while actively collaborating with every department to maintain a strong and consistent brand cohesion and awareness.

Passionate about travel and storytelling, Ofé's purpose is to help partners and members and offer unique ideas that leave a lasting impact and hope to make meaningful connections and friends worldwide. 

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