Dear CEOs of the world,
In recruiting processes, a lot is expected from us, recent graduates, to get an opportunity in the corporate world. It is known that “competition” is very tight and we have to be on our best behavior to land that dream job that seems so close yet is so far away. Both sides of this equation, students that are entering the job market and top managers of the world, know the step up that recruiting processes have suffered throughout the years. Needless to say, we know that it’s essential for employers to get to know the person they are hiring, and with a lot of potential candidates, it’s a fact that students have to differentiate themselves through several recruiting stages. Nevertheless, all these expectations also exist and are clearly growing from our side, your candidates. 

Nowadays, all of us have the world in our hands: with the digital revolution and globalization, general access to information is at a distance of a click. Thus, it would be expected that unethical behavior from corporations would be well scrutinized and exposed. This clearly is the case, given that students have the possibility to leverage the information they have about certain corporate practices and benchmark them to different corporate cultures. Additionally, with the growing tendency for people to shy away from isolated economic benefits, sustainable and inclusive companies start to become the norm rather than the exception. Thus, a generation of students that have high expectations about the organizations they are involved in is booming. 

Taking part in a university student club, such as Equality in Business, certainly opens up communication regarding expectations for the corporate world. This fact is exacerbated by the close contact students get to have with several companies that participate in the clubs’ events and dynamics. Specifically, these new insights lead us, Equality in Business student club members, to reflect upon the corporate reality we know, and the efforts that are being made to improve this reality. For this, we present you with some topics relevant to recent graduates that soon will enter the workplace, with hopes that you all, CEOs of the world, can better understand what students also expect from you.

Remote Work Reality 
Covid-19 really came to change the way we approach work and productivity. The pandemic clearly accelerated a scenario that was already seen by some as a predictable way in which work-life would be changed. Although remote work is certainly not a dream reality for most of us, it surely brought awareness to the fact that we don’t actually need to spend the whole day in the office in order to get work done. Between commute time, office breaks and putting yourself together to meet the standards of the company's dress code, a lot of productive time is being put to waste. Additionally, being at home for some of the working days makes it easier for us to conciliate work with our personal lives and other hobbies, and in general, may contribute to some happier employees!

Work-life Balance 
The topic of remote work really resonates with the desire for us, students entering the workplace, to have a balance between our working lives and our personal lives. Employers valuing employees’ interests outside of the workplace is one of the things we all dream about. Actually, employers don’t usually realize the positive change that comes with knowing that your boss truly trusts your work, and thus gives you some independence when organizing your schedule. Furthermore, and although we are not thinking of being parents in the near future, it’s clear that in that time of our lives we want to have the space to place our kids' needs first. Thus, an example that could lead to employee retention and satisfaction could be celebrating employees that can finish their tasks on time, instead of promoting the working overtime culture - of course, working overtime sometimes is necessary, but it shouldn’t be the norm!  
Protection of Mental Health 
Doweling into the understanding corporate culture topic, and given the growing role mental health is having in all of our lives, students agree that our employers should work towards protecting employees' mental health. Unfortunately, it’s a fact that mental health-related issues are growing in their prevalence, and phenomena such as “burnout” are happening with growing frequency. As a generation that fought to normalize mental health-related issues, we want to feel that our employers not only also normalize them, but actually work towards not being a source of mental clutter for us. For example, someone who has a bad time sleeping due to anxiety would greatly benefit from understanding leaders that could accommodate work for them and actually allow them to begin working at a different schedule. Hence, working life won’t be just another stressor for employees that are struggling, and great appreciation could come out of these kinds of work adaptations.
Collaborative Environment 
Another relevant topic, that all of us students greatly value, is having a collaborative environment in our workplace. From the experience we have from previous group work, we acknowledge that sometimes it’s hard to find a team that supports you and guides you, so that the team itself can present the best results possible. In fact, an environment of collaboration, where it’s expected for everyone to feel comfortable asking questions and where constructive feedback is being clearly offered, is essential for building a stronger and focused company. 
Sustainability & Inclusion
Last but certainly not least, we would like to address the topic of sustainable and inclusive corporations. Nowadays, our generation perceives the places we spend the most time at, such as our working place and its corporate culture, as an extension of our personality. So, more than ever, students want the organizations they are connected with to morally reflect the choices they make regarding what they personally think it’s right. With all the information that is available, issues as diverse as global warming and the discrimination against minorities, start to move a lot of us. Thus, on a personal level, we actively adopt responsible choices that work against these threats to the planet and to society. Nevertheless, we are very aware that organizations have a huge role in all of these topics. On one hand, corporations and industries, such as the fashion and the meat & dairy industry, are the main causes of environmental pollution. Thus, we expect these industries to work to minimize the impact they have on the planet by making sustainable processes and initiatives a priority. On the other hand, we believe that corporations reflect the society we live in and end up feeding many kinds of discrimination against minorities. In our view, these organizations should set the example and actively fight to reduce inequalities and increase diversity.

In conclusion, given that life at work and time spent with colleagues represents such a huge part of everyone’s life, it’s reasonable that all of us desire to make the best out of our work experience. Therefore, the generation of students now entering the job market appreciates employers that reflect their own personal beliefs and work towards turning time devoted to work into a meaningful experience. On the other hand, companies should do their best to promote happiness and motivation for their employees, since it’s them that work every day towards making the goals of the organization come true. All things considered, we truly hope the CEOs of this world reflect on these insights so that students and leaders can work together towards a more comprehensive and positive work experience.

Have a great and impactful week!

Equality in Business Club members
Equality in Business is an academic club from CATÓLICA-LISBON students that aims to create awareness about equality in the business world by connecting students and companies for a wider vision.

This article refers to edition #87 of the "Have a Great and Impactful Week" Newsletter.
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