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Dealing with a Young Workforce - Colleen McCreery, former Chief People Officer at Zynga

Young people have very little leadership or life experience but they are the experts in what ZYNGA, a technology company, are trying to do. Colleen McCreary, Chief People Officer, ZYNGA says the key to success with a young workforce is to trust them to make the right decisions in their areas of expertise.

The huge advantage a young workforce has over an older one in the technology industry is that they grew up immersed in it and cannot imagine life without it. They understand what implications this has and how to design for that world.

Sometimes they are also lucky enough to be naturally good leaders but obviously this is an area that ZYNGA needs to be on top of. They have training Boot Camps and lots of on-the-job learning to build their leadership skills but at the end of the day Colleen says they are the experts and they have to be trusted.

Within ZYNGA there is a big stress on collaboration throughout the company. They really cherish and embrace input from all levels and expect everybody, whatever their role, to own the decision making process. They make sure they are constantly telling their stories of what is going on so everyone is involved. This is done through various different channels ranging from weekly executive emails to Happy Hour every Friday with free beer and wine. They have Product Manager meetings every Friday lunch where even those in India and China will stay up into the middle of the night to make sure they don’t miss out.

Colleen says the key to why their employees want to stay is that they are learning, being challenged and feel they are rewarded when they do the right thing.


SPEAKER INFO: Colleen McCreary was a key speaker at Wavelength Connect event On Your Marks 2013. To view more videos from this event go to On Your Marks 2013.


COMPANY INFO: Zynga Inc. is a leading developer of the world’s most popular social games that are played by more than 100 million monthly consumers. The company has created evergreen franchises such as FarmVille, Zynga Casino and Words With Friends. Zynga’s NaturalMotion, an Oxford-based mobile game and technology developer, is the creator of hit mobile games in popular entertainment categories, including CSR Racing, CSR Classics and Clumsy Ninja. Zynga games have been played by more than 1 billion people around the world and are available on a number of global platforms including Apple iOS, Google Android, Facebook and The company is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

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