To meet the challenges of the future, we need to understand how to attract, engage and motivate our workforce. The Stillmans (father and son) engaged us in an interactive session that will help us better understand Gen Z and how they will change business and communication.
- David and Jonah Stillman, Co-founders, GenZGuru
“If you want to understand a generation,
you have to look at the events and conditions that take place during the generation’s formative years.”
The father-son team exposes the characteristics of Gen Z, which is too often lumped together with Millennials, but is in fact emerging as a unique cohort.
Four key characteristics of Gen Z:
Gen Z has been imprinted by the Great Recession, and is more worried about the economy and considers salary the key factor in choosing an employer. “Gen Z is in survival mode. Our parents told us, ‘you’re going to have to work your butt off’” —Jonah Stillman
Millennials were the “participant award” generation. Gen Z knows they have to work for accolades and success. “Gen Z knows you have to fight hard.” —David Stillman
Gen Z has had the ability to personalize ex-periences from birth, in everything from shoes to the online world where they are instantly recognized. “Since the day we were born we could create our own personal brand.” —Jonah Stillman
The lines between the digital and physical world have not just been blurred, they are no longer acknowledged. Attending a meeting via Skype or in person is basically the same experience. “In terms of Gen Z ‘remote work’ options, they will say, ‘if I’m logged in, aren’t I at work?’ This generation is really going to change it up.” —David Stillman
Gen Z by the numbers
76% are willing to start at the bottom and work their way up
75% believe there are ways of getting a good education without going to college
55% feel pressured by parents to gain early professional experience
61% say they are willing to stay at a company for 10 years
32% have a parent who has started their own business, and 17% want to start their own
91% say tech sophistication will impact their desire to work at a company
In their own words
“Our generation has never seen a political process that works. So people are now standing up for themselves. It shows the power of today’s youth and what’s in store for the future.”
“Gen Z feels competitive towards those they work with. We’d see a lot of companies doing a great job communicating about teamwork and collaboration. That attracts Millennials, not Gen Z.”
Takeaways for CCOs
- Millennials will be managing the Gen Z generation. There will be clashes between the collaborative Millennial and the independent Gen Z, but this can be overcome with two-way mentoring.
- Recruiting Gen Zers might need to start as early as high school, as many of them are already thinking about where they want to work.
- Gen Zers are also the DIY generation, predisposed to teach themselves, and quickly. They need to be mentored to take input from others, and to also slow down at times – to think, and to consider the possibilities around them.