The obsession around sports is evident among multiple generations. Perhaps it’s the intergenerational relationships it fosters. Or with Gen Z, it’s likely the competitive nature ingrained with them. So, how will workplaces harness this trait?
They’re kind of a funny thing, aren’t they? Millions of people put their hearts on the line for a seemingly trivial contest, testing the ability of athletes to achieve greatness. We glorify sports so much to the point where people are willing to spend ridiculous amounts of money to attend sporting events and cheer on their favorite teams.
Nowhere is this more evident than the phenomenon of the Super Bowl, which just took place in my home state of Minnesota. And while it wasn’t quite as exciting as it would’ve been had my Vikings been in the big game (UGH), it was an incredible opportunity to showcase our state on a national stage. But why is the Super Bowl such a big deal? It was only for one football game, right?
Not necessarily. If you think about it, sports may be the only truly intergenerational aspect remaining in our society. Being a Gen Z, I’m going to remember Tom Brady and Lebron James as my childhood idols. Our parents, Gen X, will think of Michael Jordan and Joe Montana as their heroes. But above all, what we remember are our teams and the memories that we can associate with sports.
For example, I will never forget the absolute mayhem when I was in the stands during the famous Minnesota Miracle. And I happened to be with my grandfather. I challenge you to think of any venue other than sports where all generations can experience that emotional roller coaster in an incredible setting. Luckily for all us sports fans, the party isn’t stopping, since we still have the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Another reason Gen Z is so enamored with sports is because we have been raised to compete –in school, sports, and life in general. We obsess over our GPAs, ACT/SAT scores, and class rank. We carry the mindset that we are not necessarily at school to learn, but rather to get good grades. We also put a huge emphasis on competitive youth sports, part of which stems from our parents’ competitiveness.
This trend of competition is surely going to carry into the workforce. When asked, “What would make Gen Z most excited to apply for a job?” in a global survey conducted by XYZ U, the top answer was a good salary. This is simply because we are driven by numbers. Another impact of our competitive mindset, shown in survey responses, is that 72% of Gen Z want to be entrepreneurs. See other survey findings and the full white-paper on Generation Z here.
Above all, the common theme that I’m seeing within my own generation is that sports, whether it be high school or the pros, isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s only growing! And it’s because of our fierce competitive mindset that has grabbed a hold of young people and gotten us so energized about sports.
Now, the challenge stands tall. How can your organization use that competitive mindset to get Gen Z on your team?