At XYZ University, our area of expertise is teaching organizations how to engage Generations X, Y, and Z; those skeptical, instant-gratification generations who were raised on technology and credit cards and are often labeled socially inept, entitled slackers.
Indeed, these generations are different from the generations that have come before them. They are moving to a different beat –but it’s their beat that has the power to make or break any organization. At 120 million people, by 2015 Generations X and Y will be the majority; the majority vote, majority workforce, and majority consumer spending.
Is your organization prepared and capable of engaging a young, powerful group of employees, members, and consumers? Here’s how to capture – and lose – the favor of the future majority.
5 Ways to Engage Us
- Include us: In marketing, there are still messages being delivered without inviting participation. In boardrooms, the average age of directors still hovers at 58. Younger generations want to be valued. We want to participate.
- Make it easy: If we don’t get it right away, or at least see how to get it, we’ll lose interest and move on to something or somewhere else.
- Share: Make everything you do accessible and interactive everywhere, from Facebook to Twitter and especially new trending sites like Pinterest.
- Take a risk: From politics to products, we’re looking for something that’s honest, heartfelt, and stands out from the crowd. Perfection doesn’t resonate with us; reality does.
- Give it meaning: Generations X and Y readily seek out opportunities to make a difference in the world. Do good and we will engage with your brand.
5 Ways to Disengage Us
- Take yourself too seriously: Being funny and having fun is powerful, especially with Generations X and Y. Laughing makes us feel closer to each other and closer to your brand.
- Be vague: Mission statements sound great in the boardroom, but they but mean next to nothing to a 20-something who will skip an ad after about 0.7 seconds.
- Sell us something: From the moment we consider buying a new car to the moment we trade it in for a new one, we want to be engaged. Give us an experience, not a product.
- Talk down to us: If you don’t respect younger generations, it will be obvious throughout your entire company culture and turnover will be imminent. We go where we are wanted.
- Do nothing: The worst thing you can do is recruit a Gen X or Y to your company, board, or association and then do nothing. We expect to be challenged, motivated, and included each and every day. We expect to be engaged.