Book a Speaker
Grow Membership
Reduce Turnover
Generation Z
Talent Development

Gen Z and Your Business: BFFs or Snapchat?

Just as companies are coming to terms with the wave of Gen Ys, another generation is creeping up behind them. Generation Z — the oldest who are turning 19 — are moving en masse into entry-level jobs, colleges, and internships. Born in the late 1990s and early 2000s they make up a quarter of the population and have little in common with their Gen Y predecessors. Here’s what you need to know about Z.

Just as companies are coming to terms with the wave of Gen Ys, another generation is creeping up behind them.

Generation Z — the oldest who are turning 19 — are moving en masse into entry-level jobs, colleges, and internships.

Born in the late 1990s and early 2000s they make up a quarter of the population and have little in common with their Gen Y predecessors. Here’s what you need to know about Z.

Texting

Fifty percent of Generation Zs send at least 50 texts each day. Seriously. Fifty texts a day. Another amazing stat: a whopping 93 percent of Zs use YouTube to view, upload, and comment on videos.

Zs love to contribute their knowledge and opinions. They ignore blogs, detest emailing, and avoid voice messaging. Why? Too many words. Zs prefer information bursts and want communication to be active; they don’t like to just be recipients or observers.

Sharing

For Gen Z, no question has ever been without answer. Raised in a mobile technology-driven world, information has always been at their fingertips. Not surprising, they expect everything to be ‘on-demand’. Why can’t it just work? Why can’t I watch it now? Obstacles don’t bode well with Gen Z.

Interesting enough, Zs believe no one is truly an expert, because there are a gazillion people with knowledge to offer. They have always learned through sharing and consider their friends–BFFs and beyond–influential in their learning. Hierarchy and authority are foreign and irrelevant to Zs.

Awareness

This generation has been referred to as Generation Katniss, named after the heroine in The Hunger Games, for being profoundly anxious about terrorism, climate change, world hunger, and debt. This anxiety stems largely from exposure to media and their front row view to a world plagued with danger.

As a result, today’s teens tend to be less rebellious. In contrast to other generations at this age, the use of drugs and alcohol are at all time lows, and Zs are more tolerant, engage in fewer physical fights, and more trusting of their parents.

While Ys are all about flexibility and freedom, Zs will seek stability and security. While Ys are known to be reward-oriented (dubbed the Trophy Generation), Zs are known to be humble.

Independence

Whereas previous generations relied on pop culture to decipher “what’s cool,” what’s cool to Gen Z is to be yourself. This generation celebrates uniqueness. Their interests are limitless and they don’t define themselves by one activity or interest: They might paddle board and make short films, be into archery and choir.

Get ready. Raised in a highly interconnected world, Zs are accustomed to diversity, inclusion, and tolerance and they aren’t afraid to question established rules, regulations and traditions.

The task of adjusting (again) to the unique needs and wants of an entire generation may seem daunting, but making these changes will benefit your company. Remember: Zs will bring with them fresh ideas and unique skills that only they can provide.

In today’s ever-changing world, every generation has something to learn and something to teach. Companies that welcome the insights of Gen Z and adapt will win.

Those that don’t will be gone in a snap. (Or in Gen Z-speak — gone in a SnapChat.)

Sarah Sladek

Concerned about declining engagement in our nation’s membership associations, non-profits, and workplaces, Sarah Sladek founded XYZ University, the nation’s first and only generations-focused training and engagement strategy company, in 2002.

More posts by this author

Take the first step towards your future.

Looking for a game changer at your next event or a strategy unique to your organization?