While most organizations are still grappling with Gen Y, the leading minds in media, marketing and young entrepreneurs are already discussing Gen Z and how to engage them. Yesterday in NYC, influencers, celebrities and big brands came together to create new ideas at PTTOW! Sessions.
For those of you concerned with creating the organization of the future, here are three themes I picked up from #PTTOW!Sessions that you should be thinking about:
It’s not enough to simply attach your brand to a cause or a person, like a car bumper sticker. This reeks of inauthentic behavior and is likely to be viewed cynically. Gen Z and Gen Y know you have a business to run (which they don’t mind) and they know the power they have as consumers. They vote with their dollars and their feet. They consciously choose where to spend depending on the causes they care about. And they will consciously choose – to the extent possible- for whom they work in ways that they can believe in.
When Gen Y and Gen Z are in charge they will simply get rid of a lot of stuff that vexes some Managers today, like flexible working and dress codes.
In a world where a teenager can literally become an overnight Instagram star, employees of the future are being shown that success is about what’s within them, rather than being dependent on institutions to provide them with the route-map. Organizations of the future need to be prepared for a changing power dynamic between organization and individual.
Gen Z and Gen Y know how to use their voice. They can sniff inauthenticity from a mile off. And they will call you out. Publicly; via their own social media channels. As an organization, you simply won’t be able to control the way you are represented in the way you have before. You’ll be in social media via the personal experience of your employees. Make sure they want to say things that you wish you had said yourself.
Work-life balance already sounds old-fashioned. These generations live the truth that you are a whole person, whether at work or at home. For Gen Y and Gen Z the causes they care about are integrated with the way they earn their living and move through their career. It doesn’t matter which causes your organization supports, but it does have to make an authentic, committed, choice.