Watch out! Gen. Z will transform the world!
Greta Thunberg was in Bristol last week and I was interested to see just how much support she received from around 30 000 young people.
She spoke briefly about climate change being an emergency that is ignored by politicians and those in power. She believes promises are just ‘beautiful words’. She called on her followers to act like ‘the adults in the room’ and entreated the crowd to ‘act’ saying that activism works and that change through history has come from the people.
Her actual closing words were:
"We are being betrayed by the people in power and they are failing us but we will not back down.
"If you feel threatened by that, then I have some very bad news for you - we will not be silenced because we are the change and change is coming whether you like it or not.
"Thank you and let's march."
Greta Thunberg is a member of Gen Z; our newest generation category.
These are powerful and emotive words from a young woman who has already been nominated for two Nobel awards and is yet to reach her eighteenth birthday. So, what is my point? Greta Thunberg is a member of Gen Z; our newest generation category. They are aged between 4 and 24 and will be our next crop of graduates shortly looking for careers.
You can expect Gen Z youngsters to be quite different from Millennials. They are sceptical, individual and interestingly, according to Josh Miller, a speaker, researcher and thought leader on all things Generation Z, writing in HR Magazine. He says Gen Z have finances very much in their focus.
This is a shock to those who've tried hard to focus on employee engagement.
Gen Z are more interested in financial security so they can pay the exorbitant rent they are forced to stump up for accommodation. Compensation and benefits are key drivers to this new breed of workers. After all, they have opportunities older people of which, could barely conceive. They work because they must, but their identity doesn’t come from their jobs. They want financial stability to fund their lives. Millennials are considerably more touchy feely and want to be fulfilled, Gen Z sneers; their priorities are quite different.
Gen Z wants to be connected.
They will share their ideas quickly and effectively; they can be corralled rapidly. What politician wouldn’t give their soul for a rally of 30 000 people on a Friday? They are so diverse they don’t even recognise diversity as a category. That’s the point. ‘People in power’ need to be transparent, they need to be genuine, they must make action follow ‘beautiful words’ otherwise they will be called out. You can’t use tired approximations of ideas you think you’d better include in a policy document.
If you believe sustainability is important, then ensure your company really does follow through on the vision.
A good example of this is the company Firmenich that deliver inclusive growth for both people and the planet. It’s a big claim but they are making a different on climate action, ensuring reductions in inequalities, health and well-being and promoting partnerships.
Their CEO Gilbert Ghostine is head of a family company. He believes firmly that business should be a force for good and this is the main reason sustainability is placed at the very heart of everything they do. Their performance and sustainability report is downloadable from their home page. Therefore, if you are looking for a financially secure job it may as well be at a company that would like to see inequality driven out and the planet prospering.
In addition, Gen Z is really quite entrepreneurial.
They have tech skills that put most people to shame and they understand that money can be made with few overheads if you know what you are doing. Apparently 14% of these youngsters already own a business so how interested are they really going to be working for your company?
Greta Thunberg is just one member of Gen Z and she is making a considerable impact.
To attract young people into conventional businesses, more than ever we have to think hard about what we stand for and how attractive our current offering might be. Young people are becoming mobilised and they are coming to get us. They want change, they want a voice and they want promises kept. We have all been warned.
If you want to discuss how to recruit for future needs do please give me a call for a no obligation chat; I would love to help you find the very best people to push your business forward.