Generation Z

Why They Quit: How To Retain Young Talent

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October 23 @ 5:49 pm CDT

As vaccines are being distributed, there is hope the worst of the pandemic is nearing an end. But if research is any indication, another kind of crisis may just be heating up. As SHRM defines it, a “turnover tsunami” is brewing, with more than half of employees surveyed planning to look for a new job this year. Employers were experiencing high rates of turnover prior to the pandemic. In fact, voluntary turnover had been steadily rising since 2010, and was cited as a chief global concern by both the UN and World Economic Forum. When the pandemic hit, quit rates reached their lowest level in nine years – and now they’re bouncing back. Just this week, I’ve heard from three executives lamenting the loss of young talent. The fact remains that professionals under the age of 39 account for more than half of all voluntary separations. Why? Increased employee turnover is the outcome of a shift in workforce needs and values, and it’s a shift that is here to stay. This is a topic I’ve researched a great detail and the answer is quite complex. In brief, here are two reasons why young professionals are three times more likely than other generations to quit: Inclusion We’re observing an ever-widening gap between twentieth century managed organizations and twenty-first century raised workers. Young professionals don’t understand the management processes and hierarchies common throughout the past century. These generations have only known a world powered by innovation, collaboration, globalization, instant gratification, knowledge, acceptance, and access. They struggle to comprehend why decisions can’t be made on the fly, why they can’t have a seat at the decision-making table, and why it’s always been done ‘that way.’ Stability Millennials came of age during the Great Recession-the worst economic decline our country had experienced in 70 years. Gen Z has come of age during the most disruptive         decade in history. These experiences have shaped the career trajectories of young professionals in more…

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Why your organization can’t afford to ignore virtual events any longer

October 23 @ 5:49 pm CDT

Sarah Sladek is among the panel of experts in the nonprofit, association, and membership management space invited to provide additional insights and advice in response to Wild Apricot’s 2020 Virtual Events Research Report . Read the full article here.   According to Wild Apricot’s findings, virtual events are still a relatively new concept for 50% of organizations. This information tells me organizations have remained mired in the day-to-day, largely ignoring market shifts and trends.   The University of Phoenix became an online collegiate institution in 1989. The first international web conference took place in 1994. YouTube was founded in 2005. Our society has been transitioning to virtual education, events, and entertainment for more than 30 years, and still there are organizations banking solely on in-person events.   The fact is, each generation has become more visual and virtual and better educated than the generation before. Your audience is getting more information, faster than ever before, and continually educating themselves.   In fact, Generation Z, currently ages 11-24, create and consume more information than any other generation. Raised on YouTube and TikTok and the opportunity to enroll in virtual classes at Harvard, Zs are consistently educated and entertained and they are renowned for creating ways to hold companies and leaders accountable.   The point is this: virtual events are here to stay. Your organization can’t continue to ignore the momentum of the past 30 years. Access to virtual events was, is, and will be what your audience expects. Organizations must get out of the once-a-year-conference-hosting mentality to be intentional about connecting, informing, inspiring, and being relevant and present always. Virtual provides that option.   But that advice isn’t only applicable to organizing events, it’s essential to your organization’s future success.  

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image of the generation gap

Why the Generational Topic is More Controversial — and More Relevant — Than Ever

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October 23 @ 5:49 pm CDT

By Sarah Sladek  There’s been considerable debate on the topic of generations. In 2019, the ‘OK, Boomer’ campaign reached a fever pitch globally. The phenomenon started when an unidentified Boomer man posted a rant on TikTok against young people. Thousands of teens and 20-somethings on TikTok responded, posting videos and memes and even creating ‘Ok, Boomer’ merchandise. The campaign has been referred to as a “mass retaliation” by Gen Z to the political, economic, and environmental choices made by decision-makers which have negatively impacted this generation’s quality of life. On the other end of the spectrum, a guest author said in an Association Chat interview last month that a person’s generation “has no relevance” to how a person behaves or what influences them. He goes so far as to say the concept of generational data-mining is “broken” and “nuts”. It’s ironic, isn’t it? Gen Zs worldwide organized a campaign as a direct result of their shared, negative political, economic, and environmental experiences at the same time an author proclaims there is no relevance to shared generational experiences. What can we learn from these conflicting views? There are beneficial insights to glean from each. In his Association Chat interview, the author urged us to consider the values that drive behavior and to avoid making stereotypes, and I wholeheartedly agree. I don’t agree with his dismissal of generational research, but I do agree organizations need to avoid jumping to conclusions and making broad generalizations. Not every Millennial likes avocado toast, and it’s never a good idea to shift your entire marketing budget to Snapchat simply because you assume that’s where young people find their information and want to hear from your organization. Doing the research, seeking to really understand your audience and the unique drivers and values that exist within your organization is absolutely imperative. And as in-your-face the Ok Boomer campaign might be, it’s important we look beyond the sarcasm to the cause driving the campaign. It’s…

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Workplace Etiquette

Workplace Etiquette: The haunting truth of ‘ghosting’

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October 23 @ 5:49 pm CDT

By Sarah Sladek, XYZ University CEO Workplace etiquette. Turns out, that’s a pretty controversial subject right now. Recently I presented at a conference for healthcare executives and heard many complaints about the youngest generations in the workforce and their disregard for etiquette. Topping the list of complaints: quitting via text, not showing up for work, and calling the boss by his first name. Is the etiquette divide the indication of a generation gap or a social shift? Turns out, it’s both. Across the United States, so many people are not showing up for job interviews, not responding to job offers, blowing off a job they’ve already accepted, or even mysteriously not returning to work, that economists have taken notice. In December 2018, the practice of “ghosting” made the Federal Reserve Bank’s list of official labor market trends. Ghosting is slang for describing the practice of breaking off a relationship by ceasing all communication and contact without any apparent warning or justification. Reactions to the ghosting milestone have been mixed, often aligning with career stage or generation. For example, most executives believe it’s a sign of the times and lament our deteriorating ability to be social or halfway civil with each other. But some people—mostly entry-level or mid-level employees who tend to represent younger generations—are basking in the ironic twist that it’s employers, rather than job applicants, left wondering why they were so quietly and uneventfully rejected. Scarred by past events, these people argue that for years it was customary to not hear back from a prospective employer, even after interviews and extensive screenings. Some experts believe ghosting is on the rise because of the job market. Unemployment is at its lowest point in decades and there are more job openings than there are people looking for jobs. As a result, this has emboldened workers to skip the awkward conversations with their bosses and quickly move on to other opportunities. Others say the rise in ghosting is…

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Which Generation Works The Hardest?

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October 23 @ 5:49 pm CDT

Last week I spoke at a corporate event where younger generations were getting a tongue-lashing from their Baby Boomer counterparts. The Boomers were scolding Generation Y for needing constant feedback, being unable to prioritize, and wanting to have (gasp!) fun at work. Indeed, there’s a stereotype in many offices that younger employees–especially those born since the mid ’80s–are less responsible and unreliable. It’s history repeating itself. Remember when Generation X entered the workforce? They were labeled as ‘slackers’ because they wanted flex-time. And both the Xers and Ys will gladly sling mud at the Boomers, referring to them as ‘workaholics’ and ‘fuddy-duddies’. There’s more than name-calling at work here. What these negative stereotypes really stem from are differences in productivity. For a generation that followed the Industrial Revolution and was raised to value hard work, the perceived lack of Generation X and Y’s productivity drives the Boomers absolutely nuts. In fact, 68% of Boomers feel “younger people” do not have as strong a work ethic as they do and that makes doing their own work harder. I don’t think the Boomers are doing the lion’s share of the work while Xers slack off and Ys seek pats on the back. Rather, productivity resembles something different for each generation. This blog was written to help organizations better understand why they are challenged with differing generational demographics.  Our studies show that the significant disruptions and societal shifts of the past 20+ years have influenced younger members behaviors. This has affected the reasons why joining and engaging with your organization is different today. The research findings do not apply to every single member of each generation. However, our 20 years of ongoing research findings continue to hold true – making the information valuable when drafting membership engagement and growth strategies to target younger members.  Boomers (1946-1964) Productivity = DedicationBoomers tend to lean toward vision and values. They like inspiring mission statements, setting goals, fixing problems, and measure success in terms of…

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Not Another Millennial Generation: 6 Ways Gen Z Will Disrupt the Workplace

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October 23 @ 5:49 pm CDT

Millennials brought changes to the work environment and marketplace. Get ready to adjust again and figure out how to balance different needs as Generation Z seeks something different from work. For several years, attention has been centered on the Millennials, also known as Generation Y (1982-1995). This first generation of the Post-Industrial Era ushered in the computer age and wowed and perplexed the world as the largest, most diverse, and best-educated generation in history. Now, workforce analysts and marketers are turning their attention to Generation Z (1996-2009)—the oldest who turned 21 in 2017—to gain a better understanding of what will define and drive this next generation of workers and consumers. In fact, XYZ University released a research paper this month on this generation, featuring the results of a global survey of 1,800 youth ages 13-21. For a deeper dive into this subject, we invite you to download Ready or Not – Here Comes Z. One thing is quite certain from our research: Zs have little in common with their Millennial elders. While it may be easy to lump these two technology-driven generations together, it would be a mistake to think they are the same. Here are six ways Zs differ from Millennials, and how this generation is likely to influence your workplace. Zs came of age in an era of disruption In many ways, it’s symbolic that Generation Z is named after the last letter in the alphabet because their arrival marks the end of clearly defined roles, traditions, and experiences. After all, Gen Z is coming of age on the heels of what has been referred to as the most disruptive decade of the last century. America has become an increasingly changing and complex place. For example: ‍Zs were born into a “modern family era” in which highly involved dads help out at home, and the nuclear family model (two parents, married, with children) represents only 46% of American households. ‍Zs are the first generation…

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Show Z the Money

Show Z the Money: A Generation Pursuing Financial Strength

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October 23 @ 5:49 pm CDT

This blog was written to help organizations better understand why they are challenged with differing generational traits.  Our studies show that the significant disruptions and societal shifts of the past 20+ years have influenced younger members behaviors. This has affected the reasons why joining and engaging with your organization is different today. The research findings do not apply to every single member of each generation. However, our 20 years of ongoing research findings continue to hold true – making the information valuable when drafting membership engagement and growth strategies to target younger members.  Generation Z’s views on money and financial status are distinctly different from Millennials. This is shaping their decisions and behavior from salary levels to homeownership and leaves ample opportunity for financial institutions to get in front of and work with this generation. The dot-com bubble burst the year I was born. When the Great Recession began, I was six. I was seven years old when the housing bubble finally popped. And today, many still live in fragile economic times. While the United States is currently experiencing a period of economic growth, there continues to be a sense of worry. There is unrest in the political sphere that can throw financial markets off. We are reminiscent of past events and recall family members struggling during the recession. Because of some of those factors, Gen Z places a premium on the value of financial status. We are a materialistic generation and one’s social status can depend on their socioeconomic status. Research from a case study done by start-up company FLAME shows over 75% of Gen Zs say they are motivated by money. The value we place on money will also translate to the recruiting world. When asked what is more important in a job, 66% of Gen Z survey respondents said that finding a job with financial stability is more important than finding a job you enjoy, and a good salary is the most important…

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