Gen Z

To Make Gains, You Must Entertain!

January 17 @ 3:47 pm CST

When we are in search of entertainment, much of it is right at our fingertips. Streaming services, on-demand programming, social media, and a laundry list of apps have made it easier than ever to achieve instant gratification in real-time. For many of you (including myself!), this hasn’t always been the case. You may have grown up with black and white television, where programming was limited by today’s standards. I arrived on the scene during the dawn of technicolor TV (MTV, anyone?) and the advent of remote controls and the worldwide web.   We also find ourselves in an era of customization where everything is moving faster and with more efficiency – and we can tailor it all to our liking. Technology has adapted to the changing needs of society to prepare for the future, and your organization isn’t different. Now is the time to plan ahead because a backward focus isn’t an option, we can only move forward.   Long before the pandemic, membership organizations were struggling with planning for the future and finding ways to connect with young professionals. There has been a major shift in the member engagement cycle, and continuing to utilize old membership tactics has triggered membership decline and disengagement.   It’s crucial for leaders like you to better understand the different values, traits, and membership demographics so you can accurately target young professionals and student members.   Membership, much like television, used to be a spectator sport. Historically, people would join organizations…and then sit back and wait for the board to engage them and entertain them. This no longer works. Similar to the changing trends in technology, younger generations of members expect to participate differently as members. They seek interactive experiences and are looking for opportunities to be more involved.  We have to understand that modern skillsets and values differ from those of previous generations. Instead of having one generation dominate your leadership, it’s time to transition to a variety of perspectives and collaborate…

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A Prescription for Your Mission

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January 17 @ 3:47 pm CST

When you’re feeling unhealthy, oftentimes you will seek the advice of a physician or medical professional. You share your symptoms, receive a prognosis, and are given a prescription to remedy what is making you feel ill. This same process can be applied to your organization – and doesn’t require a trip to a doctor’s office!   How do you know if your organization is truly healthy?   To start your organizational health “checkup,” I recommend looking at your membership succession plan. If one doesn’t exist, now is the time to put one in place! An effective membership succession plan and a NextGen membership pipeline are integral to your organization’s survival.   I encourage you to think about where you would like to see your organization in five years (or even ten or twenty!). What services and experiences do you envision providing your members and how will you continue to engage younger generations?   We no longer live in an era where knowledge and wisdom are solely passed down from elders to young people.   Today, our society has more access to education, information, and technology. As a result, every generation now has a wealth of skill sets and experiences to share and absorb with one another. Never before has so much teaching and learning happened simultaneously, and it is important to identify whether that is taking place in your organization or not.  “Aging out” is a common condition that ultimately means younger generations of members are not being engaged and little to no membership succession planning has taken place. I have had firsthand experience with organizations that had to close their doors because they “aged out.” All too often, it is because they were unwilling to let go of traditions or accept and implement new ideas.   If you want a future for your organization, you must engage those who will carry you into the future. Regularly conducting temperature checks to gauge the average age of your members, board members, and overall community within your organization can help you identify how diverse your organization really is. A lack of diversity typically results in…

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How to Cultivate a Sense of Belonging

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January 17 @ 3:47 pm CST

Early in my career, I was recruited to sit on a board of directors and asked to spearhead a priority initiative for the association. I was both humbled and ecstatic to take on such an influential role. Imagine my disappointment when I attended the first meeting and the initiative was tabled. During the next several meetings, I was informed the initiative would continue to be delayed. Suddenly, I felt like I was on the outside looking in. I felt like I didn’t belong. At some point, we all experience the feeling that we don’t belong. It’s a feeling we can all relate to, yet many organizations struggle to foster a sense of belonging among their members and employees. Belonging by definition means two things: ownership and a secure relationship: We feel ownership when we actively contribute and share our ideas and opinions; and We feel safe and secure when we’re listened to, respected, and encouraged. In the late 1990s, belonging began to dissipate. From workplaces to churches, service clubs to country clubs, associations, and non-profits, the same trend was observed: Young people were less likely to join/stay/engage/renew. In other words, young people were less likely to feel like they belonged. Why the sudden shift? And why have so many organizations struggled to re-engage young people? Society is hyper-aware and focused on inclusion right now, but simply including people is not enough.  I’ve spent a lot of time researching this trend in an effort to find the answers. The answer is quite complex, but here’s the condensed version: The shift in belonging is the direct result of significant social change. Young people are wary of forging connections and emotional ties. They seek positivity, security, and respect. They are careful about who and what they trust. Young people are less willing to wait for organizations to create a place for them to belong, and more likely to hold organizations accountable for their actions (or inaction). For far too…

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Why They Quit: How To Retain Young Talent

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January 17 @ 3:47 pm CST

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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impact of 2020

The Impact of 2020 on Gen Z

January 17 @ 3:47 pm CST

Sarah Sladek authored this article for the DJS Direct Selling Journal. Pandemic. Racial tension. Riots. Fires. Political conflict. Yes, 2020 was unprecedented, and a defining, historic moment. It’s times like this that influence the behaviors, values, and attitudes of younger generations. No one could have predicted a year like 2020, yet there are clues into what the future will bring based on the events of the past year, as well as the changes of the past several years. It can easily be argued that… Read the complete article here.

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Generations

Should Your Association Consider a Gen Z Membership Tier?

January 17 @ 3:47 pm CST

Sarah Sladek was interviewed for this article by Associations Now. With a recession, a pandemic, and a tough job market, some associations are looking to target Generation Z with new member offerings. It can work if you prioritize their engagement, one expert says. We’re starting to get past the point where millennials are at the center of the discussion around younger members. The focus is shifting to Gen Z—but how can you convince people born after 1996 to join your organization? Is a new membership tier worth discussing? Read the complete article here.

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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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January 17 @ 3:47 pm CST

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

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January 17 @ 3:47 pm CST

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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January 17 @ 3:47 pm CST

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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Workforce

Millennials and Gen Z – The New Workforce

January 17 @ 3:47 pm CST

Sarah Sladek joins the Dynasty Leadership Consulting podcast. Sarah Sladek is the CEO of XYZ University, an organization that helps equip worldwide companies with valuable tools and information to engage Generations X, Y, and Z as executives, employees, members, leaders, and volunteers. She singles out the greatest areas of dissatisfaction in the workplace as well as how the new millennial leadership is reshaping the culture as they go.  Sarah is also the author of several books including, Talent Generation: How Visionary Organizations Are Redefining Work and Achieving Greater Success, which she discusses further in today’s episode! Listen to the complete podcast here.

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