Purpose in the workplace came on the radar when millennials started asking more of their employers. They seek a work environment that represents their personal identity. Think: cool office, good perks & a mission statement that makes the world a better place. At this point, we understand what millennials want, and why they want it. But, the new question is: how does the next generation think, and how do we reach them?
Enter: Gen Z.
These are people born after 1995, and like to communicate in in short, direct, authentic communication styles. They do this because they watched the older generation of millennials put their entire lives online in “highlight reels” of babies, engagements and job promotions. Let’s not forget the career ending public nightmares like a tweet going viral and embarrassing photos getting leaked to the public. Gen Z learned from this oversharing, and moved to platforms like Snapchat that allowed for temporary, impermanent and authentic sharing.
They also have access to the 24-hour news cycle, predominantly sharing bad news. They feel a pressure to take care of the world’s problems, because they are inundated with them constantly. They have also experienced monumental social movements in very short periods of time, like #blacklivesmatter, #womensmarch, #metoo, #guncontrol and #trump that have made them more accepting, forward thinking and liberal than any generation to date.
The bottom line is they care, a lot, and will seek out cause related education, content and job opportunities.
Why is this important?
Gen Z’s are the new decision makers. Millennials have passed the touch, and when this happens, everyone shifts. Think about it…when millennials started to use social platforms like Facebook and then Instagram to communicate, all generations shifted to consuming that way and our parents and GRANDPARENTS created accounts. Now, the little Gen Zer’s will pave the way, and it’s important to know how to get the attention of a generation that shares frequently, and can smell bullshit right away. Here’s a few tips on how to do it:
- Be authentic – choose a cause that you are actually going to support and be transparent about why you are supporting that cause. If your motivation is to attract talent, say it. They get it.
- Do you homework – make sure the cause you choose has long-term commitment to the community they work in. Get to know a few companies and non-profits before you commit to one.
- Pick an endemic fit – if you make tennis shoes, find a non-profit that helps underserved communities learn about fitness and running clubs (like Achilles International). If you produce music attached to a non-profit that helps kids and adults get involved in music program (like Little Kids Rock).
Once you find the right cause for your business to support, it’s okay to use it for the bottom line. Create content that shows the good work you are doing. It’s okay for businesses to benefit from their philanthropic initiatives. Change comes from a ripple effect, the more people that hear about your cause and support it, the more good work that gets done.