A few years ago, I remember a mother sharing how her, at the time, 3-year old daughter was relaxed on their bed, legs crossed at the knee navigating and swiping her mother’s iPad with her big toe. While the visual may cause you to chuckle, the reality is Gen Z, is the first generation to never know a world without the internet. Their lifestyle is heavily shaped by technology. When you consider that both Millennials and Gen Z will soon outnumber Baby Boomers, it would be wise for all of us to figure out how to bridge and create flow amongst us. Why? Baby Boomers are working well past their designated retirement age, have valuable information and experience to offer. Millennials and Gen Z see themselves more as entrepreneurs than office workers.
Gen Zer’s view of working in an office environment and finances are very different. In fact, 46% of Gen Zer’s are freelancers and the number are forecast to continue to grow. Age 13 is the average age Gen Zer’s begin researching or talking to others about financial planning. What were you thinking about at age 13? Financial planning wasn’t even in your top 10 if you are a Baby Boomer.
The research data available indicates Gen Zer’s want to learn about entrepreneurship in college, design their own programs of study including how to start a business. “A new generation of Americans is on the rise: highly entrepreneurial, pluralistic, and determined to take charge of their own futures,” according to Northeastern University in Boston Massachusetts President Joseph E. Aoun.
So how do we navigate thru the volumes of information available? We know they want to start their own business and are willing to work in a different location than where they grew up or even went to school.
Let’s ask them what is important to them in viewpoints and fields of specialty. Instead of expecting others to adapt to us, let’s expand and learn how to best leverage each other’s expertise.
Their world is geared toward technology. Learn how your industry falls in line with their interests. You’ll have to think of alternate ways of engaging if you fall into one of these other industries. Your objectives can be met and there is more than one way to reach your results.
Here’s a surprise. While technology is huge for them, in-person communication is important. Consider how it will be verbalized. Delivery is key.
What can we learn from Generation Z? Quicker more efficient ways of setting up systems, especially if they are tech-driven. This may present an opportunity to go green and reducing your carbon print. You may even be able to run your business virtually. Finances and financial planning conversations can shed ideas for both sides. Their risk-taking perspective is worth reviewing. Short-term planning has its advantages and helps them to see the benefits of long-term planning. Finally, don’t judge the book by its cover. Communication is key. They still want an in-person exchange.