Generation Z: the buying force and drivers for diversity, inclusion, equality and accessibility. They are not just your customer base but maybe your entry-level employees as well.
Research done by Marketo saw that 60% of Generation Z want to make a positive impact in the world, with 76% of them being concerned about the impact humanity has on the planet. Another report, done by Cassandra Report Z, showed that 80% of Generation Z supports same-sex marriage.
To cater to the generation that reportedly has an attention span of four to eight seconds, we must employ those who know how their generation thinks and where they spend their money. That is why it is important for startups to see the value of undertaking the task of educating Generation Z and preparing for the future of business.
Kofi Oppong, CEO and Founder of Urban MBA, spoke to Velvet about how important Generation Z is for the workforce and why startups, especially, should make use of them. One thing that Kofi pointed out was how Gen Z is now entering the workforce and they are the largest generation with around two billion worldwide.
What makes Gen Z so important for your startup? Generation Z can be seen as the generation that flips the script, they are unlike any other generation before them.
Generation Z stands out because of how passionate they are about their beliefs and their fight for equality and diversity. Minorities, and even the privileged, are fighting for what they believe is right. Having Generation Z as part of your team can only benefit you in the long run. But we need to make sure that they are prepared for the workplace.
Gen Z should be prepared for the workplace
Having recently graduated from school or college, most of Gen Z are now entering the workforce. The pandemic has shown how these digital nomads are not as exposed to computers with most knowing how to do everything on their phones and tablets. But, the lack of computer skills can become a downfall for this generation.
“Generation Z were impacted the most when the global pandemic started. They did not have the right technology or the knowledge thereof to attend online classes,” Kofi explains. He goes on to say that “they do everything on their phones and weren’t as exposed to computers, and therefore did not have the tools for remote schooling.”
According to Kofi, things like 3D printing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be taking over soon. “If Amazon is still around when 3D printers are the norm, they will probably sell you the card that goes into your 3D printer so that you can print toys for your children.” He says that things like hardware stores will be obsolete as one would just print the screwdriver and the screws as needed.
The duty of educators and society is to prepare Gen Z for a future where these things will be the norm. He goes on to say that this will allow Gen Z to either create entrepreneur ideas around the new future or how they can get involved with startups.
With the rapid change in technologies and how slowly the education system evolves, Kofi says that Gen Z should be exposed and be prepared for what the future holds. It is important that they know where technology is heading and industry experts are the ones that can guide Gen Z towards that future.
Kofi believes that because of the rapid change in multiple industries, Gen Z should be prepared to step out of the workforce and learn new skills within a year. “Goal setting is important to develop resilience because entrepreneurship is not about how much talent you have but about the amount of resilience you have.”
Therefore, it is important for the concrete success of a business to employ Generation Z and upskill them. There are many benefits of having a young team with versatile skills. But what’s most important is the reason why Generation Z is good for a business.
They help your brand be more sustainable
The social and environmental awareness of Generation Z can be profitable to any brand. When you allow Generation Z to make decisions on the sustainability of your brand, chances are that they will ensure your brand is 100% sustainable.
Generation Z grew up connected to the world. This has allowed them to be realists. They understand the impact of the economic, social, and environmental issues, meaning that they are dedicated to countering these issues.
But, they are also optimists. They have a strong work ethic and they know how valuable their contributions to economic, social, and environmental issues are. As they are digital nomads, they are also knowledgeable in all forms of communication. Meaning that onboarding Generation Z takes far less time and effort.
They assist with your corporate social responsibility
Generation Z has been growing up in a society where they are exposed to many corporate social responsibility (CSR) failures. They are aware that not all brands have good intentions and are easy to speak up against and boycott these brands (also known as cancelling a brand).
They see right through efforts of half-hearted intentions and marketing for the sake of gaining more customers. They know that brands are using activism as marketing ploys and are sceptical when a brand makes a controversial statement.
Brands need to start banking on this scepticism. This is exactly what a brand needs to make sure that they are authentic and come across as sincere. A brand that makes use of Generation Z to make sure that they are on the right track can ensure growth and can become relevant for these young consumers.
A diverse mindset brings diverse clients
When you have a diverse team, you can cater for a wider range of consumers. Because of the consciousness that Generation Z has for diversity and inclusion. They will help you ensure that your brand keeps the needs of various communities in mind.
If the organisation is open to the public, chances are that people with different backgrounds and experiences will make use of the business. This means that solutions should be available to everyone, who makes use of the service or buys the product.
Having a diverse team has the ability to craft solutions based on a diverse customer base. They might not understand each and every customer, but combining diverse and inclusive ideas will greatly improve inclusive problem-solving.
Kofi says that “Gen Z are the power people in terms of what’s going on socially, politically and environmentally.” Generation Z will help brands stay in the limelight for all the right reasons. Having them as part of the team, and upskilling them to suit your startup’s needs is what will greatly help your startup to succeed.