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10 Truths Leaders Need to Know about Gen Z (Globals)

About Anna Liotta

Anna Liotta, Founder of The Generational Institute and author of Unlocking Generational CODES, is an award-winning keynote speaker and consultant. Growing up the youngest girl of 19 children, in a household of six generations, gave Anna a front-row, insider’s view into generational communication challenges. This unique upbringing along with a Master’s degree in Interpersonal Communication and over 15 years as a consultant, coach, speaker and author led Anna to develop her interdisciplinary approach into what makes the generations tick and what ticks them off.

Gen Z Globals are already influencing your workplace and your wallet. Leaders must be aware of what matters to Generation Z, or they are at a significant disadvantage.

Here are 10 truths to help you win with Gen Z /Globals.

1.    Gen Z / Globals by the Numbers: 

  • They were born between 1996 – 2016. Depending on who you talk to historian, social scientist or advertising professional, you might see their birth years starting a bit later or earlier. (Advertising professionals like to thin slice generations to make them easier to target.)
  • There are approximately 63 Million Gen Z / Globals in the US, according to Pew Research.
  • According to Forbes, they are already on track to become the largest generation of consumers by the year 2020.
  • Currently, they account for $29 to $143 billion in direct spending, according to Forbes.

2.    They Don’t Like the Name Gen Z

They are NOT just the next letter in the alphabet. (Tweetable) They know they have a clear voice, perspective, and are here to make an impact on the world. It’s why I coined the name for them; Globals.

Globals have never been limited to in their thinking to their school, city, state, or even country when it comes to making friends, connecting ideas, or starting a movement. They are our first generation to see themselves as global citizens since they were born, and it shapes every aspect of their life, work, and relationships.

3.    They Are Pragmatists and Realists

The Globals’ pragmatic realism worldview infuses their attitudes, lifestyle choices, and relationships with employers, brands, and leaders.

Globals grew up with the financial cloud of the Great Recession hanging over family finances and choices. With latchkey Gen Xer parents who value transparency and cut-to-the-chase, bottom-line thinking, Globals are hyper-aware that their Millennial siblings went deep into educational debt but didn’t have the immediate career payoffs expected. They discuss choices deeply with their parents before embarking on a college or a trades approach to entering the workforce.

4.    They are Non-Binary and Ethnically Diverse

For the Globals racial, sexual, and gender equality isn’t a privilege; it’s a right. The conversation of gender identity is a vivid reality for Globals. Their peers have left school in June as Branson and come back in September as Cheleigh. They do not have patience for companies that don’t respect a person’s right to choose their pronouns and make accommodations for all.

Growing up with inclusion at the core of their educational dialogue has left them ready and confident in sharing their experience and perspective. They are likely the last generation to experience a Caucasian majority.

Their formative years were filled with the Obama presidency and the Hillary Clinton candidacy. Globals will always believe that people of either gender or any racial background have the right to be President.

5.    They are NOT selfie-obsessed like their elder Millennials

Yes, they are tech-savvy and socially plugged in, but they are very clear that while their Millennial elders were selfie-obsessed, they are meticulous in curating their online brand and social personas. They don’t want to over-post their image unless it’s for a reason.

6.    They Expect to Receive Real-Time Feedback

Globals (and their Gen Xer parents) have been receiving daily feedback and updates from their teachers via platforms like Class Dojo and Edmodo. They are comfortable with and in fact expect software that monitors their engagement, motivation and helps track their skills growth. The software also signals when it’s time for rewards.

7.    Email is So Over – 2 Way Communication Collaboration Tools are Mandatory

Their teachers long ago gave up the email only philosophy and Globals are proficient with collaboration tools like Slack that integrate multiple platforms.

8.    They Expect to Give YOU Feedback

They have been empowered to provide teachers and adults feedback since they could talk or tap on their smartphone. They are used to teachers asking for feedback about their lessons effectiveness or teaching style through learning management platforms like Moodle or simple tools like Google Forms.

9.   Globals Already Influence Markets Worldwide

Globals have a significant impact on their parents’ household purchases. Ninety-three percent of parents reported that their kids influence the family’s household purchases, in the CASSANDRA study and in 2018 Globals influenced more than $600 billion in spending by their parents according to research by Maru/VCR&C.

10.    Their Generational CODE™ Identity is: Influencer

Every aspect of what they post, like, watch or follow is curated for them, or they are curating it for others and often getting paid for it.  Brands understand that Globals believe their peers, first and foremost, when it comes to buying decisions. Gen Xer parents come in a strong second place, and formal institutional messaging is way down the list in sway factor.

Brands like Abercrombie and Finch proactively reach out and hire Globals that have 10k social media followers to be brand Ambassadors.

To Learn more about Anna Liotta contact [email protected]

Derek Sweeney is the Director of Speaker Ideas at The Sweeney Agency. www.thesweeneyagency.com. For 15 years Derek has been helping clients find the right Speakers for their events. Derek can be reached at 1-866-727-7555or [email protected]