I’ve spent a lot of time and words telling you how you should prepare your office to take in Millennial employees and reach Millennial donors. But the reality is, the next generation, presently referred to as “Generation Z”, is only four years away from looking for full time employment. A lot of them are starting their first jobs and receiving their first paychecks. And some of them might even knock on your door soon for internships.
For the past ten years, I’ve volunteered with an organization that is dedicated to instilling leadership, citizenship and volunteerism qualities in high school sophomores. Each year, the group of young leaders that come through the seminar gets farther and farther away from me. They’ve got the coolest gadgets; they have great fashion; they’re comfortable with themselves; and they’re certain about one thing: reality.
Today’s kids are exposed to reality more than any of us could have imagined at their age. Social media, 24-hour news channels and push notifications from their CNN app keep these kids informed with what’s going on in the world – both in their own personal worlds and their collective worlds.
They’re smart. They’re practical. And they want to change the world. I’m a firm believer in getting ahead of the curve, so here are some great ideas to start preparing yourself for the next generation.
Keep up with technology. These kids know everything about technology. So you should be pretty well-versed with the latest devices, apps, hardware and software.
Keep up with current events. These kids have seen so much. Living in the post-9/11 era, they’ve never known life (or airports) to not have a “terror level”. They’ve seen school shootings and war. They’ve seen their parents lose their jobs and their livelihood. And they’ve seen their older siblings move back home after college. Keep up with current events, but also try to figure out how to relate to them. Just don’t assume they’re soft, because experiencing these events has given them a harder shell.
Interact with the younger generation. Learn how they talk, what they talk about and what inspires them. Learn how they get their best information and how they make decisions based on that information.
Here are a couple of articles that’ll give you some insight into what to expect from this generation.