Why our parents believe charity starts a home, whilst we want to save the world and sod having a pension!
Over the next few years our economy is going to become dominated with Generations Y and Z – those born from 1977 onwards. They will make up majority of the global workforce and be the largest generation of consumers. Whilst most people understand that these cohorts are very different from former generations, they are struggling to move their businesses forward to meet our fast-changing economy.
In this article I am going to shine a light on why there is such a shift in perspectives between the generations and how to begin to create a sustainable and successful business that meets the future demands of customers and attracts talent.
Why the perspectives changed between the generations
The baby boomers were raised in a post-war world, their parents were used to rationing, bomb shelters and literally fighting for their lives. They were a generation brought up in ‘survival mode’ wanting to protect themselves and their close family.
In comparison the Gens Y and Z grew up in relative peace – but it has not felt that way. Statistics into deaths from wars and natural disasters show that the world is the safest it has been for centuries. However, we are more connected, so events on the other side of the globe now feel tangible close. This has lead to a globally conscious society, but also a scared and frustrated society.
If you grew up seeing daily disasters, projected in intimate detail on the screen in your hand then you could understand why - even though you live in a protected society - your sense of long term security would be rocked. This is why Gens Y and Z want to live for today, but they also want to make a difference.
Connected but trapped
Whilst we might be more connected than we have ever been, people also feel more lonely and isolated. They can see the whole world but frustratingly don’t know how to access it. The opportunity to connect with the whole world has ironically lead to people disconnecting with each other on a personal level. Generations Y and Z are desperately searching for connection – to be part of something greater than themselves, to feel like they belong and feel like they are making a difference.
These very different perspectives have lead to a Generation Giving Gap. Older generations are programmed to generally hold onto their assets and protect those around them. The younger generations are more inclined to give away much of what they have for the sense of fulfilment and belonging that they get in return.
Opportunity of business
That giving does not necessarily come in the form of charity, it is more prolific in the they way the younger generations interact with businesses. They no longer look at just a customer or employee proposition for the tangible benefits, they look more deeply for what that company stands for and how that business helps them make a positive impact.
The companies who will succeed in the future are the ones who shift their thinking to start to help Gen Y and Z address their frustrations. Those who help customers and employees feel fulfilled and a sense of belonging will attract and retain deep loyalties that traditional business offerings cannot compete with.
Small business has the advantage
Every business can achieve this and if you run a small business then you have the advantage of nimbleness to quickly and effectively add to your story. You also have pretty much the same tools to compete with the big corporates and connect to customers all over the world. You just need a story that will attract them and want them to be part of what you are doing.
To do this you need to ask yourself, what positive impact can my business have on the world? How can that become part of my business story? This is not about completely changing your business, it is about enhancing it. Thinking a little deeper about how you can use your business as a force for good.
Over the coming months I will be sharing ideas and stories of companies who are doing exactly this. How they are making a difference in the world and in turn developing incredible loyal customers and the most deeply motivated staff. Please follow my blog at www.fran.global or on Twitter and LinkedIn @FranBGlobal
Please also comment or get in contact if you would like to discuss ideas of how you can move your business forward in this exciting new world!