My teenage daughter spent last week raising money for a local charity through her high school. The Student Council planned their annual Spirit Week which consisted of fun events, such as car washes, a tacky prom, powderpuff football, and dodgeball games. From costumes to class buyouts to old fashion “dialing for dollars”, all money raised went to the chosen charity.
The student leaders had been preparing for months for this week and their work paid off. The best part about this week is that the fundraising element is part of the friendly competition with a rival high school.
Both schools raise money for different non-profits, and they present their final tallies at half-time during the big game. The schools have a chance to “win” both the Spirit Week competition and the football game, but in actuality, EVERYONE wins!
This year, the combined totals raised from both schools exceeded $400,000.
Photo Credit: Pamela Dunlap Photography.
Every year, I am amazed at what I see the youth of today accomplish in one week. They decide on the non-profit to sponsor through a competitive grant process, organize the calendar, delegate the volunteers for the events, hype up the student body, and sell their dreams like the most seasoned development team around. The work they do during that week and leading up to that week (with a little help from teachers and parents) should make every business leader pause and try to tap into that Gen-Z spirit.
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Generation Z is just now hitting the workplace. It is important that we know who they are and what they stand for. As with all generations, Gen Z is defined by their era. Individuals born between 1997 and 2012 are considered a part of this generation and it is estimated that by 2025, they will make up 27% of the workforce. They have been raised during a tumultuous time. They are the post-9/11 generation, and they witnessed the impact of the Great Recession to their parent’s jobs and homes. Smartphones have always existed during their time, and they are the first generation that has never known the world without the Worldwide Web. They are living through a global pandemic, an environmental crisis, and political and civil unrest. Generation Z is also the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in U.S. history.
What Defines Generation Z and How Will This Impact the Workplace?
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion. As the most diverse generation, Gen-Z has high standards when it comes to diversity in their workplace. It is not just a “nice to have.” It is essential. Generation Z wants to work for companies that reflect who they are. They want to see diverse leaders and an intentional approach to a more inclusive environment.
Values-Driven Approach. Social issues are important to this generation. They want to know that the work they are doing has a positive impact to the world. They have always used social media and their buying power as a tool to reflect their values. Now, they want to work for organizations which share their ethical systems. Be warned, this generation will not accept weak platitudes. They want to see their values in action.
Digital Natives. This generation has never used a phone with a cord, and many can’t remember a time before Snapchat. Technology and digital tools are a part of their DNA, however, don’t lump them into one bucket. Gen-Z still values strong interpersonal relationships. They may go to YouTube to learn a new skill, but they want workplaces that have the technology they need and the teams they can trust.
Economic Security. After seeing their parents navigate the Great Recession, Gen-Z value stability over risk. They are more likely to stay at a company longer than Millennials and are willing to put in the extra work for a higher paycheck. They are less interested in the risks associated with starting their own businesses and prefer to work for companies that can help advance their careers.
Last week, I had the opportunity to see the drive, energy, and altruistic spirit of this up-and-coming generation. As a parent, I am proud, and as a business leader, I am excited that this generation is entering the business world. I believe they can do anything that set their mind to. In fact, they already have, and we are ALL the recipients of their talent and determination.
Propel HR President Lee Yarborough
Propel HR President Lee Yarborough currently serves as Chair of the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) Board of Directors. She spoke with PEO Insider magazine to share where she thinks the industry is headed and how NAPEO can continue to grow. Download a pdf version of the full interview: A Passion To Serve
About Propel HR. Propel HR is an IRS-certified PEO that has been a leading provider of human resources and payroll solutions for more than 25 years. Propel partners with small to midsized businesses to manage payroll, employee benefits, compliance and risks, and other HR functions in a way that maximizes efficiency and reduces costs. Visit our new website at www.propelhr.com.