Gen Z @ Work

Meet David and Jonah Stillman, co-authors of Gen Z @ Work

For nearly 20 years, David has been enamored with generations, their impact on the workplace and sharing his expertise with world renowned companies.

For 17 years, Jonah has been living the Gen Z life, sharing his insights with various companies and is currently the youngest speaker on the national lecture circuit.

Together they are the first father-son Gen X / Gen Z speaking team.

Their book, Gen Z @ Work, releases today and the team at DoTopia is proud to be a featured company in the book.

We had the pleasure of interviewing David earlier this month:

First things first, here’s a quick refresher on Who is Gen Z :

  • They were born between 1995 and 2012
  • At 72.8 million strong, Gen Z is about to make its presence known in the workplace in a major way—and employers need to understand the differences that set them apart
  • They’re radically different than Millennials, and yet no one seems to be talking about them… until now
  • This generation has an entirely unique perspective on careers and how to succeed in the workforce

All the buzz over the years has been about millennials.  What sparked you to write about Gen Z?

There has been SO much buzz about Millennials that people haven’t imagined that there was life after Millennials. We saw too many people assuming everyone under 30 was a Millennial when in fact, Gen Z is already 22 years old. Even more so, this generation is radically different than Millennials. If Gen Z is treated like Millennials, it will surely backfire. This sparked us to write the book.

Throughout your research, what surprised you the most about Gen Z?

A bunch of surprises – all proving our theory on just how different Gen Z is from Millennials. To name a few:

  • More competitive and independent than Millennials who are very collaborative
  • Prefers face to face communication most – even more than texting! (82% prefer face to face)
  • Willing to pay dues and start at the bottom. They are willing to stay at a company for more than 10 years. (71% said they will start at bottom)
  • Wants their own private workspace and does not like open office concept. (Only 8% liked open office concept)

What qualities in a company or brand will be most important to Gen Z when they are deciding where to work?

  • 91% said technological sophistication would impact their desire to work at a company.
  • Having seen too many leaders called into question as well as companies suffer in the recent recession, this generation wants honest and transparent leadership.
  • Gen Z is looking for places where they can wear multiple hats. In fact, 75% of this generation would like to work somewhere where they can have multiple career paths at the same time.
  • Having grown up in the recession, as much as Gen Z wants to make a difference in the world like Millennials did, they want money first and foremost.

What drew you to include DoTopia in your new book?

One of the key traits of this generation is HYPER CUSTOM. This is a generation that has grown up with the ability to customize everything from their twitter handles to their Nike shoes. I love how DoTopia puts the power of giving back in their hands. In addition, the fact that it is so easy to use is perfect for these digital natives who have only known a world where everything can happen right on your phone.

What steps should companies be taking to appropriately prepare themselves to be successful with this important Generation, as both employees and consumers?

First and foremost – do not assume they are anything like Millennials.

Second – get to know what makes them different. The best way to do this is to understand the

events and conditions that shaped them.

Third – realize that the leading edge is just graduating college this spring. The time to act is NOW.

They can be proactive rather than reactive later. That does not mean they have to start all over. The goal is to anticipate where the gaps will be and what they can as well as cannot change.

How will Corporate Social Responsibility change as Gen Z invades the workforce?  What impact will that have beyond the office?

  • This generation want to make a difference, but will want to make profits first. As they see it, the more money they make, the more money to give back.
  • Gen Z will be big supporters of social entrepreneurialism.

If we only remember one thing about this generation – what should that be?

Gen Z is their own generation and the time to get to know them is TODAY!

What’s next for the father and son, Stillman, duo?

We will continue to hit the speaking circuit shedding light on Gen Z with organizations. In addition, we are launching the first global study of Gen Z that will compare/contrast the generation across the globe.


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