Book Review

  • Gen Z @ Work – How the Nest Generation is Transforming the Workplace

    By: David Stillman and Jonah Stillman

    Author Info:
    David Stillman is a best-selling author and one of the leading researchers and speakers on generational differences. Jonah Stillman is his Gen Z son. He was 17 when the book was published.

    Summary
    The authors categorize Gen Z as those individuals born 1995-2012. Their information is based on their own survey conducted with 15-21 year olds across the country. The survey was created by asking “famous” people what would they want to know about this group. Forty-four questions were asked that came from people such as Mark Cuban, Arianna Huffington and Oprah. The questions and responses are highlighted throughout the book.

    The results of the survey were summarized into seven key “traits” of this group:

    1. 1. Phigital: Combining the physical and digital

    2. 2. Hyper-Custom: Individual branding and customization

    3. 3. Realistic: Pragmatic

    4. 4. FOMO: Worrisome and anxious about the future

    5. 5. Weconomists: Push to break down silos

    6. 6. DIY: Fierce independent nature

    7. 7. Driven: Competitive and know there are winners and losers

    Strengths
    The book is fun to read due to the “dialogue” that takes place between father and son. Jonah not only helped to write the book, but also began working with his father as a consultant and speaker. The innovative approach of using the parent-child and employer-employee relationship is what makes this book so interesting! David brings his years of experience and Jonah brings the youthful freshness to the book. Key takeaways about Gen Z:

    1. 1. They want to be seen as individuals, and may not prefer team projects

    2. 2. They want to make a difference in the world

    3. 3. They will be dedicated and competitive employees

    4. 4. They may want to have side gigs – online business, etc., and will expect their employers to be ok with that

    5. 5. They may have real anxieties due to the world they grew up in and the unrest that continues

    6. 6. They NEED their technologies and devices and will use them to their fullest advantage

    7. 7. They will expect their boss to have at least a basic grasp on the current technologies

    8. 8. They will want to have input into decisions

    9. 9. They will not be afraid to ask for what they what or to challenge decisions

    Weaknesses
    Some of the Gen Z traits are difficult to readily grasp. Phigital and Weconomists for example. While the chapters provide descriptions and examples of each, it may have been more practical to use terms easier to relate to. However, perhaps these creative new words are an example of Gen Z thinking!

    Conclusion
    Gen Z @ Work is an excellent resource for HR professionals, leaders and anyone interested in learning about this new group of employees.